I am an RN with 5 years of experience. I have worked only in long-term care and my last position, I was the DON. I want to get into acute care but at almost every interview they focus on my having only LTC experience. I have been looking for a job for six months and am getting frustrated. I have gone back to school online for my BSN but it hasn’t helped yet. Even applying for floor nursing positions in LTC has not garnered any interviews.
Wants to Get Into Acute Care
Dear Donna replies:
Dear Wants to Get Into Acute Care,
The job market for nurses is completely changing, especially the hospital job market. Long gone are the days when a nurse could enter any hospital and almost get hired on the spot. Hospitals are downsizing and even closing in some cases as care and related jobs are shifting out of the hospital and into alternate inpatient care settings as well as the ambulatory/outpatient, home and community settings. Read Nursing, A new paradigm to see what’s going on in the nursing job market (www.nurse.com/Cardillo/Nursing-A-New-Paradigm).
Without any hospital experience, it is not likely any hospital will hire you at this time. I say “at this time” because the job market for nurses is cyclical. If the time comes that nurses are in short supply to meet demand, and researchers are predicting that day will come in the next five to 10 years, it is possible with a refresher course you might be able to make that transition in the future. Hospitals are only one possible work environment for nurses. There are so many others that are expanding and being created as the above-referenced article details.
Every nurse, both new and experienced, must look in new directions for employment and learn and use new skills to find jobs and get hired. You don’t mention how you are going about looking for positions but you definitely have to do more face-to-face networking. That includes attending local chapter meetings of the Association of Long Care Nurses (http://ltcnursing.org/), the National Association Directors of Nursing Administration/LTC (www.Nadona.org) and the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org). Networking is a very effective way to learn of career opportunities and get hired.
Since you have very recent and extensive LTC experience, get on the phone and contact former coworkers and supervisors. Let them know you’re looking for, even if you don’t want to work in the same facility. When there’s someone you want to do, it makes sense to talk to those currently doing that thing. The power of networking is that people know people who know other people.
When what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to try a new approach. Read Ten steps to a successful job search (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Ten-Step) and start putting into action the strategies mentioned in the above post and the above-referenced articles.