Networking is an activity that most of us do every day without even realizing it. We meet new friends at work, are introduced to friends of friends, and chat with our neighbors. In a very short space of time, we have established a network of people around us. When it comes to contacts that can help us find employment after a period of training, the same principle applies. For student nurses, establishing a network and developing it with the end goal of finding a graduate job is especially useful. The process can start at the earliest stages of a course, when trainees are first introduced and begin to get to know one another.
Networking is all about nurturing relationships, and this is part of the natural process of getting to know a cohort group. Nurses share information with their fellow students, ask for their advice, and form bonds that will become alumni networks when the year group graduates. This is true of both initial nurse training and when experienced nurses return to education to follow a more advanced career path. Professional development is part of being a health practitioner, but lengthy in-person training can be difficult for nurses who are already juggling a full-time job with a family life and other commitments. This is why universities such as American International College have developed quality courses that offer remote learning and local rotations.
For registered nurses who are hoping to become family nurse practitioners (FNPs), American International College’s online msn fnp program provides a flexible schedule of online study, with clinical placements close to each student’s home. As well as qualifying to be an FNP within three years, graduates have the opportunity to network with other medical professionals in a nearby facility. By maintaining the connections, they make during their placement, new FNPs can find out about new job openings in that facility when they are in a position to look for their first role.
Student nurses should consider the time they put into building a network of professional associates as an investment in their career. By linking up with colleagues in their place of work or study, as well as outside of their specialism, nurses are establishing a support network. Moreover, they are actively creating opportunities for future professional growth.
Why do recruiters hire through networking?
Aside from promoting healthcare workers internally, recommendations from an experienced clinician who has worked with a candidate are often seen as the most reliable hiring strategy. Recruiters already know the person who is recommending a nurse and are likely to trust their judgment. Moreover, they can get in touch through a quick phone call or email, as there are no agencies or intermediaries to get in the way. A quick hire also saves time, because the recruiter can bypass tasks such as writing a job description, arranging interviews and then selecting a client.
How can online student nurses benefit from networking?
Online degrees open doors for medical professionals, and in part this is because graduates have had the chance to speak with many key people during their course, from the experienced clinicians who were their instructors, to their fellow students, and the team they worked alongside during their rotations. By networking with as many people as possible, they have a chance to research the job market and find out when opportunities might arise. Not every job that becomes available in a medical facility is advertised, but nurses with contacts can find out about these roles in advance and gain personal recommendations that give them a head start. Aside from providing practical assistance with finding a graduate role, a solid network can be useful to job-hunting nurses in other ways.
A broad knowledge of healthcare will impress employers
Alliances expose nurses to fresh ideas, and this ensures that they keep up with the latest developments in healthcare. It’s not just about connecting with people who have the same beliefs, because getting new perspectives on key topics is useful in an interview situation. People with a broad network will be able to converse about innovations in the medical field and demonstrate their objective understanding of even the most emotive topics. This shows a potential employer that they are a well-rounded and informed individual who is capable of seeing other people’s points of view.
Meeting future employers at career fairs
Most states have several career fairs for medical professionals annually and the shortage of healthcare workers means that they are well-attended by employers. These fairs are great opportunities for networking with all kinds of recruiters, even those who are currently not offering the role that a graduate hopes to get. By arriving early, talking to as many people as possible, handing out their resume and collecting information, nurses can make the most of the event. Recruiters are often looking for people with enthusiasm and drive, as well as a genuine interest in their organization. Graduates should do their networking homework before the fair so that they know a little about the healthcare organizations that are attending and can make a favorable impression.
Learning about job opportunities in advance
Some people in a nurse’s network will be more experienced than others. They may have been in the profession for many years and hold a senior position. Therefore, they can provide useful advice when it comes to applying for a role, and also attending the interview and impressing the people present. From tips on personal qualities that the facility will value, to managing a panel interview and more, expert guidance can make graduate nurses feel less apprehensive about the process.
Support from a network can be a confidence booster
Searching for a graduate job may be challenging, but for nurses with a network, the support of colleagues can be invaluable. Many have gone through the same extensive training and long shifts, so they can provide a listening ear and useful advice when it comes to staying positive. Having people to talk with who understand, sharing experiences of looking for the right job, and receiving encouragement can be a huge confidence booster.