DNPs of Color: A New Community

DNPs of Color: A New Community

When Danielle McCamey DNP, CRNP, ACNP-BC, FCCP, was searching for other nurses of color who were on the same path to a doctorate degree in nursing, she had a tough time. Knowing she couldn’t be the only one seeking a similar camaraderie, McCamey founded DNPs of Color, a nonprofit focused on building the community she was hoping to find.

“When I got my DNP, I was the only Black woman, and I had a different lived experience from my cohort mates,” says McCamey, now DNPs of Color’s president and CEO. “I craved a community.”

In 2016, McCamey approached several professional nursing organizations.  She pitched the idea of an organization focused on building a community of nurses of color who were on the path to earn the DNP, had earned it, or were just beginning to think about getting this advanced degree. No one followed up on the idea, so McCamey took it on as a personal project and started up a DNPs of Color Facebook page hoping to connect with others on her own. “That blew up,” she says. “It was beyond my expectations, and there were so many similar stories.”

As a first-generation student, McCamey’s academic track was new to her family. “There was lots of pressure to succeed and to represent myself for my community, my family, my ancestors,” she says. And she also wanted a sense of validation on her journey, one in which she experienced microaggressions, implicit bias, and racism.

A Lived Experience

McCamey is so passionate about DNPs of Color because of her own history. If not for the encouragement and guidance of Bimbola Akintade PHD, MBA, MHA, CCRN, ACNP-BC, NEA-BC, FAANP, she never would have considered earning a DNP. The two were colleagues (Akintade is a DNPs of Color board member), and McCamey was in her second year as an NP when he suggested she earn a higher degree.

“I had a small voice in my head that I was not capable,” she says, recalling a high school guidance counselor who told her that because she was Black and from a single-parent family, she’d never make it to college. An encouraging track coach changed her mind, and she was accepted to all 20 colleges she applied to (and, yes, she has since informed her old guidance counselor of her successes). Based on her own lived experiences, McCamey says DNPs of Color is dedicated to giving voice to those who have been silent or silenced for so long.

Establishing an Organization

In 2018, McCamey moved DNPs of Color to a nonprofit status because there was nothing else like her organization, and she knew how much it could help other nurses. The first virtual program DNPs of Color held was a virtual commencement and the immediate and enthusiastic feedback was encouraging. “It was about elevating stories of students of color earning their degrees,” she says. “There are so many stories. I never get tired of people saying this organization serves a purpose and ultimately impacts patients and health equity.”

The new focus of the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report puts DNPs of Color in a direct position to support DNP students, diversity, and those in the BIPOC community, says McCamey. Right now, DNPs of Color is a social media-based platform with plans to move into a membership-based format next year. For now, she encourages anyone interested to join DNPs of Color’s private Facebook or LinkedIn groups so they will be alerted to the new strategies in the new year.

Guiding Lights

With three guiding pillars, McCamey says DNPs of Color focuses on networking, mentoring, and advocacy. Within those pillars, nurses are able to connect and learn essential guidance for moving forward in their careers, gaining fellowships, professional development tips, or navigating speaking and teaching engagements. “Many people do not understand the value of networking,” says McCamey because they may have never had mentors who can demonstrate it. “It opens up so many opportunities.”

Mentors, she says, are needed in all aspects of life–personal and professional. When McCamey finally had her DNP in hand, she says she wasn’t quite sure what was expected and what she could do to contribute to her community and give back. It was almost a feeling of “I did this, but now what?”

The advocacy piece of the organization is devoted to serving people of color and those who are historically marginalized or excluded, says McCamey. It’s about nurses doing what they can to make nursing and healthcare more equitable. Nurses with a DNP have a special skill set, she says, as they are well versed in academia and in clinical practice. They know how to create policies that are possible, effective, and nursing- or patient-focused. “For people of color, healthcare outcomes increase when implicit bias decreases,” she says. “Patients want to see people who look like them. If we are there, it promotes diversity.

