Nurse shaking hands with a hiring manager at a hospital.

Are you rethinking your nursing career? You're not alone. According to a Reuters article published last month, almost a third of nurses in the United States are considering leaving their profession after the COVID-19 pandemic left them exhausted and overwhelmed.

Before you do anything drastic, like quitting the profession entirely, have you considered other job opportunities within the field? Not sure where to start? We can help point you in the right direction.

1. Research Different Nursing Career Options

While hospitals are the largest employers of nurses, there are plenty of other places for you to deliver patient care, such as assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient care centers.

There are also lesser-known opportunities, such as being a camp nurse, cruise ship nurse, or forensic nurse. The possibilities are endless. You just need to do some research. You may even need to get additional training. Check out this comprehensive listing of specialty areas for RNs, LPNs, and CNAs.

2. Make a List of Nursing Pros and Cons

Given the many opportunities within the nursing field, it helps to list what you like most and least about working in the profession. By doing so, you can narrow down your focus.

For example, if you enjoy making connections with patients and thrive on delivering highly personalized care, then you would be better off working in a small skilled nursing facility than a large hospital. Or you may want summers off to spend time with your kids. If that's the case, consider becoming a school nurse.

Perhaps you love what you do but don't like your workplace's mandatory weekends, holidays, and overtime. You want job flexibility and total control over your work schedule. That's when you download the ShiftMed nursing jobs app and start working when, where, and how often you want.

3. Find Ways to Network in Nursing

No matter the profession, networking is vital to your job search and career development. As a nurse, it can help you build mutually beneficial relationships that lead to new job opportunities or allow you to explore different career paths. For example, you can connect with nurses in specialty practice areas and gain first-hand insight into their roles.

Getting involved with your State Nurse Association is a great way to actively engage with your peers and gain insight into how the profession is evolving in your state. Attending a nursing conference is also highly beneficial—just make sure the conference aligns with your goals before investing in it.

Want to network close to home? ShiftMed makes it easy to establish connections within your community. We have healthcare facility partners, from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities, in major metropolitan areas nationwide.

By working shifts through our nursing jobs app, you can "try out" different healthcare facilities in your community. You can see the pros and cons of working at each facility. If you find a work environment that fits your needs, you can claim multiple shifts at that location and build rapport with the staff there. That way, they'll request you when they need help filling a shift. They can even hire you permanently if they want.

CNA explains why she works for ShiftMed, from great pay to room for growth to good job flexibility.

4. Make Your Nursing Resume Stand Out

With so many nurses rethinking their careers, those who decide to stay in the profession will be vying for new job opportunities, creating a highly competitive environment. One way to stand out in the crowd is through your resume.

While using the same resume for every job you apply to is tempting, please don't do it. It's best to tailor your nursing resume to the job you are applying for. It's also worth noting that many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that scan resumes for specific keywords, with only the highest-ranking resumes landing on the hiring manager's desk. A lot goes into creating the perfect nursing resume, and this article offers excellent writing and ATS tricks.

If you've recently entered the nursing profession and want to build your patient care experience in different settings, working with ShiftMed is a great way to go. Through our nursing jobs app, you can choose to work at a hospital one week and a nursing home the next. And through these experiences, you can see what type of healthcare environment best aligns with your personality and career goals.

5. Ace Your Next Nursing Interview

Great job! Your resume reached the hiring manager's desk, and you've landed an interview. Now what? It's time for you to shine and get that offer, which requires a lot of preparation.

Start by studying the job description and then brainstorm your achievements. Next, write down your thoughts, outlining what makes you the best person for the job. It also helps to research the organization to get a sense of its mission, vision, and values.

Consider all the questions a hiring manager might ask you and rehearse your answers. They'll likely ask you a series of basic and scenario-based questions—from "Tell me about yourself" to "How do you handle difficult patients?" Check out this comprehensive article on nursing interview questions and answers.

Your goal is to walk into the interview feeling as calm and confident as possible, proving that you have the skills and drive they seek. They also want to make sure you'd be a good fit for their team.

Furthermore, you shouldn't be the only person answering questions during an interview. Prepare a list of questions for the hiring manager to show you've thought through the job and its requirements. For example, you might ask:

  • How do you measure nursing success?

  • What type of job training and advancement do you offer?

  • What is your nurse-to-patient ratio?

  • What system do you use for EMR?

And finally, take notes throughout the interview. Not only does this help you listen and remember important details, but it also shows you care. After your interview, sending a follow-up thank you note to the person who interviewed you can go a long way, so make sure you have their contact information before you leave the interview.

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