Top 5 Survival Tips for the Fledgling Nurse

survival tips for new nurses

Let’s start by not sugarcoating the fact that in the Philippines nowadays, Nursing is not the easiest ticket to financial success. Gone are the days when nurses flock nursing schools to get a diploma, work in local hospitals to gain few years of experience, and then get an overseas employment as easy as 1,2,3. Many things have changed over the years in the local nursing industry and unfortunately, international demands and restrictions for Filipino nurses have drastically changed as well. For this reason, it is not uncommon to hear these days stories voicing out the plight of our very own registered nurses. But what should we do when even lobbying for laws and policies in favor of our nurses is not enough to lift them up from their present situation? Do we always have to blame the government and our parents for this phenomenon that has gripped the nursing profession? If you are a real nurse, you should know how to apply first aid on your present predicament and follow these tip-top tips (N.U.R.S.E.) on how to survive Nursing during these trying times:

  • Never give up.

 Having a resilient attitude is a must to survive this season of job-hunting. If you failed to get an RNHeals slot, a plantilla position, or even just a chance to work as a volunteer nurse, so be it. Give yourself enough time to recover and get ready for another series of job search. Submit your curriculum vitae to as many hospitals as possible and avoid trimming down your alternatives to a limited number of  “preferred hospitals”. Remember, this is not the best time to be “choosy” or force yourself to specialize on a nursing field when you doesn’t even have a general ward experience yet. Don’t quit especially when you face a lot of setbacks. Who knows? Yours might be another nursing success story in the making. So cheer up! Besides, you’re not the only one struggling to get a job. If you really want to be a nurse and have the heart to survive it, then go for the gold. And do you know how to get your dream job? JUST DON’T GIVE UP.

  • Use your contacts.
You’re done having that “student-nurse” and “board examinee” status so don’t bring your friends with you when  you apply for a nursing job as much as possible. Believe it or not, your independence in the profession starts as early as the job-hunting period. Build a lot of contacts by opening your lines of communication to a lot of nurses you meet each day. They can be a stranger you meet while you’re applying for your nursing license inside the PRC, a co-trainee during your IVT or BLS training, or just a simple nurse you happen to bump in while exploring the Facebook world. Don’t forget to exchange numbers and build friendships with them. They might be holding the key for a rare nursing opportunity so update each other every once in a while.
  • Resume-building.
How can you have an edge and be above the other 300,000+ unemployed or underemployed nurses in the country? Simple: Polish your resume. But remember, you can’t build a solid foundation from nothing; a good nursing resume can be developed not by staying at home the whole day doing nothing but updating your nursing skills and knowledge through relevant trainings and seminars. No one is excuse for this requirement because Nursing is a profession that evolves continuously and develops modern advancements  you can only learn by signing-up to these “continuing professional education” programs. Some are budget-friendly and some are too expensive for those RNs with a tight budget. But remember, nursing is an intricate profession and you have to establish a very good investment for you to flourish in this life-long career.
  • See other possible options and be open to them.
Let’s admit it. We have an overflowing number of nurses and the budget cuts made by the government for the health sector only intensifies our hospitals’ inability to accommodate all registered nurses in the country. But that is not something we have to fret about because nurses, as they say, are resourceful in and outside the hospital setting. If hospitals are temporarily closing its doors to nurses, one can try to utilize their geriatric and pediatric skills in home care institutions, participate in various medical/dental missions, or apply their nursing knowledge while working as review assistants or national reviewers in numerous nursing review centers. In addition to that, nurses can be entreprenurse and establish their own businesses or work as call center agents in BPO companies offering medical or health care accounts especially made to cater licensed nurses. Your career as a nurse can still be rewarding if you know how to think outside the box and not just limit yourself by just being a “hospital nurse”. You can also attend various job fairs or career fest to discover a world of unlimited opportunities like the annual PNOCE or Philippine Nursing Opportunities, Conference, Expo, and Job Fair ( held every last quarter of the year in different parts of the country. The government, with the cooperation of DOH and DOLE, also offers all nurses an alternative to gain relevant nursing experience through RNHeals, which will open again its doors for the third batch of applications early next year. Also, don’t forget to use the world wide web to find job opportunities here and abroad. You can use the following websites to find nursing-related  jobs and create a personalized online resume:
This is not the best time to be closed-minded and pessimistic. It’s easy to find a job, all you need is an ounce of perseverance and the willingness to help yourself.
  • Encourage one another.
Don’t be too consumed and affected by discouraging articles and news telling you that Nursing is not a rewarding profession anymore. It might not give you the power to buy a Porsche car during the early years of your career but remember, Nursing is not all about financial rewards in the first place. It might be helpful to update yourself with facts surrounding the nursing profession but not every thing you hear or see is worth your time. Filipino nurses should not just share news or stories about how bitter they are as a nurse but also encourage one another through inspirational stories and bravely sharing the reality that this too shall pass. People who hates and discriminates nurses are more than enough to bring our nurses’ spirits down, so why add more to the insult? Nurses are the only people who can understand the struggles and fulfillment of other nurses. We have our own little world thrived by nurses and fueled by our own subculture that only nurses can understand. Love one another. Help one another. Inspire one another. That is what we call the “nursing spirit”.
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