May 5, 2011, 11:12 am

Is It Just Me, Or….

Oh hai...Well, that was an extended blog break!

I’m still kickin’!

Stagnating, but kicking.

Restless. On edge. Waiting.

For something.

*****

Love these uniforms!

I actually had the one on the right, albeit in a more ’70s updated version (aka: shorter). Not very practical, but boy did we look good back in the day! Her cap is floppy, though. Too wide, too. Only a 6/10 for that.

I’m not just waiting. I’m trying to be proactive. It’s time to make some changes.

It’s time to get off of night shift.

And it’s time to leave the emergency department.

And both of these realizations are killing me.

*****

Right now, I have the perfect ER job. So, admitting that I can no longer physically handle working night shift or thinking that I have reached the end of my career in emergency nursing feels like failure.

But, I need to take care of myself, right?

So it’s time to be proactive and take the next step, right?

Time to take a breath, take stock of my skills, brush up that CV/resume and go forward! After all, I have 32 years of strong nursing experience behind me (including a stint as a shift charge nurse), that wonderful BSN I’m so proud of (and an MSN program pending), stunning communication skills (if I say so myself) and gosh darn it, anyone would be lucky to have me!

Yes?

Uh, no.

*****

I applied for jobs outside of acute care.

You know how new grads can’t find jobs because they all want experience, but they can’t get experience because they can’t get jobs?

Now I know how they feel.

I’m looking into working in case management. I’m smart, got the skills. Communication, check. Verbal, check. Written, check. Organized? Check. Able to priortize? Check. Self-starter? Check. Experience with acute care? Check.

Experience with utilization review, case management, managed care?

<crickets>

So I send in my resume anyway, along with a cover letter explaining my interest in case management, my skills and background and how they will translate over into this new (to me) field

No response. From anyone.

One company in particular looked absolutely fantastic. I’m talking perfection. As in “Kim, this was MADE FOR YOU!” I sent in my application. Followed it up with a cover letter directly to the manager of the Human Resources department.

No response. Followed it up with a follow up letter. No response.

Lather, rinse and repeat to three other employers.

<crickets>

And for the record? All those positions are still posted.

*****

Now, I’m not saying that everyone should hire me. But what I am saying is that (a) there is no chance of making a first impression anymore and (b) where is the courtesy of at least making some contact with the applicant?

You can’t sell yourself anymore. There is no sitting with a manager or recruiter and discussing the job and what you may bring to it. You are just a screen on someone’s computer and if you don’t meet pre-determined criteria you are deleted. Without even the courtesy of a “thank you for applying, but…”

I’d make a hell of a case manager.

Right now, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get a chance to prove it.

*****

Actually, one company did send a response. A form letter.

I applied for Charge Nurse in an ambulatory care clinic (dermatology) , at a company where clients “Thrive”. Got a form email that said I didn’t meet the minimum requirements. Well, the description said “willing to train” so I’m not sure what minimum requirement I missed.

I’ll never know because no one ever contacted me in person.

I’ve spent the last 32 years saving lives, but for some reason, they thought dermatology was more than I could handle.

Those must be some rashes!

*****

Oh, by the way, after I posted that resume on Monster.com?

I was inundated with offers…

From nursing recruiters all over the country…

Looking for ER nurses.

How ironic.

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15 Comments

  • motherjonesrn
    motherjonesrn

    May 5, 2011 at 11:26 am

    What a kick in the pants. There’s always the army. Seriously. I heard that they just let a 61 year old nurse join. Oh wait, she was an ER nurse. Never mind.


  • Helen
    Helen

    May 5, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Kim,

    There’re classes you can take on case management. Utilization review is not hard. Just need a list of criteria for hospital stay and document how each pt fit under the criteria. If you’re willing to move to soCal, I can hook you up to the right person for a CM position.

    Helen


  • Jennifer B
    Jennifer B

    May 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    As a very close to graduating nurse, I feel your pain. My favorite form letter was the rejection because I “lacked a high school diploma”…apparently the engineering degree, MBA, and near completion of a BSN did not indicate that I had infact graduated from high school.