The DNPs of Color community continues to grow daily, says McCamey. “As an organization, I am expecting that we are going to grow exponentially. And as the push for DEI increases, we will be instrumental in moving that needle forward.”

AMSN Launches DEI Campaign

AMSN Launches DEI Campaign

As the nation continues to grapple with the wide-ranging effects of racism, the nursing industry continues to take steps to address disparities, inequalities, and racism. Last summer, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) ramped up the AMSN DEI Campaign, motivated by the killing of George Floyd.

Terri Hinkley, EdD, MBA, BSN, RN, and chief executive officer  of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB), says Floyd’s killing troubled her deeply, leading her to question if she had done everything she could to make the world as safe and inclusive as possible. Hinkley spoke with the presidents of AMSN and MSNCB and with her family and then wrote, My Reckoning, an op-ed expressing her commitment to actively working to combat racism.

“We then launched a call to end racism and opened it up to our community to join us in committing to doing our parts to end racial injustice,” says Hinkley. “It grew from there to be a full initiative looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion for our patients, our colleagues, and within the AMSN organization.”

While the program helps nurses learn about DEI, it’s also a way for them to build competence, says Hinkley, especially in areas they may not be familiar with or have a deeper understanding of. “We do not understand the norms, practices, and requirements of cultures we did not grow up with or in,” she says. “By focusing on building competency, we are striving to take away the ‘blame and shame’ that often surrounds these issues and discussions. Let us start with the basic principle that everyone wants to be respectful of others and build on that to help them understand and be able to take action to make that happen.”

Results from a survey sent to members in the fall of 2020, only confirmed what Hinkley knew was important and what she noted matches a recent ERCI survey that lands racial and ethnic health disparities at the top of a patient safety concern list.

  • 75% of the nurses that completed the survey reported that they wished to have a better understanding of topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • 92% reported that it is important for their national professional association to take action regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion and lead efforts for its members.
  • 46% reported experiencing harassment or discrimination because of issues of race, class, gender, age, religion, culture, sexuality, or ability.
  • 63% witnessed harassment or discrimination.

DEI work is sometimes uncomfortable, as Hinkley noted, and that’s why it’s important to give nurses the tools to have discussions around difficult topics. “We genuinely believe that we, as nurses, start from a position of caring and compassion,” she says. “We believe that every nurse wants the best possible outcome for their patient, and for their teammates to be respected and supported as an integral part of the team.”

As nurses learn more and become more intentional with their DEI work, they can more effectively advocate for those around them—whether teammates or patients. “DEI isn’t a one and done initiative,” says Hinkley. “It is a journey that will only have its beginning in the first 18 to 24 months. This is a lifelong learning initiative, one that AMSN is embracing and committing to.”

Hinkley says AMSN is committed to making this process inclusive and developed several different activities intended to help nurses be able to identify their own biases, or those within their institutions, and develop solutions to combat them.

Members can participate in a six-module educational certificate program in which the first module (the first module is offered at no cost to members) will focus on why the program is important. The remaining modules will allow deep dives into the areas of greatest discrimination, such as race, sexual orientation and gender identity, disabilities, age, and culture and religion, says Hinkley.

As nurses begin to move through the process and gain a new understanding, Hinkley says stepping back for the big picture is essential. “AMSN wants to build a culture of inquiry, where our nurses can start to question why we do things the way we do, or why I believe the things I believe,” she says. “Is there a different perspective that might shape how I approach a situation, or patient, or problem? Am I intentional in my actions, or am I just doing what I was taught and the way it has always been done? It is all about opening conversations, with yourself and others.”

