Creative ways to find a job as a newly graduated Registered Nurse in New York City?
September 22, 2010 7:56 AM   Subscribe

(recession-is-over-yet-no-one-is-hiring-filter) Creative ways to find a job as a newly graduated Registered Nurse in New York City?

hi. I graduated cum laude (and humanitus award) from a two year associates degree program in June 2010 and became a licensed NY nurse in July. Then spent some time volunteering in nairobi, and am now searching for work. During school I volunteered in a hospice and in a homeless shelter to gain experience, yet employers all want at least one year medical surgical nursing experience for even the most basic entry level RN positions. I have uploaded my resume to HHC, and to all the hospitals in NY, Brooklyn, Queens, and some in Hoboken/jersey city. Am currently on unemployment, but that ends next week and I NEED A JOB!! Have begun going in person to different hospitals nursing recruitment offices, where the staff look at me and my stoic interview suit with curiosity and ask if I have tried "applying online", at Metroploitan hospital they wouldn't even take my resume, saying the HHC system is online only.

I know I am at a disadvantage by not having a Bachelors, or being in a RN to BSN program, and I am planning on being in one, as soon as I get a job that has tuition reimbursement (my resume lists an anticipated enrollment date of Spring 2010).

What should my next steps be?
Would getting a volunteer position at a hospital I hope to work at help me get a foot in the door?
What about working in nursing homes? will they hire a new grad? Which are the 'best' in my area?

Thanks for reading my rant and for your help...
posted by 5lbauthority to Work & Money (18 answers total)
Are you committed to being a nurse immediately? Is it feasible to work some other job and get your bachelor's while you work another job?
posted by dfriedman at 8:05 AM on September 22, 2010

I'm sorry, I'm confused - you have a two year degree. Are you a LN or an RN? I thought an RN required a four year degree...

That said, a nursing home will happily hire without experience - my sister (an LN from a 2 yr program) worked at one fresh out of school. I can't say she loves her job, but she's certainly employed and paid reasonably well.
posted by maryr at 8:12 AM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: I would like to be at least working in the health care field. Besides I suspect getting a gig waitering would be nearly as difficult and competitive as finding a nursing gig in NYC.
And, in my previous career as a color correcter/photoshop drone, that filed is hyper saturated and I have no connections.

But, I wonder if working as a PCA, or LPN (neither of which I actually have the certification for, but could probably take the tests and get) would look bad on a resume?
posted by 5lbauthority at 8:13 AM on September 22, 2010

Are you willing to move? They are constantly looking for health care professionals here (Milwaukee, also true for Chicagoland). Both my sisters are nurses and were heavily recruited straight out of school. This might be a NYC thing.
posted by desjardins at 8:33 AM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: @maryr: I am an RN with an associates of applied sciences (AAS) degree, from a two year program.
posted by 5lbauthority at 8:34 AM on September 22, 2010

I admit I know nothing about the field, but maybe you are being a little TOO upfront about how you want to get another degree while working your next job and get the tuition paid for. All things being equal, an employer might prefer in this economy to have someone who isn't going to take advantage of their tuition reimbursement plan.
posted by telegraph at 8:57 AM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nursing homes usually need RNs, as do home health care groups. These places tend to be suck-ass places to work with crazy scheduling and huge caseloads, so turnover is frequently high. (My mom has been an RN in upstate NY for the past 30 years. She's a specialist nurse with a specialty that translates really well to home care and old-people care, so that's what she does a lot of. Her place of employment is perennially hiring nurses because of the stressful mix of lots of driving + high caseload per nurse.) I'm also seconding the concept that this might be a NYC-specific problem. When I drive by nursing homes in Western PA and Northern OH, I often see giant banners strung from them saying "WE ARE HIRING CNA'S AND RN'S!!!"
posted by kataclysm at 9:09 AM on September 22, 2010

Definitely consider long-term care. New grad RNs are having a hell of a time getting a job all over the place, sadly. The so-called "nursing shortage" really only refers to the shortage of experienced nurses.

Also, keep networking. Are you in touch with anyone from your class who's found a job? Maybe they could drop off your resume personally. I'd take advantage of any slight edge you can get. Network online at - there's a board just for NY nurses.

Hang in there!
posted by pecanpies at 9:53 AM on September 22, 2010

Does your school have any resources to help recent graduates find jobs?
posted by hermitosis at 9:57 AM on September 22, 2010

A few thoughts:

1. Have you applied for public health nursing positions with the state, county or city? Or with the Veterans Administration?

