Nursing is my newest passion; everything I do revolves around my life’s aspiration to become a registered nurse. This was not always the case as I once pursued a bachelor’s degree in English and Literature and spent years working for a regional newspaper until a sudden life change sparked an interest in the nursing profession. The years I have under my belt working for a community news publication has taught me a great deal about the power and impact of networking. I’ve learned that, in almost any career path you choose, it’s all about who you know. Making connections and establishing yourself as a credible individual in any field is an essential element to becoming successful.
My piece of advice for nursing students: Don’t wait to graduate–network now and network often.
There are many ways that you can get your name out there and make acquaintances with potential employers, or with people who may have tips on where to find the ideal job you’re looking for. Among the many avenues to network are:
Facebook – it’s not just for social networking; it can aid you in your pursuit for job leads and potential employment opportunities. To begin searching for groups and pages, simply type “nursing” in the search bar, and click on the “Pages” tab. This will result in countless groups and pages by businesses and nonprofits, as well as community groups. “Like” as many of the groups as possible so that your feed is full of news and postings that are of interest to you. If the group is closed, don’t be discouraged; I’ve never been denied a request to join any private page before. Many groups and pages have a list of related pages on the lower left panel under the heading “People Also Like” or “Liked by This Page.” It would be in your best interest to “Like” or subscribe to as many nursing-related topical pages as possible to be informed and up-to-date on the latest news in the nursing world. You can also get great tips about interview opportunities, such as on the RNInterview Tools group page. I have found myself engaging in conversations with experienced RNs and nursing students alike who are all willing and able to share their experiences and advice on becoming successful nurses. This information is priceless and readily available online.
LinkedIn – the professional’s choice social media platform. As someone with an All-Star profile strength status and a considerable list of connections at 3,100+ and counting, I have to say that my experience with LinkedIn has been fairly rewarding. I’ve communicated with thousands of individuals I otherwise never would have met in person. I’ve created professional relationships with people from all walks of life and from a wide variety of industries. I’m also able to follow certain companies and get the latest scoops on job opportunities or company announcements.
Organizations – join nursing student associations. I’m fortunate that my school has a very active nursing student association that encourages students to participate as early as orientation. Membership benefits include in a mentorship program, academic credit for participation, community service opportunities, workshops, and more. If your campus doesn’t have a nursing student association for you, there are state and national ones as well.
At school – there’s nothing better than meeting others face-to-face and starting an authentic relationship with potential employers. I have found that many, if not all, of my professors are full-time employees at major hospitals in the region. Ask individuals on campus who are faculty and/or staff that you come into contact with if you could keep their information as potential referrals. We are in the industry of caring and, in my experience, have had great luck approaching others on this subject. Some students are also employees at local hospitals and health care organizations that can keep their eyes and ears open for job opportunities.
These are just a few examples of great networking opportunities available at your fingertips while you’re in nursing school. Don’t wait until you’ve graduated to start making connections; establish professional relationships now to help you stand out later.
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