Friday, March 9, 2012

Yes, its that time of year....

Panic is setting in for our senior nursing grad jobs are hard to find. Understandably, students are frustrated...cries of "Its not fair, I've worked SO hard!" and "I've sent our fifteen applications, and haven't gotten ONE interview" are echoing the halls. So, here's some advice to all you wanna be nurses out there. First, get over it. Welcome to the real world of the state of the economy. For years now, although the unemployment rate has been high, new grad nurses have enjoyed the luxury of being able to pick and choose from among a plethora of job offers. But now, for the first time in many years, health care is being affected. Understand that you are graduating with some basic skills, a license (hopefully) but you are still an expensive proposition for hospitals. It costs a LOT of money and time to orient a new grad to the point where they can work autonomously. Its all a matter of dollars and cents, don't take it personally.

So, what can you do? And although my students are sick to death of hearing me say these things, I am going to go down the list once again.

#1. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! Hospitals offer CEU programs. See a hospital you like? Call and ask what they're offering. Go to a program, introduce yourself to everybody and anybody. The person you impress MAY be your future nurse manager. Contact former students of your program who are working...they may have inside info of available jobs and would be happy to put in a good word for a fellow alum.

#2. Sent in an "online application"? Well, that's very nice...but follow it up with a hard copy. Preferably handed to the HR office in person, if possible. Hospitals get hundreds of online applications; take the time and effort to deliver something tangible.

#3. Do the research. Find out the name of the administrator (clinical leader, nurse manager, etc) of a unit on which you'd like to work. And send him or her a copy of your resume directly, with of course, a personalized cover letter.

#4. Don't be put off by "experienced nurses only" or "not hiring new grads". Hospitals may SAY that, but a week later may be in a position where they would be interested in considering your application. Apply ANYWAY.

#5. And this is probably the most difficult concept of all for students to accept. Be prepared to SETTLE. Please don't overlook positions in MD offices, clinics, rehabs, long term care, and (now, don't roll your eyes..) community health. I know its not your dream job, but you know what? The longer you sit around with that scarlet "NEW GRAD" logo emblazoned on your shiny new scrubs, the more competition you will have. A year from now, you'll still be a 'new grad', and your ambitious friend who took the job at Sunny Acres Retirement home will be an experienced RN who will have the opportunity to nail that hospital job.

So, good luck to all the about-to-be-new-grads out there. I have confidence that a year from now, you will all be working your butts off, looking back fondly on your last days as a nursing student, and longing for the academic schedule with its long winter break and summers off. And no doubt, you'll be making all your former nursing instructors proud.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Losing Davy Jones

The news didn't generate the public displays of wailing and grieving that were triggered by the deaths of Elvis, John, Michael, or even Whitney. But for the millions of fans of Davy Jones, the loss is being felt deeply and profoundly. And it is indeed a 'loss'; certainly not the dimension of loss being felt by his wife, his daughters and the rest of his family; but for us, a loss of a different kind. Those of us who spent two years of Monday nights watching the original show, buying Slicker lipstick by Yardley, writing "Mrs. Davy Jones" on the inside cover of our notebooks, have lost a part of our adolescence.

Reruns on MTV allowed us to share this with our own children, and many of us were fortunate enough to take these children to Monkees concerts...the concerts, of course, that we only dreamed of going to when we ourselves were twelve. Except for the reunion tours, Mickey, Peter, and Mike all kind of disappeared from our lives over the years, but Davy...he grew up with us.

We didn't see his name in the tabloids...didn't hear about brushes with the law, drug use or stints in rehab...stories that littered the careers of other celebrities, because there were none. He appeared at casino shows, state fairs, theme parks...always allowing us a trip back in time. Music critics have always found the Monkees and its members easy targets, but nobody made fun of Davy Jones more than he himself did. His shows were pure entertainment; song, dance, and groaningly bad puns.

The last two shows I attended, I was fortunate enough to sit right in front of the stage. I can tell you than nobody had any more fun than Davy did. Although I was lucky enough to meet him once, I never felt I could say I 'knew' him. But through Cindy Bryant and her Purple Flower Gang, I've come to know people who DO know him, and have found out that with Davy, the stage persona and the real persona weren't all that far apart. He genuinely, truly, cared for his fans; he was the real deal.

All this makes his death even more sad, if that is possible. Davy wasn't done yet. We knew that they'd never be another reunion tour; after all, tours are tough business even for the young bands. But there were going to be more solo shows, and I guess that is what I'm having the hardest time with. There will be no 'next time'

So, while people gather in Beavertown, PA this weekend for a fan-organized memorial service, those of us who can't attend will mourn Davy in our own way. Sharing fond memories with others who love him, playing his music, and remembering the boy who made our hearts skip a beat, who grew into the man who was loved and admired for his loyalty to us, his fans. And we will be smiling through our tears, grateful for someone who has brought us so much joy.

Rest in peace, Davy.