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Learn from Industry Leaders How to Kick-Start Your Nursing Career

June 2013

Attention all student nurses and new nurses – are you interested in learning how to expand your network, prep for interviews or gain valuable experience in nursing? Or maybe you want to know what to expect during your first year as a nurse. We are inviting student nurses and nurses with less than five years of nursing experience to share your fundamental questions with us on the Nursing Notes by Johnson & Johnson Facebook Page and on Twitter @JNJNursingNotes. Each month, we will pick a few questions to highlight in this section with responses provided by seasoned nurses!

Q. What was your biggest challenge in transitioning from student to practicing nurse, and what can students do to help prepare for the transition?

A. For me, it was the sudden sense of responsibility. I went into nursing in a rural community right out of college and was the only geriatric nursing assistant working nights!

If students can get experience in a rural area – even if they aren’t necessarily interested in working in one – you will learn many advantageous skills that will help you transition into your career. Nurses in rural communities wear many hats and become expert generalists, and the experience can help you prepare for the real world no matter what your specialty may be. Learning to tackle the broad before moving to the specific can really help you in the long run.

-Pamela Fahs, RN, DSN, president of the Rural Nurse Organization, and professor and Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Endowed Chair of Rural Health Nursing at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. Fahs has been a nurse for 35 years.

Q. What can a recent graduate with little work experience do to stand out in a job interview?

Interviews are an opportunity to showcase yourself, so you should go to an interview prepared with something that you think is unique and important to share. For example, if you are a recent graduate who has volunteered, it’s important to talk about those experiences in an interview. Anything that shows that your focus was not just on your education and schooling, but that you also took the time to volunteer and give back to those in need – that will show that you do care and do want to give beyond the job itself.

Q. What advice can you give to new nurses on how to better maintain a work-life balance?

It’s important to find what you love to do. There are still going to be bad days and days that are very hectic but finding what you love to do and sticking with it will help with that balance. Also, you should always have time in your schedule that is reserved for YOU, whether that is going to the gym, taking a daily walk or run, or taking a week-long vacation.

-Audrey Snyder, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor of nursing and researcher at the Rural Health Care Research Center at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virg. Snyder has been a nurse for 29 years.

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