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Finding for your dream nursing career job: Where the rubber meets the road

Finding that dream job that suits your life goals, from the many nursing career job options after nursing school can be challenging. Nobody teaches you how to go about this. Even if you are lucky enough to be in a nursing program that guides their nursing students on career options, chances are that when partaking a degree in nursing, the focus then is on passing the next exam. Whatever your background and whichever nursing graduate program you undertook, to narrow down on the most suitable nursing career job options for you requires one to be streetwise.

Earlier on, we explored aspects that center on above water techniques in job hunting. Today, we highlight the streetwise moves. Tricks that I learned as fresh Bsn Degree graduate looking to build a career in nursing. And strategies by successful nursing job applicants that I’ve witnessed as an interviewer and employer.

But before making your first move towards a career in nursing, I pose this question that I ask my mentees over and over. Where would you like to be in say six months? Three years? Five years? If your answer is say, bedside nursing, or nurse practitioner or pursuing your masters in nursing, then we know where to focus our energies.

Identify a target and put in sight: choosing nursing career jobs

I urge my mentees to take time after nursing school for serious time with themselves to weigh the different nursing career job options to build their lives around. As we shared earlier on Bsc in Nursing degree career options, there are tons of nursing career jobs ranging from: nurse practitioners, travel nursing jobs, nursing agency jobs, nursing teaching jobs and even nursing research jobs.

The easiest way to find clarity and purpose is to take a look at anyone you know holding a position you would like to hold and try drawing a connecting line between you to them. Ask yourself if that dream job became available today, will you be able to take up the job ? What comes with it ? (There is always a price to pay. Do remember also that privileges come with responsibilities) . To answer this important questions, here is a two-pronged strategy that has worked for me:

Towards a fulfilling nursing career job: Talk to those who hold jobs that you dream of

Find time to talk to them who you admire. Don’t rely on hearsay. Hearsay has this way of making it seem like anyone who got anywhere or did anything had to employ some unethical means: Sleeping around, undercutting colleagues, political influence etc. It should be easier to talk with someone who you are not in direct competition with.

Like those three, five years your seniors (This is one reason why I urge young nurses to plan three, five years ahead). Shake off the fear that they might blow you off. Most of the time, our fears have no legs except in our minds. The truth is that most people who’ve achieved anything in life get flattered when somebody takes interest in their careers. From my own experience, it even has a calming effect as it allows me to take stock and count my blessings as this streetwise tip reveals. (click on title to reveal tips)

Streetwise Tip: Mining Gold. The value of getting your mentor to speak.
Trust me, the hustle does get to you and makes one blind of his/her achievements. Besides, whenever, I meet up with a young nurse seeking to learn form my journey, the natural tendency is to give the best I have. Lessons from my mistakes, missed opportunities and what I would do if I had the chance to do it all over again. These, gems of advice if you ask me.

Handling talking to a potential mentor: Questions to ask and unlock prospects of your dream nursing career jobs

I will be sharing more on mentorship- from how I got my first mentor to reading body language to becoming a mentor myself. However, today I’ll be sharing a framework that I use whenever advising a mentee on nursing career jobs. Once I have answered all the questions, I’m certain the mentee is ready to face the world.

Have you ever heard of the 5W1H?  Well, it a strategy to get all that  pertains information gathering and problem solving. This framework that’s useful in diverse fields from solving ethical dilemmas, social science research, journalism and police investigations still sorts me out even in my consulting. It’s that effective.

Finding fulfilling nursing careers jobs can be less daunting if the What , Who, Where, How framework used in consultancy is applied

How often do applicants in nursing career job as themselves these questions before embarking on a job hunt? Image credit| consultantsmind.com

Don’t repeat my mistakes!

I remember taking up my first job in an accident and emergency clinic tied to leading health insurance company. I was one of the paramedics manning the ambulance. Truth is I never did due diligence of the position. When I landed the job, I was too excited to read my TOR. I quickly appended my signature after glancing at the remuneration part lest they changed their minds.

At first working as a medivac nurse, was very exciting! I enjoyed the chopper rides here and there. But it was not long before getting bored. Before long, I wanted to get out as soon as possible. My being couldn’t manage the adrenaline rush that came with daily evacuations. I resigned shortly thereafter. While as Steve Jobs urges that joining the dots backwards reveals the purpose of every step, we are here to shorten the learning curve; right?

Do not despise humble beginnings

Be pragmatic.  As we Kenyans like to say: “Shikilia hapo!” Desist from the notion that you are too big to work in a certain company. The trick is to negotiate for your job description to match your chosen path. Make sure that it’s legal too. That your employer is registered to offer professional nursing services. Chances are that when starting out in your nursing career, you’ll offer more value than you’ll get compensated for.

Many employers will wish to walk the professional journey with you. Loyalty is scare nowadays, but if you find the right organization, growing with them might be the best decision ever. They will be there to protect you from shocks allowing you to grow through the various nursing career job options without painful disruption such as job loss.

