Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baby Steps and Fellowships

I had a phone interview with a recruiter for Large Hospital System. It went well enough because I've been invited to interview in person! Progress!

LHS does their fellowships differently than every other hospital I've talked to. They don't hire a brand-new nurse for any particular position. Instead they bring on a few dozen at a time and train them all at once. After the classroom work, they rotate everybody through clinical training in multiple specialties at multiple different hospitals. It sounds almost like a bigger, more focused extension of nursing school clinicals, except that this time I'd be getting paid to learn.

Successfully completing the training guarantees an offer for a full-time RN position. But though they take your aptitudes and preferences into account, you don't know ahead of time which position will be offered. It's entirely possible that I could be offered the ED or ICU position I really want, but there's also a chance that I'd wind up with an offer for psych, or OR, or something lower on my priority list

That's only a minor downside, and it's outweighed by the last upside: LHS does not ask for employment contracts! Nearly every hospital system around here requires a two-year work committment before you can start the fellowship. At this system, after completing it you're still only given a job offer, which you're free to decline. Even though I've got no plans to move or quit in the immediate future, I feel a lot more comfortable having the option just in case something weird comes up.

This sounds like a great opportunity. It's just going to take a little while to come to fruition. The interview is still a few weeks away, and the fellowship itself does not begin until late September sometime. I have already sent in all my applications and essays and recommendations, and confirmed that they were received, so now I've nothing to do on this front but wait.

(...and keep applying for more jobs elsewhere. Just in case.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Band

I'm going to start an RN band. We'll call ourselves "Metacarpal Stress Fracture" and play bluegrass speedmetal.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Search

When I first told people I was making this career change, I got lots of different reactions. One remark almost everyone made is that, in nursing, at least I would always be easy to find a job. I thought the same thing. As it turns out, when you're a new grad here in Large Midwestern City, it's a lot harder than you think.

The problem isn't that there are no jobs. It's just that the market is flooded with new graduates. At my university alone there were near 100 of us in the ABSN program, and about the same number again in the traditional 4-year program. Extrapolate that out for all the other nursing schools in the area, and the number you wind up with is a job applicant's nightmare.

There are quite a few hospitals in town, but each one can only take on so many new grads at a time. See, nursing school does not prepare us to be fully independent practitioners of nursing. It prepares us just enough that we are ready to learn the rest. An RN's first hospital job will generally provide about 2-4 months of additional training and supervision, which makes hiring a new grad very expensive. With only so much money to go around in this economy, entry-level RN positions are getting a bit scarce.

By this point I have already tried the easy path and called on my friends, acquaintances, contacts, instructors, preceptors, and clinical sites. Nepotism has failed me. I'm down to sending in blind applications for open job postings.

Thus far it seems like my applications are not clearing the first hurdle, because I just haven't been getting any calls back. I'm sure that once I interview I can impress a nurse manager and land a position, but my resume must not be hitting the right health care buzzwords for HR. All my fancy leadership and collaboration experience is listed under IT jobs which they probably aren't bothering to read.

This week I'm going to step it up a notch. Instead of doing as the ads say and waiting for a response, I'm going make lots of phone calls and actively pester the HR folks. It may not be entirely polite, but it has worked for several of my (now freshly employed) classmates. Besides, it can't generate any fewer interviews than my current strategy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Great Renaming

The votes are in. This blog is being renamed to: Registered Nerd.

The old name was "Trust Me, I'm Almost A Nurse," which no longer applies to the real, actual, fully-licensed nurse who is me.

I'm keeping the silly scrubninja URL (and username) because it's distinctive and short, and because silly is good.