We’re Walking, We’re Walking

After my crappy encounter with the nursing world on Thursday, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and take a mental health day.

Alas, my aspirations (and my checking account) had other plans that involved an 0600 wake-up call, putting on my best interview outfit, straightening my hair – a rare occasion, and driving three hours to another metro area to tour a children’s hospital with a recruiter I have been wooing since December.

I would kill to work at this particular facility. I’ve been stalking their online job board and doing everything in my power to make my case for why they should hire me without sounding like a nag. There have not been many opportunities for new grads but when there were, I have lunged. Unfortunately (but understandably) they have gone with internal applicants all three times.

So a few weeks ago I requested an informational interview. My thinking was that if I showed so much interest that I was willing to make theย  drive there for them to see my face and to learn more about the hospital, if they were ever in a position to hire a new grad externally, they would think of me fondly, as Andrew Lloyd Webber would say. ๐Ÿ™‚

But I was informed that they don’t do informational interviews. They’d be happy to give me a tour of the hospital, though.

Sure, why not?

So my friend A – another peds nurse at heart – and I made the drive together. It was an impressive facility, probably the best children’s hospital in this part of the country. We met a clinical nurse specialist on one of the floors and when we told her where we had gone to school, she grinned exuberantly and said “You folks graduate with really strong skills.” Finally, someone who believes in us.

But our excitement was quickly dampened at the end of the tour when the recruiter spent 10 minutes telling us how questionable second-degree nursing programs are. Apparently the BSN students from our school are the only ones considered worth their salt. I tried to point out how many clinical hours we actually do have (30 more than our BSNs), and how second-degree nursing programs are different, so her experience with students from the program she was talking about shouldn’t color her opinion of all such programs.

Her response? “I know that, but nurse managers don’t know and they don’t care. They don’t have to. They don’t have to take the time or effort to learn about your program because they have plenty of other people with BSNs they can hire instead.”

Sonofabitch. Can someone please throw me a freaking bone? And by the way, why the hell is my school not pounding the pavement and marketing our program far and wide? Why has no one heard of our program outside of our immediate metro area (especially in our current saturated job market)?

A and I stopped for coffee, dejected and depressed and frustrated beyond belief. We checked our messages before getting on the road, and that’s when I discovered the voice mail inviting me to interview for a Med-Surg position in a town just down the road. I silently thanked karma and turned to A, who was equally giddy. Apparently her capstone preceptor from the PICU had just texted her with news that there were two open night positions posted on the floor. It was just the first step for her, but it was a step, and that’s more than either of us have been able to say lately.

It was a long day with mixed results. Did it get us anywhere with that particular children’s hospital? Not likely. But maybe, just maybe, it will pay off someday in the future. And it was good practice for asking questions and engaging with someone who potentially has a stake in my nursing future. So that made it worth the trip.

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