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4 things to look for in your next nursing job

You’ve graduated from a Master of Science in Nursing program, polished up your resume and now you’re staring at a list of job openings across the country. With so many options – from hospital positions to private home care – how do you decide where to apply? As a qualified nursing professional, here are four important qualities that you should look for when choosing your next nursing position.

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1. Positive markers.
Unfortunately, there’s no master list that subjectively ranks workplaces across the entire nation. However, many markers do exist – especially for hospitals and other large health care organizations – that will give you an idea of the quality of your potential workplace. A great one to ask about as a nurse is the organization’s NDNQI – National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators – score. While numbers alone can’t tell you if a certain job is the right fit for you, they can tell you a lot of the organization itself and the direction it’s headed. Forbes magazine reported that it’s important to look for a company that you can grow with. If your place of employment is on the right track, you’ll have better prospects for your own career in the long-run.

2. Good working conditions.
As a nurse, you probably expect to work some less than desirable hours and be tasked with high-stress responsibilities. But there’s a difference between working a demanding job and just plain being taken advantage of. Make sure that the position includes a reasonable number of days off each year, and allows for some flexibility if you need to change your schedule. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing roles are expected to grow by 16 percent between 2014 and 2024, a much faster than average rate when compared to the average across all industries. With new positions being created, you should be able to find a workplace where you’re valued, especially with a master’s degree in nursing on your resume.

3. Personal perks.
While you may be dedicated to your work, it’s important to also consider your personal life when choosing a position. Whether you want to live close enough to visit your family on holidays or need to have Saturdays off to take the kids to soccer practice, make a list of the perks of your ideal position. While it may be difficult to find a role that fulfills every single one of your desires, make sure that you don’t make sacrifices that you’ll later regret. That includes salary. While you likely became a nurse for reasons other than financial gain, be sure that you find a position where you’re reasonably compensated. If you feel that you aren’t paid fairly, you’ll run the risk of starting to resent your job down the road.

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4. Opportunities for growth.
When you’re applying for a new job, it can be easy to think in the short term. You haven’t even landed the position yet – why would you be thinking about opportunities for advancement? But do yourself a favor and think ahead from the get-go. Put in some research to determine if the company has opportunities for professional development, whether it’s internal job-shadowing opportunities or funding for continuing education classes. If your goal is to one day be a nurse manager or take on some other leadership role, ask if those positions are filled internally. Unless you’re intentionally looking for a short-term position, it’s important to think about the big picture. You don’t want to have to do the entire job searching process all over again in a couple of years.


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