Gaining competence and new perspectives will transfer into better nursing practice, higher nursing standards, and patient care in very specific ways, she says, including

  • as individual employees who remain competitive and effective in a changing workforce
  • as employees of organizations who will be DEI ambassadors to their organizations after completing the certificate program
  • as members of the largest segment of the healthcare workforce who will increase DEI competence across the healthcare sector
  • as primary providers of patient care in the nation whocan address the inequities in patient care

Hinkley noted that even with a DEI focus, real-life experiences can be uncomfortable. “I would like to share an example I experienced recently,” she says. “Someone I know came out as non-binary, changed their name (I will call them Storm), and their pronouns. Another friend (I will call Alice) was so distressed she would not be able to remember Storm’s pronouns because we have spent a lifetime of only having binary choices: he/him or she/her. ‘They’ sounds odd and feels odd, and we have a lifetime of using ‘they’ for more than one person. That results in dissonance and is incredibly challenging from a cognitive perspective. Alice is doing her best to be supportive and respectful and was so worried that she was going to forget and say the wrong pronoun. I tried to help Alice understand that if it were an honest mistake, Storm would understand, and they would not be offended. I tried to stress that Storm understands that we are all doing our best to be supportive and, in turn, have new things to learn as a result.”

As Hinkley notes, overnight change isn’t expected, but there are things nurses can do to help themselves move forward. “I think it is important to understand that no one expects perfection, they just expect the same respect and value that everyone else is given. What helped me was practicing. I practice using inclusive pronouns at every opportunity. I also challenge myself not to use binary pronouns, but rather to collectively refer to individuals I do not know as ‘they’ until I learn their preferred pronouns. I am not always successful, and just the other day I said ‘he or she’ when referring to a nurse in an example to a point I was making. I was gently corrected to ‘they’ and the conversation continued. Life-long learning is a hallmark of the nursing profession, and we embrace that in every other area of our lives, so why not this one?”

As nurses’ DEI work grows stronger, Hinkley says it will have a pervasive effect on nurses’ work, patient care, and the workplace in general. “Having the opportunity to improve health for all individuals would be the best possible outcome of this initiative and would bring me personal and professional joy,” says Hinkley. “I also feel very strongly about doing my part to contribute to the work environment for all nurses. I am keenly interested in issues regarding the work environment, and the human cost of caring to nurses and healthcare providers. There are so many wonderful aspects to nursing and being in the caring profession, but we do not all have the same experience at work, and I am excited to be able to improve the work experience for all nurses.”

Lisa Pruitt Talks About Critical Care Transport Nursing

Lisa Pruitt Talks About Critical Care Transport Nursing

 Every year, February 18 is designated as Critical Care Transport Nurses Day to bring attention to this nursing specialty. Minority Nurse asked Lisa Pruitt, RN, BSN, C-NPT, and a board member of the Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association about her career in this field, what makes her devoted to her work, and how nurses interested in this field can get started on this career path.

 Please tell me how you found this nursing specialty and why it appealed to you.

I started my nursing career in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).  I knew from the time I was a small child I wanted to be a pediatric nurse. I felt right at home in the setting of critical care. I loved the challenge, the critical thinking, and attention to detail involved. But, most of all the reward of helping these children and their families during quite possibly during the worst times in their lives, is an honor. Some of the nurses I admired most and learned from and aspired to be like, were critical care transport nurses. I was drawn to critical care transport because I wanted to be a part of a team that could give these patients the chance to receive the necessary care they needed. A critical care transport for many of these patients can mean the difference between life and death and to be able to offer that service to a child/family in need is inspiring.

What kind of nursing training did you complete for your current role?

I worked several years in pediatric critical care (PICU) before applying/accepting my first critical care transport position. My training prior to my current role included years of critical care experience in a high acuity PICU and an extensive orientation to pediatric and neonatal transport. This training included several advanced certification classes, simulation, didactic, OR, and other department rotations led by physicians as well as operational, safety, and survival training in each of the three modes of transport (fixed wing, rotor wing, and ambulance).

What makes this nursing path different from other nursing specialties?

The scope of practice and skill set for a critical care transport nurse is much more expansive than other nursing specialties. Being proficient with advanced procedures (endotracheal intubation, central line placement, needle chest decompression), critical thinking and decision making in an autonomous setting is what sets the transport nurse apart from other nursing specialties. We don’t necessarily have a diagnosis when we arrive to transport a patient, and we must rely on our previous experiences and knowledge. We are the eyes and ears for the provider (physician). Ensuring our attention to detail is spot on and anticipating and executing a plan of care is quite different than relying on and carrying out a plan of care already developed (as it is in an inpatient setting).

