New Year, new you? It’s time to find a new job or to return to the workforce.
Often nurses who have been disciplined by the Nursing Board are concerned that they’ve run into a Catch-22. That is, that they’ve fallen in a cycle wherein they cannot be released from probation from the Nursing Board until they have worked as a nurse, but they also claim that they can’t find work as a nurse as they are under probation with the Nursing Board.
While finding employment as a nurse (or any medical professional for that matter) is more difficult if you have restrictions on your license or if you are on probation, it is NOT impossible. That is, of course, if you know how to approach today’s job market. This blog post aims to highlight the best tips and tricks for nurses who have restricted licenses or who are under probation to (re)enter the job market.
To start: Did you know that 70-80% of the available jobs are never advertised? So, how do you find a job that you don’t even know exists?
The key is networking.
If you’re sitting at home applying to jobs online and finding that you’re not getting interviews, you are doing it all wrong. You need to reach out to friends, family members, neighbors, former co-workers, and even those who you do not know. Your circle of friends and colleagues should know that you are looking for work.
During your job search, you should...
Have a resumé.
- Outline your education, training, certifications, prior work experience edited and ready to go. Include your current contact information.
- Make sure that it does not include any typos or spacing errors! This is important, as your resumé is your first impression to a potential future employer. If your resumé is sloppy, employers will think that your medical documentation/record keeping will be sloppy.
- Include all prior employment. Even if you left a job under less than favorable terms, include it on your resumé. You can discuss in an interview that things did not go well there and that they will not give you a positive review, but explain what you learned and how you have changed from the experience.
Update your LinkedIn account.
- Consider paying for the upgraded “LinkedIn Premium” account that allows you to have access to more job opportunities, job market statistics, and messaging capabilities through the platform.
- Let friends, family members, and former co-workers know that you’re looking for work and the type of work that you are best suited to do. You never know who is hiring!
Meet new professionals in your field.
- Ask for 15 minutes of their time to meet for coffee or at their office. While they may not have a job, they may know of other opportunities. When meeting with one contact, make sure they give you names of at least two others who they can introduce you to.
- Be bold! Reach out to people in leadership/management positions who you do not even know and ask them to meet with you for 15 minutes. You will be surprised by how many people will meet with you.
Speak to someone in the Human Resources department (if possible).
- If applying for a job, see if you can talk with someone in HR or management after you submit your application. See if a friend or former colleague would be willing to call HR and put in a good word for you.
Create a short list (2-3 people) who you can use as references. Have their names/contact information readily available to provide to a potential employer.
Talk with your monitor at the Nursing Board (if you do have a restricted nursing license) to make sure you understand the scope of the restriction and the types of jobs you can take under the restriction.
- If you can’t work in home health or hospice or in management, discuss with your monitor the types of jobs you can take on.
- Under a restricted license, consider applying for jobs in nursing homes, dialysis centers, doctor’s offices, plasma centers, in a cash only practice (concierge practice), in a drug and alcohol treatment center, in a mental health facility or doing chart reviews for insurance companies. All these types of jobs generally accept nurses who are unable to pass narcotics and do not require the nurse to work in a patient’s home.
Prepare a one minute statement that explains what happened and the changes you have made in your file if you have been out of the workforce or have a restricted license.
- Be honest and accurate but don’t feel like you have to belabor the point. Employers appreciate honesty and transparency.
- If your license is restricted, the employer will see the restriction online, so you should be upfront and explain in your first interview the status of your license.
Lastly, even if you have been out of the practice of nursing for a period of time seeking treatment for alcohol abuse or drug addiction, there are still job opportunities available to you. I was recently interviewed for an article entitled “After opioid addiction, recovering nurse struggles to find a job” in the Washington Post. For more information and similar stories, visit the hyperlink above.