On volunteering as a way to explore the different nursing career job options

Another thing to consider when starting out is to avoid gaps in your CV by volunteering. You can volunteer in the government facility nearest to your home and have them write you a recommendation letter.

Streetwise Tip: Nabbing a Volunteer Position in your County Government Health Department
One trick I have learned working in communities is to respect their organizational hierarchies. Therefore, while seeking to volunteer in a nearby facility, place your request with the health facility management committee not the county HR or CEC’s office. Play your politics smartly. The guys at the top listen to the guys they’ve placed/work with at the bottom.

Side note: I found one proposal by the Uhuru administration admirable. The one where the Deputy president toyed with the idea of having youth volunteers in various ministries awhile back. Connecting jobless youth with internship opportunities in the private and third sector kind of thing. I wonder what came of it? I hope that it comes to see the light of day someday.

As we continue our conversation on finding your dream nursing career job, you’ll learn a lot about volunteering. For now though, keep this streetwise tip in mind.

Streetwise Tip: Looking for a volunteer position? This mindset will get you your dream spot
Do not volunteer with an intention of getting employed. Many organizations will grin at this cheap manipulation. Aim at getting the experience instead. Its invaluable.

Aggression Unlocks Nursing career jobs

Make google your friend. Subscribe to all job blogs like brightermonday, newkenyanjobs, the star newspaper jobs blog, LinkedIn jobs blog, relief web, my Facebook page etc. Spend your time on social media looking for leads on nursing career job opening. Expand your search to include jobs that may require a Bsn Degree but are not necessarily nursing careers such as health management and research administrators.

However, that’s basic. Everyone does that. How do you stand out from the crowd? Makeup? Nah; too crony. Blog post? Nah; these one serve you best when better established and your goal is to build reputation as an authority in your niche. What about this streetwise move?

Streetwise Tip: Lay down a marker
Drop your documents in an organization that has not advertised. The downside is that it is very expensive. The upside, you get a chance to meet your potential employer. My experience is that when organizations are not openly hiring, the people responsible are more open to meeting job seekers. The reason behind this that: They already have an answer: “We are not hiring at the moment, but we’ll put you into our database”. This puts them at ease. Doors are more likely to open. There is no risk of canvassing/ them put into pressure as there is no position to fill. Therefore less aggression/logs thrown your way under your feet. Think of it as chicken with chicks Vs. one without. The end game is that it easier to make an impression in a less threatening environment. Trust me, as an interviewer, it easier to remember the people you have meet when not hiring as opposed to those you meet in the thick of a job interview. Why? Because always the potential interviewee gets an opportunity to set the standards. The field is open literally, there’s no other CVs to compare yours with. No other candidates. No nervousness on your part. If you get a chance to meet someone, make it short and precise. Know yourself well. Make sure your dates and events match. Let them know that you are available for to take up part time nursing jobs on short notice. Sign off with a summary of your CV.

 

How to apply for an advertised job

When you get hold of an advert, read it carefully. Reread it again and try to picture yourself as the successful candidate. You need a positive attitude. Ask yourself if you will be comfortable with the organization in question and the job location. If the answers to these two are yes then proceed. This streetwise move will make it seem like you were made for the job and vice-versa

Streetwise Tip: Just like in dating, if she likes to dance, you better brush up on your dancing skills.
Google around what competencies other organizations are looking for in the same position. For example if you got a job advert for Makueni County hiring graduate nurses, google what competencies other counties were looking for from graduate nurses. Use these roles and responsibilities that closely match your experience to flesh up your CV. Secret is never lie.

Follow application instructions in spirit and to the letter. For Example an organization requires one to apply online and send hard copies of the application to a certain location. Do just that. Remember to indicate job advert number in the reference section of your cover letter and as well as the top of the envelope.

Never send late applications

Make sure you send your applications on time. Never send late applications unless timelines are extended. Avoid the last minute rush. A late application always ends up in the shredder. You get no chance to audition even before the pre-interview selection panel. It is just a waste of money that you’ll need in your job hunt.

Don’t underestimate the time it takes to get your documents ready. Photocopying and arranging your credentials can make you late in dropping an application that comes up on short notice. Streetwise tip is to ensure you have copies of your degree certificates, ID and other documents that may not require editing for every application ready.

Other streetwise tips

  1. Be abreast with the latest in your field. Google the latest interventions in the practice of your dream nursing career job.
  2. Do not canvas. Do your homework. In case you know a member of staff in the organization you wish to join, not directly involved in hiring, it might be wise to call them up and find out what they think of the job. They may also give you insight of the organization`s expectation, salary range etc.
  3. Do not be desperate. Don’t start crying when asked about yourself however harrowing your experience to getting there. People shy away from jobless contacts for fear of dependency.
  4. Create rapport with cleaners, secretaries and watchmen. They might be the difference between you losing out on a job simply because you took too long to get to the interview room after getting to the interview location.

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