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Career Coach

Clinicals and Your First Job

Published October 17, 2012 4:11 PM by Renee Dahring

I was recently speaking with a group of students who will be graduating this year about their current clinical rotations and how things are going. Many of the students had been at at least one of their clinical sites since beginning their programs and were now feeling quite comfortable. Some students even stated that a nurse or two had asked if they would be staying after graduation. "So, would you like to work there?" I asked. "Oh yes, I love it there!" was the overwhelming response. Naturally, I asked if they had made any inquiries or taken any steps to pursue future employment at their clinical locations.

They looked at each other, looked at me and after a few seconds of silence they admitted to feeling uncomfortable broaching the subject of potential employment at their clinical sites. They shared that they felt some hesitation because they were worried that asking about future work might be viewed as overstepping boundaries or considered to be too "pushy" or "forward." 

Let's talk about that perception. 

Networking is still the number one way that NPs and PAs find jobs. I can't say or stress that often enough. This is especially true for the coveted family practice and primary care positions. It's as true for the new grad as it is for the seasoned clinician: Employers like to hire individuals that have some connection to their current employees. 

In this day and age when the scope of what a former employer or colleague is allowed to disclose when giving references is limited by law, many employers don't feel entirely comfortable depending primarily on "outside" recommendations.  In other words, a reference or referral from a trusted employee, who values the organization and with whom the employer knows well, is worth its weight in gold. I mean, would you stick your neck out to recommend someone to your boss if you weren't completely sure about the skills and character of that clinician? Not if you value your job!

What does this mean? It means that your clinical host would more than likely welcome your statement of interest in their clinic. It's not pushy to express interest or inquire about job opportunities. It's actually rather flattering if you think about it. Now, I am not saying you have to ask on a daily basis, but it's ok to state your interest and ask if you can submit your resume. 

Bottom line: Don't sit around waiting to be asked to apply. Be proactive and make the most of the connections you are establishing during your clinical rotations. After you graduate, these will ultimately be the connections that will matter.

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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