With a diploma in hand and a positive attitude, newly graduated nurses may be eager to apply for that first job. Or perhaps you’re an experienced nurse seeking a change in environment, looking to shake up that routine, or need a change in your working environment.
New Mexico, including Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, can be a great place to start or further a nursing career. Here are a few ideas to remember when considering applying for a nursing job in the Land of Enchantment.
1 – Understand State Licensing Requirements for nursing jobs
Obviously when beginning that nursing career or transferring to New Mexico from another state, it’s important to meet state licensing requirements. Potential hires must be licensed by the New Mexico Board of Nursing, which requires passing the NCLEX-RN (for Registered Nurses) or NCLEX-PN (for Practical Nurses) exam, both from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
New Mexico is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) along with 39 other states. This agreement allows RNs or LPNs to practice in multiple states without obtaining additional licenses.
Those looking for a nursing job in New Mexico have several options to research jobs. There are numerous online sites available, state nursing group job postings (more on that below), and individual medical facilities, such as Christus St. Vincent, which also advertise openings on their websites.
2 – Highlight Relevant Nursing Experience and Specialties
When reaching out to potential employers, highlight your own experience and educational interests. If neonatal care is an area you want to pursue, make note of why that specialty interests you and what you bring to the field.
Those who are currently in nursing school can not only apply for jobs while still in school, but some medical facilities will hire them before graduation to work in other capacities to gain valuable medical experience. That could lead to a nursing job with the same company after graduation.
“Few professions offer the chance to begin a career while still in school — one of those is nursing,” NURSA.com reports. “Therefore, the possibility that potential nurses have of working in the nursing field during or even before nursing school is an opportunity that simply cannot be missed. By doing so, nursing students or those considering nursing school can see first-hand what the profession is truly like and decide whether or not it’s for them.”
Christus St. Vincent also boasts a nurse extern program, which provides work-based training opportunities and clinical experience away from the classroom. These types of programs give students practical nursing practice before graduation. Some key elements of the Christus program include:
- Open to students in their last year of nursing school.
- Students are paired with and under the direct supervision of a preceptor. The program includes nursing assessment, planning, intervention, documentation, and evaluation.
- Nursing skills can be performed once the extern demonstrates competency.
Those who apply for a job will want to highlight that experience and any specializations that they might be interested in. Along with the key requirements for a nursing career, employers are also looking for other traits like empathy, compassion, critical thinking, communication, and organizational skills.
3 – Network with Local Healthcare Organizations
Personal connections can be invaluable in the job search process and attending job fairs, networking events, and training sessions in New Mexico can help connect with potential employers and colleagues.
Joining state or local nursing associations, such as the New Mexico Nurses Association or New Mexico Emergency Nurses Association, also gives members access to job postings and professional development resources. On-the-job shadowing opportunities should also be considered to get a feel for different work environments.
4 – Prepare for Behavioral Interviews
These types of interviews are common in the nursing field and are meant to assess a candidate’s interpersonal skills, problem-solving abilities, and clinical judgment via hypothetical or past scenarios.
Discussing how you’ve shown leadership skills is important as well as how you’ve dealt with difficult patients or families or had to prioritize care. When answering questions, some experts recommend the “STAR” method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to help structure answers. Stay positive and relaxed.
Nurse.org adds this advice: “Ultimately, you want to be able to describe what makes you a good person for the job, how your nursing education and experiences have prepared you, and what you hope to learn from the people you’ll be working with.”
5 – Research Employer and Community Nursing Needs
Having an idea of what a community or medical facility needs can also better prepare an applicant. Nursing jobs often require experience in specific areas like intensive care, gerontology, or pediatrics.
Tailoring your resumé and cover letter to highlight any experiences and certifications that match a sought-after specialty is always a good idea. New Mexico has a diverse population and geography, so mentioning experience with rural healthcare or specific cultural competencies might also benefit job candidates.
In New Mexico, numerous specialties are in demand as in other parts of the country, including neonatal, surgical, critical care, ER, cardiac, and more. Travel nursing is also a growing area in the field.
If you’ve decided that New Mexico is the right place for your nursing career, be sure to check opportunities at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe.
Story by Sean Chaffin
Story sponsored by CHRISTUS ST. VINCENT REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead