The College of Nursing recently sponsored their second annual alumni panel of graduates from the B.S.N. program who have been working in industry for a period of 2 to 3 years. The event provided a "notes from the field" form of preparation for what graduating seniors can expect when entering their new, exciting and highly challenging profession.
"What was the biggest shock for you at the very beginning?" Kathy Connolly, D.N.P., R.N., undergraduate instructor in the College of Nursing, asked the panel. The response was uniformly the same: learning to deal with the reality that nothing prepares you like real-time.
Alessio DiMartino, '17 responded that in most settings "you [nurses] are responsible for everything – from who didn't respond to a situation fast enough to why the garbage wasn't emptied (by facilities)." She also noted that even when you're technically in a "teaching hospital," many do not have time (particularly in emergency situations), or simply are not very good teachers.
Stephanie DiSimone, '15 commented that she is one of the nurses who "eats their young." "I do this for their own good," she continues. "I want to help new nurses bring their critical thinking skills up further. I do it out of not only love but necessity. I had fellow nurses who were hard enough on me that I spent many nights crying. I may have resented them at the moment. Now, I couldn't have thanked them more."
A portion of the panel discussion focused on elements of how to conduct an initial job search effectively, many skills of which are ubiquitous to any graduating senior. They suggested various ways to sharpen interview skills, including doing mock interviews, creating hypothetical situations and thinking through how to approach them, and certainly fully researching the hospital or facility ahead of time.
Be prepared – including the very real possibility that some may not land their first job after one interview – or many. "I have gotten a total of 80 job rejections in my career so far," claimed Taylor Caria, '17. Marissa Colagrosso, '16 encouraged everyone to utilize the Career Center at the University (which now has an office on-site at the new Interprofessional Health Sciences Campus) as vital resource for everything from resume writing, to interviewing and networking strategies; it played a significant role in being hired at her current position.
The panel also encouraged further education through graduate degrees and certificates, noting that magnate hospitals tend to stress this for their employees.
The mission of the College of Nursing is to transform the art and science of healthcare delivery. The alumna panel provided a thoroughly informed perspective on everything from the joys to challenges of accomplishing this on a daily basis. If the thoughtful questions and eager reactions were any indication, the graduating class of 2019 B.S.N. and M.S.N.-Clinical Nurse Leader candidates are more than prepared for the task ahead.