There is a reported nursing shortage in the U.S. at this time, but there may come a time that you suddenly find yourself in the unenviable position of being an unemployed LPN. In this economic climate not many of us can afford not to work, so what can one do when you are suddenly retrenched?
The truth is that even though there is an international shortage of nurses, many companies and medical institutions are suffering just as much as everyone else in an economic climate that is forcing many businesses to cut staff. This is cold comfort for you if you are an unemployed LPN, but never fear; there are many things that you can do.
You may have thought of some of these ideas, but not considered others, or you may just be so depressed at the fact of being an unemployed LPN that you have not considered any of them, but either way, here are some ideas about how you can find employment again.
Move To A Different State
The simple truth is that although there is a great shortage of nurses across America, rumored to be around a million, this does not mean that every state has the same shortage, so it is entirely possible that you live in a state that does not currently have a shortage.
If you do not mind relocating and do not have familial responsibilities that are keeping you in the current state in which you are residing, why not do some research into which states have a shortage and are offering LPN positions? It could be a great adventure for you to rather move to another state and experience a bit of a different lifestyle than to remain an unemployed LPN. Just make sure that your license will be valid in the state to which you move.
The best way to go about this would be to do some research on the internet as to which states are advertising positions and apply for them, or by contacting the State Nursing Board in various states and requesting all the relevant information.
Be Flexible About Shift-work
Remember; although there is a shortage of nurses, with all the new LPN programs that are available there are hundreds of newly-qualified LPNs looking for work all the time. This means that you cannot be too choosy about not being available to work night-shift or weekend shifts because there will surely be another unemployed LPN out there who will gladly take any shift on offer.
Healthcare facilities advertise the positions that they have, and it is not always feasible to expect that the shifts that you require or prefer are available. The main aim should be to get employment and once you are employed and have shown your worth you can try to negotiate to get better shifts.
Be Flexible About The Assignment
Do not hold out to work in a specific unit or institution because that is where your interest lies. Every limitation you put on your employment will mean less of a chance of getting employed. Remember, a Licensed Practical Nurse is a generalist and as such is expected to work where they are needed; this may not always be where you want to work, so you need to be flexible about it. It is preferable to work in a different unit or even a different institution than to be an unemployed LPN.
If you can only get a job in maternity although you would prefer to work in oncology, do not turn down the opportunity for employment. Take the job in the maternity ward and get some experience, earn a salary and prove your worth, then when a post in oncology does come up you can apply for a transfer to that unit. The experience that you have gained will look good on your resume and may be beneficial to you later down the line, and who knows, you may even enjoy the maternity ward.
Improve Your Knowledge via A Specialty
One way of changing your status from being an unemployed LPN to being an employed one is to specialize. With the amount of newly-qualified LPNs that are coming onto the job-market every month thanks to all the new programs that have been created to address the nursing shortage, it is imperative that you make yourself more marketable.
There are more than 60 specialties in which you can obtain knowledge and experience; here are just a few of them:
- Addictions Nursing
- Ambulatory Care Nursing
- Burn Unit Critical Care Nursing
- Cardiac Catheterization Lab Nursing
- Certified Nurse Midwife
- Diabetes Management Nursing
- Emergency / Trauma Nursing
- Flight / Transport Nursing
- Forensic Nursing
- Genetics Nursing
- HIV / AIDS Nursing
- Holistic Nursing
- Home Healthcare Nursing
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Nursing
- Legal Nurse Consultant
- Medical Assistant
- Medical Surgical Nursing
- Neonatal Nursing (NICU)
- Nursing Informatics
- Occupational Health Nursing
- LPN administrative duties
- PeriAnesthesia Nursing
- PeriOperative Nursing
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
- Radiology Nurse (CRN)
- Rehabilitation Nurse
- School Nurse Practitioner
- Transplant Nursing
- Travel Nursing
- Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing (WOCN)
There are various ways of attaining these specialties, and a few minutes of research on the Internet should give you plenty of information as to various courses and programs that are available, some of which may even be free.
Get Some Hands-on Experience
Many an unemployed LPN, especially a recently qualified Licensed Practical Nurse, faces the same age-old conundrum that virtually everyone venturing into the working world faces, not just LPNs; “how am I going to get experience if everybody wants experience yet nobody is willing to give me the chance to get it by employing me?”
Although virtually all licensed practical nurses undergo some form of hands-on clinical experience during their training, it is often not sufficient to satisfy the healthcare provider’s need for the type of experienced, competent nurses that they can be sure will deliver the type of care they require for their patients. Even though there’re may be a shortage, every medical facility has only certain vacancies, which may demand more experience, and most facilities have a moratorium on how many newly-qualified LPNs they can employ in each unit.
One way that you can do this, and you can even do it whilst still busy with your LPN program, is to do some volunteer work at a community health clinic, an old-aged facility or any other medical health facility, shadowing more qualified nurses and learning from them. Many individuals find that a volunteer job can transmute into a permanent post when one becomes available.
Work Through An Agency
There are many agencies that specialize in finding employment for the nursing profession, and as an unemployed LPN this could be a good route for you to go. These agencies know that licensed practical nurses are an integral part of the nursing profession, and many of them even specialize in finding employment for LPNs. Working through an agency will take all of the hard work and stress out of finding a position, as they have connections to various medical facilities nationally and internationally; they know when there are vacant positions long before they are advertised in the media or on the internet. They are also au fait with all the licensing requirements for the various states and can help you to arrange a license should you accept a position in another state.
A travel nursing position is a fantastic option for the unemployed LPN who does not mind travelling. Most of the travel assignments are temporary assignments and you will thus be working on contract for anything from three months to a year. This is a wonderful way to get to see the country and possibly even overseas and get paid for it. The amount of hands-on experience and the type of experience that you will garner from getting to know various communities and cultures up close and personal is something that you cannot buy, and it will stand you in good stead later in your career.
Most of the agencies will not only find employment for you but will also arrange, and pay for, your travel plans should the job be out of state or even international. They will also arrange for accommodation for you if necessary. Travel nurses include licensed practical nurses, surgical techs, and school nurses, so if you have a specialty you will also probably get more contracts.
As you can see, there are many ways out for those who cannot find employment in the usual places or are newly-qualified and are having a hard time of convincing prospective employers that they can do the job. Never lose hope, keep on trying and you will be sure to find employment soon.
And the final bit of advice is to print up a nice resume, get dressed up smartly and pay a visit to various medical institutions in your area; do some research on the internet, mail or e-mail as many applications as you can, and pay a visit to a nursing staffing agency and you are sure not to be an unemployed LPN for too long.