If you’ve finished nursing school, the hard part is over, and now it’s time to determine what sort of nursing position best suits your skills and personality. Any further required preparation will be taught on the job, so administer this quick self-assessment test to get your job search off in the right direction.

  1. Is location important to you? There are healthcare positions available in virtually every city across the country, so you have some flexibility as to where you begin your career. Deciding on a geographical region will narrow down the search a great deal. If you already have a home and are looking to stay local, consider what kind of commute you are willing to make to work each day. Factor in transportation, gas prices, and the value of your time. If instead you are looking for a change, you can look into relocating.
  2. How do you feel about shift work? If you have your heart set on a standard 9am-5pm job, your best bet is pursuing hospital administration, consultation, or clinic work. Homecare jobs and nursing positions at larger hospitals or medical consultation facilities usually require you to work in shifts, including evenings and weekends. You might find that late shifts work well with your lifestyle, or that you prefer working 3 or 4 long shifts and having the rest of the week off. In any case, you can prioritize your job search by the hours you are willing to work.
  3. What type of clinical nursing interests you the most? Do you interact best with medical and surgical patients? Do you have the confidence and strength necessary to deal with psychiatric patients? Perhaps you prefer working with outpatient visitors rather than those with long-term needs. There are also options that allow you to work with children, special needs patients, or the elderly either in nursing homes or through homecare jobs.
  4. What employee benefits are most valuable to you? Do you need a position that offers comprehensive health insurance, or can you get coverage through your spouse? Public and private healthcare facilities are able to offer different staff benefits. Are you continuing your education? If so, you may want to look for a job that will reimburse you for tuition and work with you to ensure that shifts don’t conflict with your class schedule.

Hopefully taking some time to think about the answers to these four questions will allowed you to focus in on the exact kind of homecare jobs that will fulfill your career goals. When in doubt, talk to other employees to get a sense of what they like most about the positions they hold, and what areas they feel could use some improvement. This will also help you sort out any discrepancies between how a job sounds on paper and how that position translates into real life. You are ready to take on a long-term, successful nursing career, so make sure to find the perfect niche before you start to settle in.

Karen P. Williams is an expert author in all things related to CNA Training & Certification.

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