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The New Graduate Job Search

My RA, Andi, recently decided to take a job in a rural part of the US.  It was not an easy decision. She currently lives in New York City, where so many want to live and work.  It is the place where most of my students want to stay working, but it is among one of the 4 hardest markets to try and find a job in the US.  The others include anywhere in California, Denver, Boston, and Philadelphia.  Aside from the excellent nursing schools in those places, they are also top choices for living.  Andi even wanted to work in a public hospital where she could work with under-served populations and practice her Spanish.  With the economic crisis and healthcare reform on hold, however, public hospitals have a hard time hiring.

Andi is a great example of taking an unconventional chance when it comes to the new graduate nurse job search.  By choosing to go to a rural area, she's getting to work in her first choice area: step-down ICU.  She found a wonderful hospital with a culture that is supportive of new graduate nurses and allows them opportunities large university medical centers in US cities do not.  With two to three years of work under her belt, if Andi decides to move back to a major urban area, she'll be able to so with little difficulty.  An experienced nurse is a very marketable person with the pick of places to work.

So what went into her decision?  First, her partner has a flexible career where he can work from wherever he wants.  She's able to move not alone but with someone who can explore the new area with her.  If she didn't have a partner, I'd advise her to find a friend to move there with and work in the same place.  That way, you have a buddy who is going through the same stuff and someone to explore the local region on the weekends you're not working.  The second part was the local market calculus.  New York City has tons of people applying for nursing jobs right now.  At the rural medical center, she's able to gain step-down experience right away, instead of waiting for a random slot in an ICU internship program to open and then competing with 500 other applicants.  The other part was money.  Her salary is quite good for living in a rural area.  She knows she can save enough money so that if someday, she wants to move back to a major urban area for work, she'll easily be able to do that.  Of course, there are drawbacks in terms of a young person's lifestyle and social life, but in the long run, she's making a choice that will put her ahead of the game in her long term career outcomes.

It might seem like forever, but in your early 20s, you can do anything for a few years.  With two to three years of experience under your belt, moving to the next place where you really want to be becomes easy.  Andi is a good example of the new graduate nurse who chooses to be mobile for her career.  Experience is the key factor for advancing into the roles and specialties you want.  If you have the ability to be mobile, find a friend or significant other to come along for the ride and do it!  In the long run, it will pay off in spades.


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