Finding Your Dream Nursing Job isn’t as Easy as It Sounds

If you’re a nurse looking for a job, you probably won’t have any trouble finding job postings. While certain locations and certain positions can be more competitive than others, the overall nursing shortage isn’t going away. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of job postings for nurses in most major U.S. cities.

More than just finding work, most nurses are looking for the job that’s the right fit for their professional development as well as their personal life. But how do you go about doing this? At first, you may not have much more than a vague notion of what your dream job looks like.

Job satisfaction is elusive for many nurses, and this starts during the initial job search. How much money do you need to make? How much flexibility do you need in your weekly schedule? How much stress and how many headaches are you willing to endure? What nursing skills are you most interested in using and developing? Most people will solicit advice from friends and colleagues. They recall plans that were sidetracked coming out of nursing school.

Once you have a sense of the type of nursing position that will make for your dream job—or help build your resume for the dream job down the road—then, the real search begins.

  1. Ask Around and See What You Find Out.

More than just doing this in a general sense with friends and colleagues, look at specific locations and their nursing staff to see if you can make a connection of some kind. Does that location and department have a good reputation with the nursing community? Is it known, in contrast, for ruining good nurses? If you’re currently working in a larger hospital setting, you might look about switching jobs in a different department.

  1. Be Prepared to Experience Setbacks and Frustrations.

By the time you filter out the job postings for which you’re either not qualified or not interested, there may be surprisingly few promising options. Unless you have considerable savings and need some time off anyway, then we’d be wary about quitting your current job before you have a new one. At the same time, if you hate the job you have now, you may think about settling for a new position that’s available now rather than wait for a dream job that may never come.

  1. Practice for the Job Interview.

This includes all the standard interview tips—know where to go, read about the company beforehand, dress professionally but comfortable. Basic preparation is essential for managing how nervous you’re going to be. Our big tip is to be prepared for the pivot from personal rapport to professional conduct. For a lot of nursing applicants, the resume speaks for itself and the interview is primarily about seeing how you’d fit with the existing nursing staff. In other words, prepare for the job interview, but don’t feel beholden to that preparation. Wait for the interview to come to you and then respond naturally. You’ll be nervous, but you’ll be fine.

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