Are you a seasoned nurse applying for jobs and finding it difficult to get interviews? You are not alone. Understanding job market demands and the differences of the multigenerational workforce are among the tips for older nurses who are job hunting.
Target your searches
While seasoned nurses are valued, leveraging your experience may depend on where you look. Before applying, understand market changes and assess what a facility is looking for and match your experience with those needs.
“A lot of the magnet facilities want staff nurses to have a BSN or at least be working on it,” says Al Rundio, PhD, DNP, RN, APRN, CARN-AP, NEA-BC, and associate dean at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions.
Experienced nurses with an associate degree are at a disadvantage at these hospitals. “The reality is they may not hire them, even though they have a wealth of experience. The best advice I give people is learning is lifelong. You want to add on a degree that will help you the most.”
Some job markets prefer experience, says Rundio, who works as a nurse practitioner in a residential addiction treatment center that is not tied to a bachelor’s degree. “Certainly a nurse there with experience would get a job sooner than someone brand new out of school,” he says.
Older nurses will benefit if they understand technology and how things have evolved in the nursing world, advises James Ballinghoff, chief nursing officer of Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
“A good thing for [older nurses] to probably be prepared for during an interview is to understand the different generations,” and how they communicate and work, he says.
Read journals and attend seminars to learn each generation’s strengths and workplace styles to be better prepared to work side by side with them, Ballinghoff suggests.
Embrace your strengths
While some nurses may feel the need to dye their gray hair or weed out phrases and resume information that dates them, Ballinghoff suggests that mature nurses should “be yourself and be proud of the experience you have and what you bring to the table.
“I always look for experienced nurses. Although things do change and evolve rapidly, there is still that core skill of caring for a patient. They have that and they should be proud of what they have,” Ballinghoff says.
Patients appreciate the maturity of older nurses, says Deb Zimmerman, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, vice president and chief nursing officer at the VCU Medical Center.
“In the health care world I think the more senior nurse actually has an advantage,” says Zimmerman, noting older adults who graduate from the university’s accelerated nursing programs tend to do well in the job market.
Instead of viewing your age as a liability, accentuate your experience and capitalize on it during a targeted search.
Robin Farmer is a freelance journalist with a focus on health, education and business. Visit her at RobinFarmerWrites.com.