Thursday, January 10, 2013

Making the Most Out of Nothing

I'm currently in my 9th month out of school and all I have to show for it is an inbox full of rejections. Not completely true. I managed to keep myself busy by job searching, passing NCLEX, and trying to make myself marketable. 

The first thing I did after graduation was sleep and study for NCLEX. I ended up passing with only 85 questions! I'm not going to go in to detail about my study schedule and habits, but if I get any request then I will do a post dedicated to NCLEX. I used two study aids: Hurst Review and Saunders Comprehensive Review. Plus a million index cards I made myself. I ended up taking my NCLEX late and tested the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I thought I wasn't going to pass because I waited so long to take it and I wasn't sticking to my study schedule. My procrastination was mostly due to lack of confidence in myself to pass and lack of motivation from no job leads. Basically it was EXCUSES. I finally made myself pick a final date. I took it. I passed. I celebrated. 

The second thing I did was re-new my BLS and I obtained my ACLS, PALS, NRP, and EKG certifications. I highly recommend getting these four certifications especially if you're looking to go into critical care. I got all of them over 3 days from Dr. Rendon's Revive Education. He's an awesome teacher and it only cost $300. It's a great deal considering ACLS, PALS, and NRP can run you about over $150 each. What may also be a cheaper option or is great for those independent learners that hate being in class for hours is if you go online to the American Heart Association (AHA) you can split the class in 2 steps. First step is online through the AHA where you pay a reduced fee. Second you find a facility where you can go to demonstrate skills and get your card for a much smaller price and way less time. It should end up costing less than taking the class at that facility, but always check the prices! And like your BLS these expire after 2 years.

Finally, I got serious about my job searching. I applied for my first job before graduation. It was a new grad program for a local hospital and I was excited to submit my first application! 100+ applications later and I only got one interview. Before the interview, I wasn't as dedicated to my job search as I should have been. I used Google, hints from friends, a Facebook group, and for job leads. Some days I was more productive than others. I at least tried to average 6 applications a week. It wasn't until my first interview that I formulated a system. For the interview I flew down to San Diego and stayed with family. I was so excited! I got a new suit, I practice, and I even made a portfolio for the managers. It was my first nursing interview and I was going to make myself as prepared as possible. It was a fantastic interview. I enjoyed it and felt so comfortable with the managers. However, I was rejected for the position anyway. If it wasn't for a Hospital I admired so much and maybe if I didn't do so well in the interview I wouldn't have broke down so much, but I did. I had a mini-meltdown a few weeks before Christmas. I felt depressed as reality reminded me that I still have no job. I eventually pulled through thanks to family support and the nurses over at I started a support thread over there for unemployed new grads. You guys should definitely check it out. It's a great community! 

Once I pulled myself up on my feet I started a spreadsheet. I found a list of all the hospitals in California on Wikipedia and went to work. I sorted the hospitals by county and I didn't list them if they fell under a medical group such as Kaiser or Sutter. I visited each hospital's website and linked it to the spreadsheet. If that hospital offered a specific new grad program I put them on a different sheet with the program information. From the main list, I am slowly working my way through the counties as I call or email each one to see if they accept new grads and I update the list as I go. I have set up job agents for new grad and RN I positions whenever possible. I also check the main site for the medical group's daily or weekly. I've really invested time and energy in to my search which has greatly expanded my options. I also updated my Resume by posting it on and receiving feedback from the community and gathering information from other posted resumes. I feel more confident in my ability as the New Year began. I'm just waiting for that one phone call. 

1 comment:

  1. All you need is 6 months and you are pretty golden almost everywhere. I am planning on making bunch of copies of my resume and cover letter than driving around to different nursing homes. I tried looking them up but most dont have websites for places around these areas. So far that is just a plan because I have to work to take care of all these loans I accumulated for nursing school :(