I’m an LPN, now what?

Many of you may find yourself asking the golden question, “What do I do now that I’m an LPN?” I remember after graduating and passing my board exam, I thought to myself, “Vanessa, you need money.” At that point, I was still involved in modeling, so a gig every now and then did keep me afloat. In the meantime, I began searching the internet for job opportunities. I applied to many places, which unfortunately required at least 1 year of working experience. Well, how am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me? **HOW SWAYYYY????

So, here I will go over 5 tips that I believe will help new grad LPNs find employment. Nothing is scarier (besides passing your boards)– then not being able to find work. After all, you went through a very tough program, probably used the last of your savings, and now you need to make your money back!

  1. Gather your portfolio.
    Grab an 8×10 binder, draft up your resume. Include all copies of your CEU’s and if you can, get a letter of recommendation from your school. When you go to places to apply for a job, it speaks volumes when you have your documents in hand and ready. I added a nice touch by purchasing plastic sleeves to place my papers into. It allowed for easy, quick access, and this showed that I was responsible and ready to work. 
  2. Return to your clinical sites.
    When I started looking for work, I applied to all of my dream jobs first. I thought to myself, “Wow I can finally apply to the hospital of my dreams.” After a few weeks of receiving denial letters, or “Thank you for your submission, but we’re going to move forward with another applicant”– I decided to return to all of the places where I did my clinical hours. I’m fortunate that I did this, because it helped me land my first nursing job. I had to accept the fact that I was not going to get hired at my dream job fresh out of school.
  3. Its not what you know, but who you know.
    Networking is key. It’s probably a little too late for this piece of advice if you’re already an LPN– but this is useful for someone who is still in school. When you go to clinicals, MAKE FRIENDS with the nurses, nursing aides and housekeepers. Once you graduate, if you did happen to exchange numbers they could help you land a job once you graduate. Introduce yourself to the unit managers and charge nurses. When you’re at clinicals, HELP EVERYONE. Not only are you learning how that particular floor is ran, but you’re showing you’re genuinely interested in being there.
  4. Be confident.
    After all, you went through nursing school. That shows you’re resilient, ambitious and dedicated. When you go on your interview, show that you’re excited and ready to start your career in nursing. NEVER ever answer a question with, “I don’t know.” The correct way to respond when someone asks you something you don’t know is, “I’m not sure, but let me find out so I can give you the correct information.”
  5. Be flexible.
    Nursing is unlike other professions. You must work holidays, weekends and nights. Fresh out of school, you may not be able to land a job in a hospital working on the day shift. Keep this in mind. As flexible as you were in nursing school, is as flexible as you need to be once you’re looking for work. Nursing is one of those jobs that operates 24 hours. There will always be a need during natural disasters, holidays, weekends etc. Hospitals don’t close just because a hurricane is coming *FYI.*

All in all, be positive. Take these tips I’ve offered you and keep applying! Don’t be discouraged. Keep moving forward.

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How I went from video modeling to nursing

So I was 21 at the time, a full time waitress at Hooters. I made great money. I worked for tips, about 4-5 days per week. My hair, nails and makeup were always on point. It was easy. Act friendly with customers, take their orders, cash them out and earn my tips. I spent 9 months at Hooters, and even gained my own “regulars.”

My trick was getting the customers to like me. Which was fairly easy. Even after messing up their orders every now and then, I still earned a decent tip just from giving a pleasant smile. During this time, I also found myself attending castings, hosting parties, booking photoshoots and videos. While modeling, the key for me was to take advantage every opportunity to network with others in the business. I soon became one of the new upcoming haitian models in South Florida, and that was an honor for me.

So how did I go from dressing cute and prissy to nursing? Well.

One day I seemed to have some sort of epiphany.

filepI was literally at work one day, and said to myself, “Vanessa, you’re smarter than this.” The thoughts began to cross my mind that I couldn’t do this forever.

That was enough to get me to start thinking about my future and getting something under my belt. See, I was 21 years old and a college drop-out. I only took one semester of college courses when I was 18, and stopped attending after a few weeks. So, those 4 classes that I enrolled in, I received “F.” I spent the next 3 years going from one odd job to the next. First, a legal assistant at a law firm, then a customer service rep for a windows and door company, then a call center representative for a mobile phone company and before you know it– Hooters. Sure, I made decent money out of all of the jobs that I had, but I wanted more.

My mom saw an advertisement in the newspaper for a nursing school about 20 minutes from our house. So there I went. I applied for the CNA program (4 weeks).

I said wow, only 4 weeks to become a Nurse??

IMG02486-20111118-1137Sign me up NOW! Little did I know, it was not what I thought. I learned the basic skills like how to take vital signs, give a bed bath, measure intake and output for patients with foley catheters. Anyway, I did complete the course but never went to take the board exam. I was terrified the day we entered clinicals and I saw what life would really be like working as a CNA. I don’t knock anyone who works as a CNA, but I couldn’t see myself working so hard like that. Instead, I applied for the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program, and the rest is history.
IMG02481-20111118-0801I fell in love with learning about the human body. I fell in love with nursing and everything it stood for. Being the patients advocate. Being the eyes and ears to the doctor. Actually making a difference and not just serving wings and fries. So I spent the next 12 months focusing on the LPN program. All while appearing in some of your favorite artists videos. Yes, thats right, I needed a way to make

money while I went through this “career change.” I appeared in many videos and worked with several artists during this time including: Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Sean Garrett, Pitbull, Wale and Rick Ross to name a few.

It was all worth it, because in the end it landed me the opportunity to make money with my brain– not just my body.