Crafting Your Nursing Journey: Essential Tips for New Graduates


Starting your career in nursing can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. You can finally use the skills you’ve developed over many years of school to help people, yet the responsibilities that come with care can be intimidating.crafting-your-nursing-journey-essential-tips-for-new-graduates

Rather than fretting about your first few months post-graduation, focus on getting off to a good start by nailing your applications. A well-crafted application will help you land a role in a healthcare setting of your choice and ensure you can pick from a range of potential employers.

Putting together a perfect application is critical now, as there are 193,100 projected nursing openings in the nation. This means that you should find a workplace that understands some of the common challenges you may face as a minority and newly qualified nurse.

Navigating the Nursing Shortage

The nursing shortage is at the forefront of most recent graduates’ minds. On the one hand, the high demand for nurses puts you in a powerful position to negotiate your contract and land a role in a city or town that suits your lifestyle. However, the shortage also means you must exercise increased caution when offered a job, as a better opportunity may be waiting.  

It’s also worth noting that the staffing shortage may undermine your work experience when you enter the workforce. You may become overworked if you enter a chronically understaffed environment and need more nurses. This can be a serious issue as a recent graduate, as you need to build your network and find mentors in nursing who understand the pressures you may face as a minority in the area.  

When interviewing prospective employers, ask them how they respond to the staff shortage in healthcare today. They should be able to answer any questions you have related to: 

  • Compensation: A period of sustained inflation has put pressure on wages. Is the prospective employer offering competitive pay for the area, or are they still offering the same salary? 
  • Workload: What steps does the employer take to manage the workload? How often do employees work overtime? What support exists for nurses who are burnt out? 
  • Mentors: What mentorship program will you enter upon arrival? Are you adequately represented at the leadership/mentorship level? 
  • Turnover: Is the employer experiencing heightened turnover? If so, what are they doing to counteract turnover? 

Healthcare organizations should be able to answer these questions clearly if they’re serious about providing a healthy, professionally rewarding workplace. When listening to their responses, please pay attention to the steps they have taken to respond to shortages and consider pivoting away from organizations with high turnover rates, poor representation, and low compensation.

Specialization

Rather than jumping at the first opportunity offered to you as a new graduate, consider seeking employment at a healthcare organization that can help you pursue a specialization. Specializing as a nurse increases your salary potential and enables you to land more rewarding roles. Some of the best specializations in nursing today include: 

These specializations command a high salary and are in demand currently. This puts you in a strong position to negotiate compensation and may lead to career opportunities that help you fulfill your professional goals. So, before you sign on the dotted line, find out whether or not your new employer is willing to help advance your nursing career through certifications and development opportunities. 

Building an Application

Putting together a well-rounded professional application is crucial for a new graduate. Your first application packet will set you up for life and help you land a role with the salary, benefits, and responsibilities you’re looking for. However, building your first application post-graduation can be difficult if you’re unfamiliar with the process. Get the ball rolling by creating a job application process playbook to follow, which will include: 

  • By utilizing the Minority Nurse job finder, you can filter your search to graduate opportunities and further refine your hunt for a great job.
  • Gather relevant personal information in a single folder, including your details, resume, cover letter, and transcripts.
  • Revise your resume to be brief and targeted to the specific opening you’re applying for. Further, refine your resume by summarizing your skills and experiences.
  • Redesign your resume using tools like Adobe Express to stand out. 
  • Write a cover letter that introduces your skills and reflects your personality. Try to tell a story and focus on why you may see nursing as a vocation.  
  • Create a creative portfolio that highlights your school achievements. This shows that you’re serious about your future and ready to enter the professional world.  

Taking these steps will put you head and shoulders above the competition. It will also help you connect with employers ready to support you as a minority nurse. This can get you started on the right foot in your nursing career and help you connect with mentors who understand your challenges.  

Conclusion

Crafting your nursing journey with care is crucial as a recent graduate. Rather than leaping into the first offer you receive, take some time to do your research and find an employer that can meet your needs. This will spark a period of career growth that will support you for years to come and help you hit the ground running as you enter the professional world of healthcare. 

Amanda Winstead
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