Yes, we can! (find a job, that is!)

Interviewurrent economic conditions have created a tight job market for nurses in many parts of the country. It may be true that hospitals are closing, older nurses are delaying retirement and those nurses who are employed are reluctant to look for new positions and are skittish about relocating.  But, by all accounts, the healthcare industry remains the place to be for the long term, and nursing is a profession that offers virtually limitless employment possibilities.

What’s more, jobs doexist for nurses at all levels of experience and in all specialties in the current market. Nurses, however, may just have to look in new places for employment and be more proactive with the job-search process.


Mailing out resumes and submitting online applications just isn’t enough—ask any nurse who is currently relying on this method of job search. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to explore options, make connections, and find and get a job:

  1. Networking. This is your best source. Word of mouth is well known to uncover unadvertised jobs and lead to introductions and referrals. Get out regularly to career fairs, facility open-house events and professional association meetings, as well as nursing conferences and conventions. Get on the phone, too, and get in touch with everyone you know, both in and out of healthcare. Let them know you’re looking and ask for their help.
  2. Agencies. There are healthcare temp agencies, nursing staffing agencies and regular employment agencies that offer job opportunities for nurses. Certain nursing agencies offer nontraditional options and, in some cases, even training for high-demand specialties such as case management.
  3. Informational interviewing. This is where you talk to someone currently doing the thing you want to do, or someone working in an industry you’d like to learn more about, enabling you to gather information on their background and the company/specialty. This helps you get the inside scoop on trends, issues, opportunities, etc., and can lead to job opportunities.
  4. Professional recruitment firms. If you’re looking for something beyond the traditional bedside position, this may be a good way to go. Also known as “headhunters,” these folks find qualified applicants to send on interviews with their primary clients who have job openings.
  5. Volunteering. This is a great way to get your foot in the door somewhere. It’s also the smart thing to do while unemployed and “looking.” And volunteering often leads to paid employment. Where to volunteer: a blood bank, clinic, public health office, etc.

, , , , , ,

Donna Cardillo

Donna Wilk Cardillo, RN, MA is the Career Guru for Nurses. She is the Dear Donna columnist for and Nursing Spectrum and NurseWeek magazines. Donna is author of Your 1st Year as a Nurse – Making the Transition From Total Novice to Successful Professional and The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses – Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career . Donna is also creator of Career Alternatives for Nurses® seminars and home study program. Contact Donna at

Post a Comment

You must or register to post a comment.

2 Responses to Yes, we can! (find a job, that is!)

  1. Valerie Henderson

    I agree that this is all great advice. What I might have missed is the subject of how long a nurse has been without work. It seems not matter what specialty, at least 2 years esperience is wanted. I have been out of work for 16 months and I am now told that I should probably take a refresher course. This after being a nurse for 30+ years. So far no one wants to have an “oldie but goodie”, despite my long career of various specialties
    I want to add to your advice, if a nurse is looking for adventure, try travel nursing. However, I must say that one must interveiw the agencies and hospitals. Contracts can be cancelleced with, or without, reasons. They don’t have to tell you why, so anyone who does this. Becareful

  2. This is all great advice. One thing too is just to keep your ears open, it seems like sometimes once you start thinking about something, like a new job, you are suddenly more aware of clues that there may be an opportunity out there, that you may have missed before.