How do critical care transport nurses adapt to working in such varied environments?

Being adaptable is how I always say critical care nurses “earn their money!” There are no two transport situations ever the same, and often the transport environment can lead to a lot of unplanned situations (unfamiliar diagnosis or illness, unexpected weather, equipment malfunctions, mechanical issues). Contrary to working in a hospital, the transport environment offers less resources—people, hands, equipment, diagnostics, redundancy, etc. Transport nurses are the “MacGyvers” of nursing. You might have a child’s life in your hands, and you and your partner (usually a Paramedic/RT/RN) have to utilize your critical thinking, decision making, and limited resources to adapt to any situation and literally function as a mobile ICU. Often, what we are told en route to a patient is entirely different when we walk through the door and meet our patient, so we have to avoid tunnel vision, change our mind set, and adapt to the new situation we are presented with. This becomes easier as we gain more experiences in our career.

Transport nursing is not black and white; it’s all very gray, and you quickly learn if this career is suited for you!

How has COVID-19 impacted your work?

How hasn’t it?! It seems everything has changed—process, procedures, and (what used to be) routines. The stress and burden of COVID-19 has affected everyone at some level both personally and professionally. That in itself has weighed heavily on many of us. In an already stressful environment, COVID-19 has added another layer of complexity to the mix. With, we are reusing what used to be one-time-use masks. We are making the difficult decisions about whether or not we should or can bring the parent with us. [We ask] where do these patients go? Do we have the right supplies (and what are those?) to protect us, the health care providers, from COVID-19. And what about our own family members who are battling COIVD-19 and/or lost their battle to COVID-19, but we still put ourselves on the front line? How are we caring for ourselves?

Transport nurses are a certain type of person. They tend to carry a lot of weight on their shoulders. So when does that weight cause us to fall? Not for a long time, but when it does, it can be devastating. We are really good at taking care of everyone else, but not ourselves. I have seen the weight/burden/stress of COVID-19 firsthand unfortunately be the cause of that fall. With all this change, I do believe whole heartedly, we will come out of this closer to our partners/colleagues, and be stronger and more resilient. I believe some the processes that have been instituted since COVID-19 will actually continue in our practice, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Our infection control practices are on point! And that will continue to benefit all patients and ourselves as health care providers. A lot of good has and will continue to emerge.

What kind of patient interaction tips could you share, especially given the added layer of moving patients from one area to the next? 

Communication is key! Making sure our patients and families always know what is going on and what our plan is can offer a patient and/or family the reassurance they need to move forward on possibly the worst day of their life. I also believe strongly (as long as safety is never compromised) that bringing a parent or loved one along on the transport is so important. We can’t ever make promises that an outcome will be what they always want, but I ALWAYS make one promise to every single patient I transport: I will always do my best and I will promise to take care of their baby/child the exact same way I would take care of my own.

If nurses are considering moving into a critical care transport nursing path, what would you like them to know?

Transport nursing is the BEST! When you get jet fuel in your blood, it never goes away! If transport nursing is something one is interested in exploring, then do a ride along. Most transport teams offer a comprehensive ride-along program to potential transport nurses. See firsthand if you could see yourself doing it. It is not a career for everyone, but if it is, then go for it!  Establish a strong foundation of critical care nursing experience in an ED or ICU. Take every opportunity to advance your education and skill set. Join professional organizations like ASTNA and network with transport professionals, read transport scholarly articles like those published in the Air Medical Journal, and ask questions. Words of wisdom from my six-year-old daughter London, “Picture it. Do it. Never Give Up.”

Get the Most from a Virtual Conference

Get the Most from a Virtual Conference

Conferences have moved to a virtual format and will likely remain that way for a while. Traveling to and spending days at conferences in rooms and events full of people might be one of the last “return-to-normal” business practices we see.

