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Find Your First Nursing Job

Find Your First Nursing Job

Megan Malugani |

Be Innovative

As a student, Henderson worked with classmates to develop a new occupational therapy program geared toward the homeless population, and she knew she wanted to continue with community work. Although she took some part-time home-health contracts to pay the bills right after she graduated, she knew she didn’t want to do it full-time. “I didn’t think I’d be effective as a healthcare professional if I didn’t like my job,” she says.

Holding out for the right fit was a good strategy for Henderson. She ended up taking the place of another occupational therapist at the Human Rights Initiative who remembered hearing about Henderson’s program for the homeless. Henderson now works with political refugees and people who have been granted asylum by the US government.

Henderson sees clients in the community most days. When she is in the office, she’s surrounded by attorneys. “I’m the only medical professional in a law office. It’s unique,” she says. Henderson advises other health professionals to consider such alternative paths. “Just find the nontraditional stuff and sell yourself. It’s the easiest way to get a job. You’re not fighting anyone else for a job, rather creating one.”

Weigh Your Options Carefully

If you’re lucky enough to have a healthcare degree currently in high demand — like pharmacy or nursing — you’re likely to receive multiple job offers. Be sure to weigh the decision carefully, and don’t be blinded by big money, says Michael Dietrich, PharmD, assistant professor for pharmacy practice at Midwestern University College of Pharmacy in Glendale, Arizona.

“My advice to students is to keep an open mind,” Dietrich says. Unless the offered is significantly below market level, “I tell students that they need to remove money from the equation and figure out what is going to make them happy as a professional,” he says.

To ensure you’re choosing a good fit, Dietrich suggests you ask yourself, “Will I be happy here?” and “Can I do what I want in this system and succeed?” before “How much will I be making?” and “Will I be able to buy that car and house now?”

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