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Dec
14

Self-Advocacy

The job hunt has begun with a vengeance!

And a lot of frustration.

Problem #1: I don’t actually have my license yet. And so far those sneaky position descriptions that call for a current RN license have not been joking. Surprise, surprise. Getting repeated e-mails that you don’t meet “minimum qualifications” can be bruising to the ego. But I just keep reminding myself that it’s at least helpful to get my name out there so maybe, just maybe, a nurse recruiter out there is thinking, “Damn, Nurse Teeny has a kickass resume, but alas, no nursing license. I’ll remember her name and wait for her to try again when she passes her NCLEX.” Hey, a girl can dream.

Problem #2: The economy may be recovering, but it still sucks. Even though there’s a nursing shortage, recent grads are struggling to find work. Supposedly 2010 budgets appearing in January are more promising, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Problem #3: New grads are expensive to hire and train. And we’re risky because statistically we leave our first jobs pretty quickly. Ergo with the economy sucking (see Problem #2), many hospitals are postponing or outright cancelling their winter new grad internships. I got an interview for one, only to be called back and told that the hospital had “reevaluated its staffing needs.” Blah.

Problem #4: My fingerprints are apparently crap. RN applicants must be fingerprinted and vetted by state police before being allowed to test. My first round came back the week before Thanksgiving with a big ol’ “Try Again Sucker” letter. I went back to the company that had originally printed me, and they took digital AND ink prints, only to determine that I am incapable of providing a good set. Who knew you could have eczema in the ridges of your fingers? I submitted both new sets with a letter from the company, pleading for the state to forgive my shortcomings and take what they could get, and I have yet to hear yay or nay. Our grades are released this Friday, and our Authorization To Test arrives a few days later. Assuming I’m squared away with this fiasco. Not looking too promising.

Problem #5: Masters-entry programs are still surrounded by the urban legend that we are “unprepared” for the demands of nursing. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to run through the entire spiel about how we actually have more clinical hours than the BSN students at our school, or how our previous professional experience can actually contribute to our nursing practice. I’ve had to advocate for my skills and my training so many times that part of me wonders whether I should have just gone for the BSN and sought a Master’s degree later. Which is sad, because I really like and believe in my program. I just wish they’d give us a BSN when we complete our pre-licensure requirements so we don’t have to run through a whole rigamarole every time we apply for a job.

There is good news, however. Those few positions for which I am actually considered qualified have shown some promise. I got a phone call less than 12 hours after applying to a peds job in another state, because the nurse recruiter wanted to clarify how I could continue my studies in one city, while working in another. So I explained how our graduate program worked and she put my application through to the nurse manager. The same recruiter informed me today that my application to a different unit has also been forwarded. So at least I’m considered worth the effort.

I’ll keep educating, advocating, and prostrating myself before the HR gods, for as long as it takes. I went into this profession because it’s where I belong. And I’ll be damned if a bad economy or faulty fingerprints are going to get in my way!

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