When the going gets tough, the tough get going. There's no other way to describe our healthcare workers, including the nurses, in times of medical emergencies. Clad in their personal protective equipment (PPE), these frontlines are toughing it out to win the fight against COVID-19, the deadly disease that downed a few of these selfless healthcare workers, too.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nurses and midwives comprise 20.7 million of the 43.5 million healthcare workers worldwide. In the U.S., there are about 3 million registered nurses and 700,000 licensed practical nurses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite these figures, the demand for these modern-day heroes remains high.
Despite the high demand for nurses in the healthcare sector, whether in the U.S., U.K., or Spain, looking for a nursing job can be an unpredictable experience. Aside from the required diploma, certification, and licenses, an applicant is also required to have clinical and hands-on experience.
If you want to start a career in the healthcare sector as a nurse, take heed of the following points.
Look For Job Listings For Nurses
Before breaking into the nursing career you've dreamed of, it's essential to find some job listings for nursing professionals that you can apply for. By doing this, you'll be able to streamline your job search, thereby getting your job in the fastest time possible.
Here's how you can have access to several job listings for nurses:
- Visit nursing job sites – This can be the easiest way to find nursing job opportunities. Typically, there are various online sources where you can access job listings for nursing professionals. All you have to do is type the keywords "R.N." or "Registered Nurse" and the location where you want to work so you can generate more job leads, making your job search seamless and stress-free.
Ask for referrals – Another best way to find a job is to ask for referrals from different people. For example, you can contact your college career office staff about any potential contacts in nursing and healthcare. Also, you can tap your former employers, family, friends, clinical supervisors, and faculty to see if they can recommend some nursing job openings that may suit your credentials.
Prepare Your Resume
Applying for a job means you should be ready to attract employers to hire you over the other applicants. This is where a good resume comes to the rescue. Typically, writing a resume that highlights your credentials should be at the core of your application. You might want to familiarize yourself with the different types of resumes that promise to get you noticed by prospective employers. Don't rely too much on these promises, though, as potential employees have different preferences.
But, if you want to increase your chances of getting a job as a nurse in the healthcare industry, below are the following ways to prepare a good resume:
- Make a header – Your header should include your name, email address, and phone number. Be sure your email address is professional and the phone number you add is the one you plan to use. If you're using a voicemail, make sure the email address is professional.
- Come up with a summary – Using one or two sentences, write a summary of your relevant skills and work experience. You can use it to briefly explain the reason why you're applying as a nurse.
- List down the essential parts – To make your resume more comprehensive, it's important to note down different essential components that can help employers to get to know you better as an applicant. They can also make your resume appealing to a variety of employers. These parts can include:
- Experiences – This section shows where and when you've worked, including the specific accomplishments for each job. However, be sure to pick work experiences that are related to the nursing position you're applying for.
- Activities – This section includes all the activities you've participated in and the role you had in each. For example, you can list all the nursing memberships or leadership positions in organizations, clubs, and many more.
- Education – This section shows the schools you've attended, your general weight average, class rank, and many others. You can also include here some training programs, seminars, and so on.
- Awards – This section talks about the awards you've won and when you won them. But, if you haven't received any awards, it's best to skip this section.
- Personal Interests – This section is all about how well-rounded you are as a person. Be sure to include hobbies that help you grow as an individual and as a professional. While this section is considered optional, it can help the employers break the ice during an interview.
With the information mentioned above, there are many things to consider when preparing a resume. However, if you want to win your prospective employer, find time to enhance your resume by filling in the necessary details. That way, you'll not only impress your potential employer, but you'll also be able to land your dream nursing position.
Tap Your Connections and Socialize
It's always a good idea to reach out to your network for some leads, as not all job opportunities are advertised. Speak with your professors, school administrators, workmates, friends, and school alumni to see whether they can recommend job vacancies for nurses or if they can link you to key persons in the hospital and other health facilities.
To expand your network, join professional groups, attend events for the alumni of your school, connect with other people in the nursing track, and take every chance you get to connect, in person or online, with players in the healthcare sector.
Build Up Your Experience
Experience matters in the nursing profession. Keeping this in mind, nursing students must seize every opportunity to work support jobs in hospitals while pursuing their degrees. This is extremely important if you wish to increase the chances of getting a nursing job after graduation.
While not required, it helps if you're able to decide on a nursing specialty early on. For instance, if you want to be a Psychiatric Nurse, find some opportunities to work in psychiatric clinics.
