- Get a job- Consider being a nursing assistant. Look at the message boards at school and check out your local hospital and nursing home personnel offices. You are likely to find jobs specifically geared toward nursing students.
- Volunteer-Whether you volunteer at a hospital, with your church, local school or community center helping with health screenings or go on medically based mission trips the experience is irreplaceable. It also demonstrates to potential employers you have a passion for and commitment to your future career path.
- Join up-Get involved in organizations. Participate in your school’s chapter of the National Student Nurse Association. It will provide opportunities for networking; the national convention is a great way to meet representatives from employers all over the country and a way to network with other nursing students. If your grades are high enough and you are invited, become part of Sigma Theta Tau. Most specialty nursing organizations like AMSN (Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses) and AORN(Association of Operating Room Nurses) and the like have student memberships available. The magazines alone are worth the price of membership. They offer insight into the latest issues in the chosen specialty and often have advertisements for job availability.
- Keep your grades up-Good grades count. They show commitment and attention to details.
- Be prepared-Have an up-to-date resume with correct grammar and spelling. Have an interview suit and shoes clean and ready-to-wear. Have a watch and be on time, whether volunteering, working or attending an event—people notice. If offered an interview, accept no matter what the job. Interviewing is an art and it gets easier with experience (and make sure your cell phone is on mute). Shake hands, say please and thank you and follow-up with a written thank you note. Anything that makes you stand out in a positive manner makes you memorable and gives you a greater chance of being hired for that coveted position.
There is now and there will always be a need for nurses. Just as the economy fluctuates so does the number of jobs available. Your job as a nursing student is to build yourself into a marketable product…the bright, new, enthusiastic nursing graduate excited by the challenges of joining an organization and being their most productive new hire. You gotta make yourself look good.
You also want to keep an open mind. Not all nursing jobs are in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Be open to alternative employers like schools, camps, public health clinics, rehabs or local health departments. All of these are great learning and growth opportunities.
My final tip: stay positive, nursing is a great career!