The first year of nursing school is a learning experience, both at the classroom and nursing station. You may be new to the profession or practicing under a different name, but your journey to becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) will always begin with the same steps: pre- Nursing School Checklist studying, teaching patients, and finalizing your application to nursing school. Your classmates and professors expect you to have put in the work during the summer months to prepare for class. But with so many entry-level jobs available right out of school, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Here are some helpful tips for making the most of your first year of nursing school
Plan your steps ahead of time
If you’ve been in school for a while, you may have found yourself in the position where you have to make a choice between a full-time job and your schoolwork. You aren’t quite ready to make that final decision yet, so it’s important to have a plan for how you’re going to choose which career path is right for you. Before you start making rash decisions, consider the impact your choice will have on your schoolwork. Remember: It’s not about the number of hours you put in, it’s about the quality of that work. If you have a tendency to get overwhelmed by your workload, try creating a plan that includes taking a break every so often to make sure you’re staying on top of your game.
Do the necessary research first
No matter which career path you choose, it’s important to do your research before you start applying to jobs. You don’t want to end up with a terrible portfolio or a pile of uninsightful notes because you didn’t do your due diligence. Make time for research before each application, and don’t just settle for anything – quality research will ensure you get exactly what you need from a job application.
Take advantage of available resources
If you’re unsure where to begin looking for entry-level jobs, consider looking into the programs and agencies that employ Registered Nurses (RNs). There are many opportunities to get involved with education and training, and you may find yourself joining a professional organization after you’ve started your job. These resources are a great place to start: Job search engines: a lot of the jobs that are listed as open for RNs are actually open to anyone who shows up for an interview. If you’re not getting any leads, check out sites like necn and Hospitals, nursing home staff, and other healthcare facilities. Registered Nurse (RN) employment agencies: these provide information on available jobs and the specific requirements for the job, as well as links to the jobs themselves. Employer-provided resources: a lot of organizations will have websites where you can look up available jobs, as well as the requirements for each position. You can also ask friends, family, and peers for recommendations.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is one of the most important steps you can take when you’re just starting out in nursing school. Even if you think you’ve done everything right, you may receive constructive criticism that can help you improve. Other students will often provide input as well, and you’ll often learn something new from their experiences. You can also try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and ask them what they think. If you’re applying to a job where you’ll be providing direct patient care, you may want to imagine what it would be like to see a patient in that position. You may also want to ask yourself what you’ve done so far that you think would be beneficial to your classmates, and what you can do to improve.
Help out at school when you can
Before you start looking for a job, it’s a good idea to get involved at your school. You may have ideas for improving your path to nursing school, such as adding more classes or advanced practice hours, or helping out with a project or two. Participate in extracurricular activities, take on some small administrative tasks (i.e., managing a medical record or scheduling a patient), or help with any philanthropic endeavors that your school may have. You’ll be more apt to stick with school and achieve your goals when you have a support system in place. Your school administration will be your best friend while you’re in school, and they can also be a great resource once you’re working toward your degree.
The first year of nursing school is a challenging and rewarding time. You’re going to spend your days learning about human behavior, anatomy, and physiologic functions, and you’re going to experience a lot of change. So, before you start looking for jobs, it’s important to make sure you’re ready. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to the Pipeline to help with your application. You’ll be glad you did.