But professional nurses still need the education, networking, and exposure to new ideas that make conferences so valuable. You can still gain a lot from a virtual conference, but it takes some preparation and a new set of expectations.

  1. Understand the Platform

Virtual conferences will use some of the most state-of-the-art platforms to help attendees form and keep the personal connections that make conference learning and networking so easy. Download any needed software ahead of time and then spend some time exploring the conference’s site so you’re able to confidently move from an event to a working group to a panel discussion.

  1. Pay Attention to Your Own Surroundings

You might be home, but a conference is no time to look like it. Wear business-appropriate clothes that you would wear to a typical conference. It’s better to be a little over dressed than to look too casual. If you find other attendees are dressing down, you can always change if that would make you more comfortable (and that’s one of the positive aspects of attending a conference from home). Be aware of your surroundings, too. It’s not always easy to find a well-lit, quiet, neutral background space when you’re in your house (one of the negative aspects of attending a conference from home). Look for a plain wall or one with just a few items on it or find a neutral virtual background. Use headphone to reduce noise distractions. Don’t eat while you’re on video.

  1. Be Prepared

Before you sit down, make sure you have all the supplies you would need at a traditional conference. Just like taking an online class, have your laptop or pens and paper ready for note taking and try to limit distractions as much as possible. And because business card swapping is less likely to happen, practice a good elevator pitch—you’ll need it. Have a brief summary of who you are, your professional role, one or two personal points to discuss, your organization and how it relates to the industry and this conference, and what you’re hoping to get from the conference. You’ll use these pieces of your elevator pitch throughout the conference as you talk with others in breakout sessions or in networking sessions. Practice ahead of time as you would for an in-person event so your delivery is polished and succinct—you need to leave time for others to talk. Then prepare a few questions so you can ask people about themselves. Others might not be as prepared, so asking about them makes the virtual interaction less awkward.

  1. Participate

Ask questions, attend as many breakout sessions as you can, connect with others through the conference’s social media channels, and offer your insight. You might not be attending in person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be fully present. Really listen to the speakers and get as much out of the virtual conference as you can. It’s likely that sessions will be recorded, so take advantage of that bonus to attend all the sessions relevant to your goals. Talk to other attendees through any additional platforms—you’ll find Slack is used by many—so you can participate and also tune into the top-of-mind topics others are asking about or discussing.

  1. Follow Up

After the conference, follow up with people you met and want to keep in touch with. Virtual conferences will become more common, but there will be a time when you might get to meet these new connections in person. You want to make a good impression and build on the strength of your initial meeting—just like when you meet someone face-to-face. Other nursing professionals are navigating uncharted waters right now and are looking to share and gain information on how to proceed. They want to know how the pandemic has impacted nurses, patient care, the nursing industry and the larger healthcare industry, and how they can make improvements.  And with virtual settings being the current norm, you’ll be able to meet up again without having to wait until the next conference.

A virtual conference isn’t the same as in-person and can lack the buzz of excitement and potential so many attendees enjoy at a traditional conference. But there are big benefits to virtual events, and they offer opportunities that in-person events don’t. Instead of thinking of a virtual conference as a second choice, think of a few opportunities you’ll have thanks to this new format. That change of perspective gives you a head start on enjoying this new experience.

National Black Nurses Association Announces Launch of Two Groundbreaking Campaigns: ‘RETHINK’ and ‘RE:SET’

National Black Nurses Association Announces Launch of Two Groundbreaking Campaigns: ‘RETHINK’ and ‘RE:SET’

NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) is excited to announce the launch of two new major campaigns for its members under its new wellness initiative, NBNA Resilient Nurse Resource™. RETHINK, launched yesterday, was created to build awareness around the importance of vaccinations, with a focus on influenza and pneumococcal. The goal of RETHINK is to debunk common myths surrounding vaccines and to inform Black nurses and the Black community on the benefits of vaccinations. The website features an interactive ‘Test Your Flu IQ’ quiz to test participants knowledge and understanding on the flu and vaccines. There is also a flu and pneumococcal vaccination locator to assist with identifying providers in nearby serving areas. Anyone interested in learning more about vaccines can visit www.nbnaRETHINK.com.

