For whatever reason you need to leave traditional nursing, understand that you’re in a unique situation because you’re not changing careers per se. You are expanding on the one you have with little or no information out there to guide you. Nurses who have left the profession, whether it was to do something completely different or to go into careers were nursing was an asset, have not shared their experiences with other nurses in order to offer some advice. At least I have yet to find any. But, all is not lost….there is some interesting info out there. Below is a short and sweet description of three vital steps to get you started on your new career.
First off you must accept the fact that you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life. You are only limited by your thoughts so get your thinking straightened out a bit. You deserve to feel good about yourself and your work. You deserve to come home feeling like you accomplished something. You should never dread or fear going to work. You should never feel invisible, ignored, patronized, bullied, walked on, threatened, exhausted, frustrated, panicked, starvation and/or a bursting bladder because there is no way you could eat or pee. Here’s a list of books and other sources to clear your head and get you in a good frame of mind:
• Book: Self Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay (Author), Patrick Fanning (Author)
• Book: How to Succeed at Being Yourself: Finding the Confidence to Fulfill Your Destiny by Joyce Meyer (Author)
• A Good Article by Michael Lee http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=604693
• Book or DVD: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
• Podcasts. Amazing freebies from experts all over the world. Do a search on iTunes or Yahoo on any subject. You don’t need an MP3 player. Just click on the podcast and it will play through your computer. Here’s a good one as an example: Morgan the Empowermentor
Next step is to figure out what you might be interested in. Easy right? Actually, if you take this important step bite by bite…which is how you eat an elephant… you will find your answer. Here are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself and you will not find the answers in “How to Change Your Career” books:
• What kind of lifestyle do you want?
• Where do you want to live?
• Who do you want to be friends with?
• Do you want to work from home, out of a suitcase, in a small office or big conglomerate?
• How much money would you like to make?
• How much time do you want to spend at work?
There is an amazing amount of options out there for you. Start reading, talking to people in these jobs and maybe even shadow a few. It will give you a clear idea of what your life could be like. Here are a few resources to get you started:
• Article: Spreading Your Wings: Career Alternatives for Nurses by Donna Cardillo RN, BS http://www.dcardillo.com/articles/spreading.html
• Article: Hot Jobs, Emerging Careers by Sally Parker http://www.minoritynurse.com/features/nurse_emp/02-12-04a.html
• 101 Careers in Nursing by Jeanne M., Ph.D. Novotny, Doris T. Lippman, Nicole K. Sanders, Joyce J. Fitzpatrick
• Web site: Quintessential Careers Resources http://www.quintcareers.com/career_exploration.html
• Book: Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron
• Book: The Career Adventure: Your Guide to Personal Assessment, Career Exploration, and Decision Making by Susan M. Johnston
Nurses generally have it pretty easy when it comes to the job hunt. Jobs come to us; we don’t usually have to lift a finger. Besides multiple full color full page spreads in Sunday papers, there’s billboard adverts, radio and TV commercials, mailings, job fairs, generous sign on bonuses, paid relocation expenses and the list goes on. For all my years in nursing, I’ve never had a real interview, had to produce a resume or really make much of an effort to get a job except show that I have a current untarnished nursing license and a pulse. Our non-nursing friends however, have had it a little different and have had lots of practice selling themselves. Now it’s your turn and because you have a high self-esteem and know what you want to do, this step will be just filling in the blanks…right?
Start off by polishing your image. Let’s face it; we wear pajamas to work. Scrubs are great, they are comfy, cheap, don’t need to be ironed or dry cleaned but you wouldn’t wear them to a job interview. Invest in some business attire and treat yourself to a new hair cut. You deserve it anyway. If you’ve got the cash, call on an image consultant. They can help you find a look that not only suits you but also comfortable and easy to live with.
Write a winning resume and cover letter…piece of cake. There are thousands of books, articles and businesses out there specifically aimed at creating the perfect resume. It is what your future employer will see first and what will be the impression you leave on them. Since most nurses never had to create such a monster, it is all new ground. Remember; don’t cheat yourself by copying a template. You are unique and have plenty to offer. Use templates as a guide only.
Go on a few interviews. Start off with jobs you’re not that interested in and/or don’t qualify for. Interviews are great practice. You will learn this art of selling and communication only by practice. If you develop a good relationship with the interviewer despite not getting the job, ask what you could do to improve your image. What can it hurt? Here are a few sources to lend you a hand:
• Book: Resume Magic: Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer by Susan Britton Whitcomb
• Book: Cover Letter Magic: Trade Secrets of Professional Resume Writers by Wendy S. Enelow and Louise Kursmark
• Book: Resumes For Dummies (Resumes for Dummies) by Joyce Lain Kennedy
• Web site: How to write a resume and cover letter by JobStar Central
• Web site: Resume help by Resume Resource
• Association: Association of Image Consultants International http://www.aici.org
• Web site: Job interview advice http://www.jobinterviewquestions.org/
• Book: Competency-Based Interviews: Master the Tough New Interview Style And Give Them the Answers That Will Win You the Job by Robin Kessler