Nursing school is over, you passed the NCLEX-RN exam and received your state nursing license, and now it is time to find a job. Finding the ideal nursing job can be difficult, but being prepared to answer interview questions and providing strong references can make you the preferred candidate.
First-Time Nursing Job References
When applying for your first nursing position, you will need to use your professors, clinical instructors or prior or current boss for your references. If you are currently working as a nurse’s aide or volunteering, your supervisor will be able to speak about your commitment, attendance, and work ethic. You professors and clinical instructors can provide a different view, focusing on your learning abilities, teamwork, and commitment. Be sure to ask your potential references first if they are willing to speak or write on your behalf. If they hesitate, ask someone else. You want strong references in a timely manner. Be sure to ask your references for the best way for potential employers to contact them, as this will allow for a quicker review period and increase your chances of being chosen for a desired position.
References for Future Positions
Once you have been working as a nurse, your future references should include a manager, educator, or clinical nurse specialist who worked directly with you within the past few years. Employers want current information from someone in a supervisory or educational role. Do not use a fellow nurse who is at the same level as you are, as they will not be able to provide the required information. They need to be able to speak about your assets, attendance, teamwork, and areas where you sill need more development.
Again, be sure the person is aware that they will be receiving a request for a reference. I provide many references as the clinical nurse specialist of my current unit both for graduate school and new positions. I always ask the nurse to provide me with their resume and a list of accomplishments and committee participation. I prefer to make a reference very individualized, as it speaks to my knowledge of nurse’s abilities and potential assets. The more information the nurse provides me with, the better the reference will be. Remember to speak up so that you receive the recognition you deserve and increase your chance of landing your next job.