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Help students find their first nursing job


Job cuts across the NHS mean nursing students who graduate this year may find it hard to land their first job. Help them out by posting your job-seeking tips below. How should they decide what sort of role is right for them? Where are the best places to look for job listings? Who should they look to for help?

Post your tips below.


Readers' comments (4)

  • Don't worry about where your first job is. I know we all have specialisms/interests etc, but get any job going at first. It is easier to move sideways into the job you really want (once one finally opens up) once you already have one.

    Also, find yourself a good psychiatrist or get a good punchbag, because you will need it if you have to deal with the ridiculous beauracratic and petty HR departments employed by the NHS!

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  • with everything that is going on at the moment affecting NHS staff, do they really want it?

    I never thought, in a million years, I'd be looking forward to my 60th birthday

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  • Anonymous | 23-Mar-2011 0:07 am very very true. If someone asked me should they go in for their Nurse training the way things are now, I would wholeheartedly advise them against it.

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  • If you haven’t done so already join NHS professionals. This will ensure that you are working and getting experience. There are often opportunities to have a short term contract to cover sickness/maternity leave etc. Leave your number with any areas where you have enjoyed working so that they can contact you if they have any shifts going or if they have vacancies coming up. Don’t set you heart any particular speciality. Be flexible about the sort of area you want to work in for your 1st job. If there are particular hospitals you have enjoyed working at then contact their HR department and ask them to send them their vacancy bulletin on a regular basis. Register on This is a great website which will provide you with e mails of any job vacancies which fit into the criteria that you have provided them.
    Ensure that your CV is bang up to date.
    When applying for jobs ensure that you have completed the whole application form. I have seen many application forms which have not been fully completed and therefore have not even been short listed.
    Ensure that you ask your referees before putting them on your application form. Prospective employers will often ask whether the referee was aware of your application for the post. If they say no it shows a lack of preparation on your part.
    If you apply for any jobs do go on informal visits. This will give you a chance to do your research before interview. It will also give your prospective employers the chance to meet you outside the pressure of an interview setting. If you are offered an interview then needless to say make sure you are well prepared. Also if you have been an informal visit think about the questions that this raised. Do also look at any research relevant to the speciality. On the day of interview make sure you arrive in plenty of time. Make sure that the way you present yourself portrays a professional image. Listen carefully to the questions that the interview panel ask. Pause and think about what they are asking before answering. If you don’t understand the question ask them to repeat it. This buys you some time to collect your thoughts. Ensure that you present a positive body language to the panel. Maintain eye contact; ensure an open posture-no crossed arms/legs. Look at the person who is asking the question. Make sure that you have got some questions to ask the panel. This will show that you are actually interested in the job that you have applied for and have made an effort to do some research into the post. If you are unsuccessful at interview do ask for feedback. This will ensure that you are better prepared next time and hopefully successful.If you are successful you will have to undergo an occupational health aassessment and your references will have to be received before you are formally offered the post by letter. Don’t resign from any other jobs until you have this letter. Finally good luck as you're really going to need it!

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