4 tips to help nurses land their dream position

Bari Faye Dean

Nurses who are considering a career move — whether due to nursing-patient-ratios, burnout or even that they’ve found that bedside nursing is not bringing them the joy it once did — have options other than leaving the profession entirely.

There are many opportunities for trained nurses to pivot, but the path may seem both unclear and overwhelming, regardless of whether a nurse might have years of experience or is new and discovered the reality of nursing does not meet one’s expectations.

“The biggest mistake a nurse can make is to rush into another position that they truly do not want and does not fit their current lifestyle. Many nurses spray out applications and pray they will just land any job. This is the worst thing to do,” nurse career coach Farah Laurent, MSN, RN, told Becker’s. “This is especially true if you are running away from a toxic work environment or a toxic boss. Nurses must be strategic when it comes to planning their career and their next money move.”

A nurse doesn’t have to leave the hospital they currently work for in order to make a move, Ms. Laurent said. She recommends considering all opportunities, from changing departments, obtaining training in a specialty area or looking to take on a leadership role that allows one to change perspective on hospital healthcare.

1. Focus on mindset. It is important for nurses to know where they are at this moment and why they are unhappy in their current position. Ms. Laurent works with nurses to “reframe their thinking” so they can see where they want to be.

“Many people have negative thinking patterns and self-limiting beliefs that stop them from taking action or pursuing what they really want,” she said. “We want to get to a growth mindset where continuous learning happens and we focus on a positive perspective.”

2. What does success look like? What does each individual need most to meet those goals? Is it more money? A more flexible schedule? Is one’s real desire to climb the corporate ladder? Nurses looking to make a move need a clear vision of what is missing from their current workday to scout their next position.

3. Get crystal clear on what you really want. “Forget what everyone else is telling you. What do you want? Now that the clutter is out of the way, you can truly get down to your values, purpose and decide what impact you want to make,” Ms. Laurent said.

“Your nursing sweet spot” becomes more obvious after working through steps one through three, she said. “This is your ideal position, and you can focus your efforts on getting there.”

4. Landing strategy: “The job search gets a lot easier, less frustrating and more precise now that you are clear,” Ms. Laurent said, noting nurses need to “stop sending out the same old generic resume and boring cover letter.”

Now that the nurse’s mindset is clear and focused, that individual can take the next step with full confidence by crafting a resume tailored to the position with a memorable cover letter and being ready to interview with a “standout power pitch.”

“Deep down if you do not believe that you will land your dream position, then you will not get it,” Ms. Laurent said. “The interviewer has to be convinced that you are confident, believe that you are the right person for the position and that you really want the position. The most confident candidate usually has it in the bag.”