I live in beautiful Utah, which apparently is not suffering a nursing shortage. I am a seasoned RN with 32 years of OR experience and cannot find a job. I have been looking for almost a year. I believe it is because of my years of experience I am not finding employment as employers would have to pay me more than a nurse with less experience.
OR Nurse in Utah
Dear Donna replies:
Dear OR Nurse in Utah,
I suspect your challenges have more to do with the evolving health delivery system and shifting job market for nurses than anything else. You don’t mention how long you’ve been out of the job market other than the one year you have been actively looking. But things have changed quite dramatically in the last five years, so don’t take any of it personally. This article was written for new nurses but the information and advice applies to any nurse looking to re-enter the job market. New nurse, new job strategies (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).
To give you a quick overview, care is shifting out of the hospital and into the home, the community, outpatient and ambulatory settings and alternative inpatient settings. There are fewer hospital jobs due to this shift and most hospitals are hiring only nurses with current hospital experience. There is an abundance of those nurses in the market, which means you may have to look in new places for nursing employment and will have to use new skills to find those jobs.
Just for the record, the predicted nursing shortage has not yet hit but is expected to arrive within the next five to 10 years.
What I suggest you do now is get active in the Association of perioperative Registered Nurses (www.aorn.org) and/or the American Society of Perianesthesia Nurses (www.aspan.org). When there’s something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing that thing. If not currently a member of either association, at least attend local chapter meetings as a guest for now. Networking is well known to be an effective way to find jobs and get hired in any setting.
You also should look for volunteer work as a nurse while you continue to seek paid employment. Employers are more inclined to hire nurses who are engaged with the industry in some capacity rather than those who have been disengaged altogether for some time. Look for volunteer opportunities through your local public health department, free clinic or blood bank. Volunteering also helps to expand your professional network, learn new skills and sometimes turns into paid employment.
Be open to opportunities in outpatient surgi-centers or any office setting that does minor procedures. You also may have to consider positions outside of your specialty.
The important thing is to get yourself out there and visible. Get on the phone and connect with former coworkers, supervisors and physicians even if you haven’t been in touch for years. Let them know you’re alive and well and ready to get back into the market. Ask for referrals, leads, introductions and recommendations. The power of networking is people know people who know other people.
When what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to try a new approach. Use the above suggestions, including those in the referenced article and start moving toward your goal.