New Nurse Graduates / How to Get Experience
Getting relevant experience before you officially enter the nursing field is a priority for many once they decide nursing is the career for them. However, it’s usually a bit of a challenge getting nursing experience while being a student. Whether you are still in high school or already in nursing school, here are some ways to gain some experience in nursing.
Spend some time volunteering
Most likely, your local hospitals and clinics offer volunteering opportunities that would count as relevant experience within the nursing field. Each hospital has different requirements, but a few standard ones include being at least 16 years old to volunteer and disclosing any criminal records.
If you are interested in volunteering at a local hospital, you can have the opportunity to work in a department you interested in. Most hospitals have roles that vary from helping the hospital staff, helping patients, and administrative tasks. As a volunteer, you recieve training, documented experience, and is a great networking opportunity.
Look into linear positions
Going to school and getting a degree is a large and costly commitment. So, it’s no surprise that many potential nurses look into other positions that involve working directly with registered nurses. This helps ensure that nursing is something they see themselves doing. Here are some roles that have similar duties as registered nurses, but have an easier barrier of entry.
Many nurses have started out as a CNA. Starting out as a CNA gives you an excellent foundation to prepare you for nursing. Not to mention, working as a CNA is a great way to get your foot in the door. Since many hospitals tend to promote from within sooner than hiring out, especially in entry level positions. With programs that range from 6-12 weeks, it’s a great option for those looking for a faster way to transition.
To become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) requires about 1-1.5 years of education and training, compared to the 3-4 year average of becoming a certified RN. Although LPNs/LVNs report directly to RNs, they share the same responsibilities as both CNAs and RNs. However, RNs are able to execute more delegating tasks than LVNs or LPNs such as administering patient medication, Supervising LPNs and CNAs and more.
If you have any work experience from prior jobs, chances are you have transferable soft skills for the nursing role you’re interested in. There are also some densely populated metropolitan areas that are a bit harder to get a job in without experience. Oftentimes, it’s advised for new nurses to follow where the demand is for their first couple of years. Then, they will have enough experience to be able to find a position in higher coveted areas and specialties.