Nursing students who want to specialize in geriatric nursing should deal with elderly patients in clinics and hospitals. Students taking emergency care services should seek experience as a paramedic or an emergency medical technician, and so on. This is how you gain experiences and use the same to boost your skills and get the nursing job you want from the get-go.
Participate In Some Volunteer Works
If you don't have adequate hands-on experience, sign up for some relevant volunteer works to increase your chances of getting hired. Potential employers are inclined to hire students or graduates who choose to volunteer their time instead of doing nothing while waiting for feedback from healthcare firms. This can also help prove that you're hardworking and dedicated to enhancing your skills in whatever job you perform.
Consider Getting an Internship
Nursing degree students and holders should grab every opportunity to gain hands-on or clinical experience. A survey has shown that seven out of 10 interns are eventually hired by the companies they interned with.
Get Ready For The Interview
Of course, you may not be able to find a job as a nurse in the healthcare industry if you don't go for an interview. Typically, nursing applicants should show to the interviewers that you have the required clinical skills and personal qualities necessary for handling nursing positions.
Because of this, you should be prepared for the interview to ensure you get the job you're applying for. For example, you should get ready to do the following during the interview meeting:
- Providing a list of your clinical skills as well as examples of situations in which you apply these skills
- Telling the interviewer about the patient care challenges you faced and how you overcame these challenges
- Sharing examples of situations on how you dealt with difficult colleagues at work
- Convincing the interviewer that you're aware of your weaknesses and that you're prepared to do some things to improve your performance
As you can see, there are many things to consider when finding a nursing job in the healthcare industry. Thus, if you want to stand out in the interview, you may practice answering common nursing interview questions with your family, friends, advisors, and even a career office staff.
Work Opportunities for Nurses
Being a nurse can be a great career opportunity. Since nursing is considered a noble profession, nurses may have a variety of career paths to take. For example, medical facilities aren't the only suitable working locations for registered nurses. If you're one of these professionals, other healthcare settings can offer you employment, too.
Nursing services are needed in the following settings:
- Nursing Facilities
- Doctor's Clinic
- Medical Insurance Companies
- Local, Federal or State Governments
- Community Health Offices
- School and University Clinics
- Penitentiary or Correctional Healthcare Facilities
If you think that the adrenaline-pumping work setting in a hospital is not for you, consider other nursing specialties:
- Clinical Nurse Educator
- Public Health Nurse
- Travel Nurse
- Home Health Nurse
- Forensic Nurse
- Psychiatric Nurse
- Nurse Advocate
- Hospice Nurse
How to Become a Nurse
There are different nursing levels based on the required education and certifications, as well as experience. Most nursing levels require you to pass a certification or licensure exam, depending on state regulations. These can include:
- Licensed Practical Nurses
LPNs often take classes similar to registered nurses (RNs) to acquire additional information about health care and the human body. An LPN aspirant has to spend one year to get a Diploma in Practical Nursing before being allowed to take a state-mandated exam. An LPN's general task varies from state to state in the U.S., but in general, they focus on hands-on patient care.
- Associate in Nursing
An Associate degree is required if you wish to enter the healthcare industry as an R.N. If you want to proceed as an R.N., just study for two more years for your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
- Bachelor's in Nursing
In the U.S., the standard for registered nurses is focused on those who earned a BSN degree, which takes four years to complete. Those who have taken shorter courses can apply for bridging programs to accelerate their entry into the nursing sector. To get a license, registered nurses should pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) after they complete a state-approved academic program.
- Nurse Practitioners
They're also called Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), and these individuals have taken a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or any graduate program. N.P.s typically work with doctors but can work autonomously, too. Besides performing R.N. duties, they can order and evaluate test results, refer patients to specialists and diagnose and treat ailments.
Those with an MSN degree can choose to become specialists. They can either become; Family Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Educators, and Nurse Leadership and Administration professionals. The American Nurses Association identified that there are four types of APRNs. They are the nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, certified nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists.
Unlike the rest of the nursing levels, nursing aides, or certified nursing assistants (CNAs) only need to obtain a certification in order to practice. They operate under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
CNAs are typically employed in long-term residential facilities, rehabilitation centers, and adult day care centers, and hospitals. This is perfect for individuals who want to know how being a "junior nurse" feels like.
Starting your career as a nurse may not be as difficult as searching for jobs in the other healthcare sectors, being that nurses are one of the most in-demand healthcare professionals worldwide. As long as you possess the core skills and competencies, meet the basic requirements, and have hands-on clinical experience, you're already considered a good candidate.
But if you want to find a nursing job in the healthcare industry as quickly as you can, keep the tips mentioned above in mind, and you'll be on your way toward getting the job you rightfully deserve.