2. Flu shot clinics are coming up as we enter flu season. Maxim Healthcare and other similar organizations hires per diem nurses to administer shots in public locations and at corporate jobsites. This may vary by state, but most states allow immunizations like this.

3. Temporary healthcare assignments may be a possibility--look at a temp agency that will place you in clinics, hospitals and other similar settings. Travel nursing is also a possibility.

4. If you are not opposed to learning a new skill, coding would come in handy if you are interested in going down care management paths/Minimum Data Set (MDS). Skilled nursing facilities are going nuts trying to hire MDS nurses in my area. Coding experience or knowledge isn't a prereq for working MDS, but experience is, and in lieu of experience, education might help.

5. Blood banks usually have nurses on staff to supervise operations. Dialysis clinics would also be another option.

6. Look into getting training as an esthetician and join a boutique practice doing skin care and cosmetic procedures. You could also supervise post-op patients after plastic surgery.

You probably know that a lot of organizations aren't going to hire any more non-BSN RNs any longer within a few years. It might be the best plan to just go get your BSN while you are unemployed. Best of luck to you in your search.
posted by FergieBelle at 10:31 AM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

my resume lists an anticipated enrollment date of Spring 2010

Wait, your resume says you're planning to go back to school in 4 months? Even if it is super clear that you're still planning to work full time, this is not what a resume is for. The ONE job of a resume is to get you an interview, and for that you need to make sure that every item on it gives potential employers a reason to want you. They're getting lots of resumes, so yours is only going to get a quick scan. Make sure that any tiny piece they choose to read is going to sell you to them! And definitely don't give them even the slightest reason to toss your resume in the trash, because that's all it takes when there's a stack of applications. Benefits should never be discussed until at least the 2nd interview, preferably until they've offered you a job. Saying on your resume that you're hoping to take advantage of their tuition reimbursement before you've even memorized your employee number is not going to help your case at all.

That said -- with hospitals preferring BSN nurses to 2-year-degree nurses, I can see why you would want to indicate your ambition to meet that criteria in a timely fashion. I think you'd be better off putting this in your cover letter, with just a quick mention that you want to work and gain experience while finishing your bachelor's degree so that you can be a better asset to XYZ Hospital System. Don't mention the tuition reimbursement, and don't make them feel like you see this as a temporary gig. Make it clear that you want to work for them now, during school, and after you graduate. Employers like to know that their investment in training somebody new is going to pay off long-term, so you're walking a very fine tightrope when you talk about going back to school.

Good luck!
posted by vytae at 1:41 PM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: vytae: thanks for the resume advice, the offending phrase has disappeared.

I was under the impression that many AAS RN's obtain a BSN while working full time (online or at night), and employers support and expect their RNs to obtain a BSN asap, thus the tuition assistance.

hermitosis: my school does not have any career placement assistance. (I recc anyone considering nursing avoid lichson like the bird flu ).

FergieBelle: thanks for the info, I will consider all of them.

cheers everyone!
posted by 5lbauthority at 2:21 PM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: oops: prev post online was supposed to link here
posted by 5lbauthority at 2:24 PM on September 22, 2010

I'm job hunting right now, and I've seen SO MANY nursing jobs and been so jealous of people with that sort of education and training. Most of these were jobs with universities that had medical programs and needed full-time research assistants or patient care assistants. They're probably not as glamorous as hospital jobs, but they are medical facilities and you'll probably be doing the same sort of stuff.
posted by ke rose ne at 3:39 PM on September 22, 2010

(I should add that these were jobs I could almost qualify for with my liberal arts degree and office experience, and only required a few basic nursing skills I didn't have - like knowing how to draw blood. They are certainly entry-level and low-competition, but pay better than anything my degree will get me.)
posted by ke rose ne at 3:43 PM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: ke rose ne: i'm curious where specifically you found this abundance of positions...i can draw blood..

posted by 5lbauthority at 8:25 PM on September 22, 2010

A number of RN's who started w/ me at my job were from new grads from NYC/NJ. They had been searching for employment for about 6 mos and finally decided that it was worth it to relocate. The employment situation up here isn't great, but there are options. I'm sure it's the same in other places. Can you relocate for a year or so, just to get experience? Good luck. It will get better.
posted by brevator at 10:05 PM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: brevator: I was just looking at a albany posting, hmmm, I may be ready to leave the nyc after 13 years anyway...options: 1, 2, 3.
posted by 5lbauthority at 5:35 AM on September 23, 2010

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