  • Bridget Sheehan
    Bridget Sheehan

    May 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Kim,
    I just went through the opposite move from Clinical education back to the ER. I feel your pain…most of the Bay Area hospitals have online applications ONLY and you get lost in the “key word resume search.” None of the HR’s have the resources to effectively hire good nurses. I was putting out resumes for 5 months; had to add in my high school grad date as well to show that I’m still a spring chicken and am up to date on my clinical skills. Twas ridiculous. Best way to go is networking. And, of course, taking care of you first! Hang in there, Sistah!
    Bridget (your old St. ER homie)


  • Gina
    Gina

    May 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I hear ya. There was a great palliative care nurse position at my hospital that also screamed “I AM PERFECT FOR GINA, RN” but since I do not actually have palliative care experience, someone else got it.

    I”m a little amazed at how hard it is to change fields in nursing. And dismayed. Good luck.


  • Nurse Teeny
    Nurse Teeny

    May 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Having applied to 166 positions as a new grad, I feel your pain! It’s become so depersonalized at the beginning that there’s no chance to even sell yourself and your skills. You don’t meet the minimum criteria? Too bad. Everyone in my class who got a job out of the gates did so because they had a personal connection to a manager who helped them bypass the HR robots.

    If it makes you feel any better, it’s just as bad in other fields. My fiance is looking for a new job. With 20 years of experience in Marketing you would think he’d have no problems whatsoever. But branch out to a different but related field? Not a chance in hell.


  • RehabRN
    RehabRN

    May 6, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Kim:

    I agree with Helen. Take the UM class (or QM or whatever they’re calling it). There are people looking for ER experience, but the jobs may not get posted.

    Look into case management groups and network. Try anything. I found a networking connection for a student I precepted via Facebook. I’d also recommend LinkedIn, too.

    This article came out the other day and is very interesting. Hope you can check it out.
    http://nursinglink.monster.com/benefits/articles/12339-how-to-get-ahead-in-nursing

    It only took me 13 months to find my first job out of college (I’m a second career RN) and that was pre-internet. It still takes lots of networking.

    Keep at it! Your job is waiting for you somewhere!


  • Michele Roberts
    Michele Roberts

    May 6, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Oh how I can relate to you!!! First of all I am so glad that you have updated your blog – especially since I only found you recently – I thought I had already lost you :(
    I have been experiencing the exact same things – been an ER nurse for 18 years, been on the night shift for 10, and I have come to the realization that I am done as well. Took a per diem job in another ER just to have a source of income, but I resigned my regular (well part time regular) position two days ago.
    I can get all of the interviews that I want when it comes to an ER position, but I can’t seem to even get acknowledged anywhere else – uggh!!
    Keep us posted as to what avenues open for you – and I (again) am so glad you are back!


  • Sean
    Sean

    May 7, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Hang in there Kim, I know that me telling you to be patient won’t help, but I hope you can be patient.
    It will happen. It will.


  • UnsinkableMB
    UnsinkableMB

    May 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Kim,

    I’m with Bridget and RehabRN, NETWORKING is the way to go. As a former recruiter, this is how I used to find most of my candidates.

    LinkedIn is a good place to start, but don’t expect people to come to you. If you know of a job opening somewhere, you can look up who, in your network on LinkedIn, has a contact at that company/hospital. I’ve been contacted on that site by a few assertive new grads.

    There was one individual who intrigued me enough that we actually met for coffee! I was so impressed that I tried to see what strings I could pull to get her an interview at my hospital (unfortunately, she didn’t want the OR). She ended up getting a job offer somewhere else. You bet that I will be keeping her info just in case something comes up in the future!

    Applying online can be very discouraging because if you don’t put in the right words in your resume, the search strings the recruiters put together won’t pull up your resume. I suggest looking at the job descriptions of positions your want and seeing if you can fit some of the same descriptors in your resume.

    Good luck!

    P.S. Feel free to e-mail me if you want more help. ;)


  • Rob
    Rob

    May 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Ever thought about travel nursing>???? ;)


  • shawn Kennedy
    shawn Kennedy

    May 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    There’s always Nascar driving…


  • zoe
    zoe

    May 27, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    You have to have experience doing the exact job to get the job, except… if you work in a hospital that is short staffed. Then a nurse will be REQUIRED to float to an unfamiliar unit working with unfamiliar protocols, unwritten expectations and no orientation. “A nurse is a nurse is a nurse.” Go figure!


  • Brenda
    Brenda

    May 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Uggg, I feel ya. Very frustrating. I would agree with the networking though. It’s not what you know…


  • Micheal Shaw
    Micheal Shaw

    June 7, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Just being qualified for a nursing post is not enough. It’s all about your CV, your appearance, the respect and dedication you show and how you speak at your interview.


About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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