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

October 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 do you look for in nurses who want to work at your retail clinic?

A. First and foremost, we look for nurse practitioners that are passionate about community-based healthcare. They need to be committed to driving quality and safety in care through adherence to evidence-based practice. We also look for clinicians who are comfortable interacting with the public, as the retail clinic nurse has a very visible position. They are on the front lines of accessibility to the people in their communities and need to feel comfortable being there.

-Angela Patterson, MS, FNP-BC, chief nurse practitioner officer at CVS Minute Clinic in Boston, Mass. Patterson has been a nurse for more than 25 years.

Q. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were starting your career?

A. I wish I had known to simply ask the patient “How can I help?” Starting out in my career, I tended to be more task-oriented. I find now that the more time you take to explore the patient’s concerns and expectations, the better the experience is for everyone. At first, it might seem as if doing that will slow you down, but in reality you may find that focusing on the more important issues saves time. At the very least, your patient will know that you care and are willing to explore how they are feeling.

-Cynthia Thygesen, RN, MSN, ENP, FNP-BC, nurse practitioner at NextCare Urgent Care in Waco, Tex. Thygesen has been a nurse for 21 years.

Q. What was your biggest challenge starting out as a nurse?

A. For me, starting out in the profession was tough because I immediately realized that although I had graduated with a nursing degree, I still had a lot to learn and a lot of work to do. I finally grew to appreciate the fact that my learning was really just beginning, but it can pose a challenge for any new nurse. It’s important to know that everything will be OK and you will find your place in the profession!

-Lori Phinney, APRN, BC, family nurse practitioner and clinic practice manager at CVS MinuteClinic in Boston, Mass. Phinney has been a nurse for 11 years.

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