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How to Score in Your Nursing Career

How to Score in Your Nursing Career

Laura Wisniewski RN, BS, CIC

It is official…3 West is closing permanently. During an emergency meeting, the staff was informed that the neurosurgical floor will close at the end of this month. One of the neurosurgeons has retired and the other two are leaving to start a practice in another state. The patient census has been consistently down over the past year…the unit is simply losing money. The floor will be converted to an outpatient physical therapy department. It wasn’t the fault of the staff, manager, physicians or the hospital administration. It was a business decision.

Karen and Mary became fast friends during nursing orientation ten years ago. The two are shopping buddies and their children play on the same soccer team. Karen consoled Mary when her mother died. Mary brought meals to Karen’s house after her husband’s open heart surgery. They have worked holidays together, covered shifts for each other and can be regularly seen chatting in the cafeteria during lunch. They both enjoy working on 3 West. Nurses from other floors envy the unit’s team work and low turnover rate. Their nurse manager is fair, caring, and stands up for the needs of her staff. It is a great place to work.

Karen is a competent hard working nurse. She is always on time to work and has a near perfect attendance record. The physicians respect her, the patients love her, and the other nurses can always count on her to pitch in. She attends every mandatory meeting on the unit and diligently keeps up with all of the requirements of her nursing license.

Mary shares the same work ethic as Karen, as well as a similar reputation with the physicians, her patients and coworkers. In addition, she volunteers on several committees and belongs to her local nursing association. Karen wasn’t interested in joining. When Mary decided to study for the certification exam, Karen thought it was a waste of time and money. “The hospital isn’t paying extra for certifications.” Mary received a similar response from Karen when she asked her to enroll in a bachelor degree program with her and take advantage of the hospital’s tuition reimbursement program. She replied, “Why do I need a bachelor degree? I don’t ever plan on leaving my job here on 3 West.” Although Mary still enjoys shopping and cheering at the soccer games with Karen, she has stopped inviting her to professional development programs or suggesting career management books to her.

Competition is fierce for the handful of remaining nursing positions at Karen and Mary’s hospital. Mary’s resume and portfolio are ready to go and she is confident in her interviewing skills. Because of her committee work and association membership she has already developed relationships with many of the nurse managers at the hospital. Karen doesn’t know where to begin. If you were a nurse manager and Karen and Mary’s personnel folders were open on the desk in front of you, who would you hire?

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