First I want to thank you for advice you gave me a few years ago when I was still in nursing school. I asked if it was OK for a new graduate nurse to pursue school nursing. You said yes. I recently began working as a school nurse. I absolutely love my job. It is very rewarding. I never was able to get a job in a hospital or clinic, which makes me feel I am missing an important part of the nursing experience and that I am not as prepared as I could or would like to be. It would definitely make me feel more confident if I had hospital or clinic experience. I was considering working in a clinic/urgent care center for experience and also volunteering for an EMS squad for experience. Getting another job would not be ideal because of my full-time job and because I’m in school for my BSN. Can you help me with this dilemma?
Wants More Experience
Dear Donna replies:
Dear Wants More Experience
I’m happy to hear you found a job you love. It is great you are working on your BSN.
I understand your concerns but am not sure taking on an additional job with all you have on your plate is the solution. Since you presumably have part of the summer off, why not aim to do something during that time? You might speak to a nursing or healthcare employment agency now about summer work. Tell them what type of work you are looking for and see what they come up with. Depending on where you live, there are often summer jobs in first aid stations at sports arenas, amusement parks and similar seasonal venues.
You also might consider doing volunteer ambulance work over the summer. Look into such opportunities now and start making plans.
Even though you may not qualify for membership in the National Association of School Nurses (www.nasn.org) just yet, you can attend local chapter meetings as a guest. I encourage you to do so if you haven’t already. You have to immerse yourself in the community of nursing and rub elbows with those with more experience than you. Check out the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aaacn.org) to meet nurses who work for urgent care centers and other similar positions. Networking is a great way to explore options, expand your professional network and find opportunities.
Put a plan in place for relevant summer employment or volunteer work now. Begin or do more networking and keep moving forward.