By Hana Chung ’17
Attending the 34th Annual NSNA Midyear Career Planning Conference was the perfect opportunity for me to get my resume reviewed, prepare me for taking the NCLEX, and to reflect upon my career planning. As a senior, I have recognized the importance of networking. I valued having the opportunity to connect with established and successful nurses at this conference. The conference provided a space for me to create positive first impressions, enhance my interview skills, and continue to develop myself into a professional.
I attended the NCLEX Mini Review Course session, which outlined the NCLEX test plan and procedure. The session presented by Desiree Hensel, a former Associate Professor at the Indiana University School of Nursing, included a number of valuable test taking and success strategies. This gave me a chance to apply my knowledge by answering NCLEX-related questions and alternative format questions.
Throughout the conference, I was able to choose from a wide variety of workshops that provided useful information on the job search and networking. The workshops that stood out the most to me were “LinkedIn: A Professional Networking Tool” and “Guerilla Warfare: Marketing Yourself in a Competitive Market.” Katelyn Finnegan, an Editor of Imprint magazine and the Chair for the Image of Nursing Committee, taught me about how the internet and social media have completely changed not only the way we socialize, but how we search for and get hired for jobs. Learning how to effectively market myself and navigate the social media landscape were motivated me to enhance my LinkedIn page. The session helped me to understand how I can highlight my accomplishments for future employers.
Sheri Monsein, a Nurse Manager and Talent Acquisition at UCLA Health Sciences, led a workshop that provided information on cover letters, resumes, and scheduling job interviews. She shed light on some important statistics illustrating how the economic recession that has flooded the RN market. I was shocked to hear that the need for RNs has declined due to low hospital census resulting from lower elective surgeries/procedures, high unemployment, and high rates people without insurance. I first learned of this issue in my “Transitions” class at Boston College; this is when I realized that RN retention due to economic factors was a major problem and would impact my job prospects. Ms. Monsein went on to reassure us that the shortage of RNs would become critical once the economy improves and unemployment decreases. She made me feel confident that my degree would be favorable for employers hiring new graduates. My biggest takeaway from her lecture was that I am qualified and prepared for a very competitive job market if I utilize my resources.
Attending the NSNA Midyear Career Planning Conference motivated me to get my foot in the door. The experience was valuable; it provided me with the opportunity to make positive first impressions and connect with colleagues to help land my first job after graduation. Although I was initially discouraged hearing about the shortage of registered nurses, getting advice from other nurses and professors gave me confidence to persevere. Through my experience at the Midyear Conference, I am determined to keep my passion for nursing alive, take every opportunity to excel academically, and continue to develop my professional identity. Attending the conference inspired me to make the most of my job search by continuing to network with existing colleagues, and to cultivate new relationships to open the door for any new opportunities that await me.