Congratulations to the successful passers of the June 2012 Philippine Nursing Licensing Examinations. You are now all part of the pool of professional, registered nurses “legally authorized to practice his/her profession with all the rights and privileges appurtenant thereto”, as described at the back of every license of a professional granted by the Philippine’s Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). Welcome to the world of professional nursing!
It is the end of your journey inside the academe and it is now the beginning of your journey into the world of paid, professional labor. This is the start of your life’s journey and I wish you the best of luck. However, it is also proper for me to cite that the world you are entering to is not a bed of roses. It will be tough, extremely tough, especially for nurses here in the Philippines to seek for paid employment as there is a huge surplus of nurses (latest government statistics say that there are almost 400,000 more or less, unemployed professional nurses in the country). Nonetheless, this does not mean that you, a fresh graduate, should give up. I am not saying and I do not guarantee that you will land the job soon, especially during these trying times, but I am going to give you some major points that you may want to ponder regarding finding your first job as a PI-RN:
This is the most important thing that I am going to tell you. Be ready. It is going to be an extremely difficult world for us. Do not be discouraged by this. I am sure that you do know this based on your observations. Nonetheless, brace yourself and remain strong at all times.
Never let others tell you what you cannot do
Yes, it may be really hard to get hired in our profession, but never let others tell you what you should do and cannot do. Many in this world will tell you things that will pull your spirits down. Never let other people tell you that you cannot succeed in your profession. The ironic thing is, those people who tell you that do not even really know what the real deal is and they are not even nurses. Always have courage.
Believe in yourself
It is an EXTREMELY tough competition. Make sure that you exude confidence and that you believe in yourself. There is nothing that self-pity can contribute to you, except tears and sleepless nights. Believe in yourself. You have succeeded tough nursing school and passed the NLE. Believe that you can.
CV, the passport
Make sure that your CV is properly written to impress employers. Learn how to create a proper CV that aims to impress employers as they read the first page. Know the vital points you have to write, as well as the things you need not write. Answer the statement “impress me” when you write it. Remember, you have 400,000+ competitors. You must stand out.
Networks are important
It is not a secret that networks play an important role in landing a job; this is true all over the world. A network of friends and acquaintances may give prospective employers a hint about you. This is always a plus point. This does NOT mean having a “backer”. In today’s world, many hospitals have optioned to avoid this “system”, although not all. But from my experience, even if the nurse’s aunt owns the hospital, he/she still has gone through the fair process of hiring. Networks are important, but they are never guarantees.
Make sure that you have the most basic credentials and your professional degree when looking for a job. Also, it pays to have additional certifications such as Basic Life Support and Intravenous Therapy. Hospitals look for these and you will be of advantage if you have them.
Scatter your CV
Do not just apply to one medical center. Try to explore and apply to different hospitals and community centers for health. Nursing is not limited to hospital nursing. However, if you do choose hospital nursing, scatter your CV to a LOT of hospitals. Nursing is a make or break profession in the Philippines so it is important to apply to as many prospective employers as possible.
Never, ever forget to follow up if such a long time span has passed since you submitted your CV. A lot of applicants are submitting applications on a day-to-day basis so it is important to stress to potential employers that you are interested.
To volunteer or not?
Sadly, some Philippine hospitals require you to volunteer first for a couple of months in order for them to hire you; though this does not apply to all. Make sure that there are clear terms should this be a pre-requisite to the official hiring process. You cannot do anything about it; but never ever make them exploit you. Ask politely the terms if you do decide to do volunteer work.
Do not compare
You make your own nursing life. Do not compare yourself to others, especially those who are already successful. Remember, everyone started at zero. You are not alone.
Do not stop yourself if you want to work at different fields outside nursing should you decide to do so. If you wish to work as you wait for hospitals to contact you, do it. Do not be choosy in working though. When that time comes that a hospital does contact you for work, weigh your options wisely
Nursing in the Philippines is difficult. A lot of us want to seek for better jobs abroad but this has been constrained as foreign governments have implemented stricter ways of selecting and importing foreign nurses. They require paid work experience and not all the nurses in the Philippines are granted this privilege. A lot of nurses work in fields outside nursing, sacrificing the work experience they need to be able to work abroad as nurses in exchange for higher local pay. It is okay to be practical, but I do share to you some words of wisdom from a friend of mine, Gianne, which she said to me a long time ago:
“In today’s world, it is okay to be practical. However, make decisions making sure that they benefit you not only today, but also in the future”.
Still, I end this article with this irony of life:
“I cannot find work because I do not have work experience because I cannot find work.“-unknown author