As the number of jobs for nurses is projected to grow faster than any other, fueling the nursing shortage, and not just in the United States but also nationally, this opens up a world of possibilities for those interested in having a rewarding career in the health field. With attractive benefits like premium wages, health insurance, flexible scheduling, signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement programs, and subsidized training, a career in nursing offers so much more than perhaps the absolute best benefit of them all, making a critical difference in someone's life.
Here are ten top tips to help you on your way to quickly finding the nursing job of your dreams:
1. Your Nursing Education
Any type of nursing job will, of course, always begin with the proper education from an accredited nursing school or program. If you haven't already received a degree, there are currently well over 1000 different nursing programs in the US to choose from, ranging from associate and bachelor's degree programs to master's degrees, and involving a host of various specialties to consider.
2. Have a Career Plan
Having a definitive career plan in place is vitally important for more than just the college freshman who is unsure of which path to take. With nursing, there are so many different avenues to explore, from neonatal care to end of life care for geriatric and terminally ill patients, and everything else in between. Do you have anything in mind in terms of the type of facility you want to work in? Or, the type of patients you want to work with? Knowing the answers to these important questions will help to narrow down the endless options available.
3. Write a Winning Resume
Be sure to add areas of any specialties, boldly highlight any accomplishments, and emphasize your experience. Before submitting a resume or cover letter to any prospective employer it is absolutely imperative that you proofread and meticulously check for errors, preferably with the help of someone else for a fresh perspective.
4. Ace the Job Interview
You've received your education, have a clear vision about your goals, and have written a winning resume that will get your application noticed. Now it's time to ace the ever important job interview and get your foot in the door to begin your career.
Here are some of the most common questions you can expect on the interview:
- Why did you choose a career in nursing?
- Where did you receive your nursing training?
- What type of experience do you have?
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- What shifts and hours are you available to work?
- Where do you see your nursing career five years from now?
5. Expand Your Horizons
If you think getting a job as a nurse means you have to work strictly in a hospital, which are usually the most stressful of all settings for nurses, think again, as an education in nursing gives you the ability to work virtually anywhere, and not just in terms of physical location, but also in a host of health care facilities.
Also, don't rule out the possibility of completely relocating when it comes to finding your ideal nursing job as many companies offer rather attractive incentives to nurses who will relocate.
6. Applying for Registered Nursing Jobs
To become a registered nurse (RN), one of three degrees must be obtained from an accredited nursing program, either an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree followed by the successful completion of a state board licensing exam. Besides hospitals, there are doctor's offices, nursing homes, private home health care settings, and outpatient care facilities as well as public sectors like schools, clinics and private or government funded agencies and facilities that all employ registered nurses.
7. Nurse Practitioner Jobs
Taking the world of nursing to a whole new level are nurse practitioner jobs, which involve even more responsibilities and duties such as collaborating with doctors and prescribing medications. By receiving advanced training enabling them to perform many of the same tasks as physicians, including obtaining a master's degree and certification, registered nurses may further their careers and become a certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP), also called an NP or nurse practitioner.
8. Certified Nursing Assistant Jobs
Certified nursing assistant jobs are also high in demand as nurses and doctors couldn't possibly do their jobs without the help from these professionally trained people. Also known as CNAs or certified nurse's aides, this job entails working directly under the supervision of a nurse and performing tasks such as taking vital signs and other data, as well as assisting with activities of daily living (ADL).
9. Opportunities and Jobs for Nursing Students
There are many hospitals and health care facilities that offer intern positions for new nursing school graduates and jobs for nursing students, giving them the edge they need to bridge the gap between being an undergraduate and a practicing nurse. Most schools and learning institutions will have job boards, either at the school or posted virtually on their website, for students to browse through available positions.
10. Consider a Job as a Traveling Nurse
As if there weren't enough opportunities for those in the nursing field already, now traveling nurses are also in high demand to counter the growing shortage in various areas around the country. Countless opportunities exist as an independent traveling nurse or through a traveling nurse company, and depending on the employer, benefits may include free or low cost housing and utilities, free insurance, travel stipends and reimbursements, leaving very little out-of-pocket expenses for the traveling nurse.
Because licensing requirements vary from state to state in the US, check with the company you apply with to see if they offer any assistance in this department, which many do, and what steps will be involved for you to legally practice as a nurse in other states.