On December 15, 2020, the NBNA will also launch its mental wellness campaign, RE:SET. This new initiative offers members FREE counseling services, education webinars, wellness podcasts and more, to aid them in maintaining their mental wellness throughout the current COVID-19 crisis. The free counseling services are only available for existing and new NBNA members, and their families.

Unfortunately, there is a stigma in the Black community surrounding mental health. This, in addition to the lack of providers from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds and culturally competent providers, contributes to only one-in-three African Americans receiving mental health treatment.

To provide the best patient care, nurses must be able to reset and recharge from the daily pressures and renew their resilience and strength. Creating tools for renewal and increased resilience is especially important as nurses have a high prevalence of anxiety and depression. With this comprehensive resource, NBNA members will receive holistic tools and resources designed to give nurses the boost they need to promote mental wellness and wellbeing.

“We know how difficult this year has been for nurses everywhere, especially Black nurses who are faced with both the pandemic and the current racial uprising,” states Dr. Martha A. Dawson, NBNA President. “It is crucial that we protect our nurses’ physical and mental wellbeing during such an unprecedented time in our country. With RE:SET we are able to provide them with the tools necessary to recover from the daily stresses of exhausting working conditions and challenges. It is essentially PPE for their mental and emotional health, which will help to impact their physical health.”

RE:SET provides NBNA members and their families with easily accessible options for mental wellness – including:

  • RE:SET Support Line: Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, members who need in-the-moment support, are connected with licensed clinicians for no-cost, confidential guidance and resources.
  • Free, Confidential Counseling: The RE:SET program provides up to five free sessions with experienced and licensed clinicians. This service removes the cost, access and privacy hassles of getting professional emotional support when NBNA members face a problem or situation that is difficult to resolve.
  • Text Coach®: Also known as ‘text therapy’ is available to NBNA members via mobile phone or desktop computer to help with non-acute concerns. Licensed clinicians will help nurses and their families boost emotional fitness and wellbeing by exchanging text messages, voice notes, tip sheets, videos and resource links.

To learn more about the RE:SET FREE tools and other resources, visit, www.nbna.org on December 15th.

To become a member of the National Black Nurses Association and to gain access to the FREE counseling services, visit www.nbna.org.

About National Black Nurses Association (NBNA)
Founded in 1971, the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) is a professional organization representing 308,000 African American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, and nursing students in 108 chapters and 34 states. The NBNA mission is “to serve as the voice for Black nurses and diverse populations ensuring equal access to professional development, promoting educational opportunities and improving health.” NBNA chapters offer voluntary hours providing health education and screenings to community residents in collaboration with community-based partners, including faith-based organizations, civic, fraternal, hospitals, and schools of nursing. For more information, visit nbna.org. #NBNAResilient

Contact
Marcy Polanco
202.885.5527
[email protected]

Shemika Harmitt
202.885.5527
[email protected]

Keisha Ricks
NBNA Marketing and Communications Manager
443-790-0156
[email protected]

Job Search: What to Know Before You Begin

Job Search: What to Know Before You Begin

Embarking on a job search is often an exciting, and yet exhausting process. Beginning a new role, especially one that matches your professional and personal goals, reminds you of why you started a career in nursing and can restart your passion for what you do.

But a job search takes a lot of work, so some preparation before you begin will save you time and will help you find a good match for your skills and your own needs (a higher salary, a shorter commute, a new location).

Minority Nurse recently caught up with Anne Jessie, DNP, RN, and president-elect of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN), for some tips for nurses who are thinking of making the big move and starting a job search.

Q: Should nurses do any kind of self-evaluation or career evaluation before they begin a job search?

A: Yes. Self-reflection is always helpful. It is important to spend time thinking about why you think a job change may be needed or desired. Are you stuck in a place without opportunity? Is the company you currently work for unstable? Is there an unanticipated career opportunity that is too good to pass up? Once you determine your motivation for doing a job search, ranking the following areas in order of importance can be helpful in narrowing your search.

  • Company culture
  • New level of responsibility
  • Opportunity for growth within the new company or new job role
  • Pay and benefits
  • Company stability

 

Q: What is the best way to get organized and think about a job search?

A:  Ask yourself what you have enjoyed doing most throughout your career, what you’d prefer never to do again, and what areas of career growth opportunities you may have identified. This self-exploration should help you to picture your ideal role more clearly.

  • Browse job postings for the different types of roles that align with your identified career goals. Are the responsibilities described in the postings appealing and do you meet most of the qualifications?
  • Edit your resume so that prospective employers will understand what type of position you are seeking and how your experience aligns. You may need to edit the content depending on the job you are seeking. Highlight accomplishments and experiences that are most transferrable, listing the most recent and pertinent to the posting at the top of your resume.
  • Create a one-page cover letter template that identifies the position you are applying for and clearly demonstrates that you have done research on the company–for example, mention a recent company accomplishment or news story. This template can easily be customized to each job role you apply for. Address the letter to the hiring manager, recruiter, or human resource representative at the company.
  • Identify 3-5 people to be your references and ask them if they would be willing to speak to your skills. Consider present colleagues, professors, or supervisors.
  • After participating in a job interview, write an amazing thank you note within 24 hours of the interview.

 

Q: What are the best tools to use in a job search and what makes each one distinctive — for instance LinkedIn, networking, job boards, alma maters.

A:  First, consider all your resources: General nurse recruiting websites or agencies, and nursing specialty job boards like AAACN’s Career Center, or those offered by the Organization for Nurse Leaders. Networking is, of course, one of the best ways to find a new position. I’ve heard our AAACN nurses say they found a new job after they joined one of our Special Interest Groups (SIGs), and I see job discussions frequently in our online community. Such new connections can help a nurse discover an area of practice they didn’t know about or had never even considered.

Second, create or optimize your LinkedIn profile. It should be an extension of your resume and cover letter, and should include a professional profile photo and engaging summary that highlights your skills, career achievements, and accomplishments. Also, include volunteer experience as appropriate, as well as education and professional certifications. Maintain your presence by regularly posting and commenting so you appear active and engaged.

Social media can also be a positive platform if used to contribute to conversations regarding timely health care topics. Ensure that you refrain from engaging in conversations that could be considered controversial. Also, make sure your profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms are set to private.

 

Q:  Should recently graduated nurses conduct a job search in a different way from a more experienced nurse? Are there better approaches for nurses in different stages of a career?

A:  While knowledge, skills, and attitudes are important, a positive attitude and ability to communicate flexibility in the acceptance of job assignments is key for the new grad. Content and processes can always be taught, but a positive attitude in an employee can sometimes be hard to find. Take full advantage of job fairs that are organized by your nursing school as well as healthcare systems recruitment events. Employers who offer nurse residency programs as part of orientation and onboarding are committed to hiring new graduates and investing in them as long-term employees.

 

Q:  Is there anything about this time when so many processes are remote, that can impact a job search positively or negatively?

A:   The biggest impact is the uncertainty of the impact from COVID-19 on the job market. Many organizations have suspended hiring and have temporarily furloughed nurses. That said, facilities that offer remote work such as nurse call centers have been vital to providing virtual clinical support to vulnerable populations and have expanded during this unprecedented time in health care.

We’ve seen this trend reflected in a jump in demand for AAACN’s telehealth resources and the networking among our AAACN members who practice telehealth. I think telehealth is going to continue to grow significantly in coming years because its value will remain even when COVID-19 has been tamed.

 

Q:  How can a nurse prepare to use this time as an advantage?

A:  Self-educate and develop skills that support patient engagement, mutual goal setting, and motivational interviewing that promote patient self-care management. AAACN’s Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCTM) resources can assist in developing these skills and competencies. These skills are especially critical when working with patients virtually but can translate to any work environment to ensure improved disease management and quality outcomes.

 

 

 

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