How to leverage your training as a nurse into a new career

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Nurses who want to change their careers have many opportunities. Your skills as a bedside nurse are transferable to many professionsÂ?both inside and outside of healthcare. MedZilla explores several opportunitiesÂ?from nurse leadership roles to pharmaceutical and medical devise salesÂ?and why a nursing background will make your resume stand out.

How to leverage your training as a nurse into a new career

Marysville, WA (PRWEB) March 26, 2004--When it comes to marketing your skills for a career change, your nursing background may be more valuable than you might realize.

Kate Christmas says nursing has opened all sorts of doors for her, since she became a registered nurse in 1976. Christmas was attracted to trauma nursing and worked for five years as a flight nurse. She wanted a change and went into a managerial position as a nightshift supervisor at a hospital. When family obligations made it necessary for her to get a daytime job, she became a nurse at a surgery center. A few years later, an advertisement for a job as a nurse recruiter at a hospital caught her fancy, so she applied.

“Healthcare recruitment was something I had never thought of or even knew was a possibility when I went into nursing as a career,” Christmas says.

Still, she got the job because she knew what it was like to work for a hospital, understood nursing roles and had good communication skills. Today, Christmas is vice president of the Health Care Division at Bernard Hodes Group. She consults with hospital and health system human resources departments about how to improve recruiting and retention strategies.

“The things that nurses always have to think about are the two magic words: transferable skills,” Christmas says. “Our training is so wonderful and practical in every aspect of life. You don’t want to wait until you’re burned out [to change jobs or careers] because when you are you lose enthusiasm. What you want to always keep alive is your enthusiasm. If you’re an enthusiastic person, and you present yourself in a positive way, I would say the sky is the limit to what you can do.”

Jacqueline Haas, RN, BSN, agrees. Haas used her background as a cardiac and critical care nurse to catapult her from bedside care into the sales arena. She got her first job in sales with a company that sold disposable medical supplies. Haas says her skills made her the valuable choice for the job. After all, she was experienced with using disposable supplies, could multitask and manage time well, and was skilled at dealing with different types of people—from patients and their families to physicians and other healthcare providers.

Now, as manager of clinical sales at Ibex Health Data Systems, a software company, Haas says that the combination of sales and clinical experience helped her land her latest post. “My message to fellow nurses is to get the clinical experience and the avenues will open up. Nursing opens up a tremendous amount of opportunities, and you can decide what path you want to go down.”

There are many reasons nurses might be ready for change, according to Deborah Brown, author of Coach Yourself to a New Career: A Guide for Discovering Your Ultimate Profession. “…you graduated from a program and now you are ready for something bigger; you feel like you have learned all you can in your present position and you want to learn something new; you have always wanted to go into a certain area and now the opportunity has arisen; you saw a job advertised online and you new it would be perfect for you…,” she says.

Brown suggests that if you’re feeling the itch to make a change, search for your own inner clarity and direction. Find out what your options are before you are completely ready to leave your current job. Talk to people in those roles and do some soul searching to determine which careers seem to capitalize on what you like to do. Identify companies that you’d want to work for, research their needs and network.

Nursing is one of today’s most versatile careers, says Frank Heasley, PhD, president and CEO of MedZilla.com, a leading Internet recruitment and professional community that serves biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and science. “I think it’s because the people who are successful in nursing have a caring attitude, so they truly want to be helpful and assist people, making them ideal from a customer service standpoint.”

According to Dr. Heasley, the professional world has many opportunities. You might want a change within the profession. If you’re a staff nurse, that could mean getting additional training to specialize in an area of medicine or go into advanced practice. Alternatively, you could find clinical research or academia more in line with what you want to do for the foreseeable future. Or, like Haas, the financial potential and challenge of biotech or pharmaceutical sales might be the answer.

Craig Fowler, associate partner, Lucas Group, an Atlanta, Ga.-based executive recruiting firm, says staff nurses often seek advancement to management level positions. These leadership roles, he says, require clinical as well as leadership skills. If you’re thinking about moving into management, gain leadership experience where you can (in volunteer or professional positions) and consider taking a leadership course.

Fowler also notes that nurses are often attracted to medical and pharma sales. “I have a colleague who just had an opportunity for a nurse at a medical device company,” he says.

While pharmaceutical sales tend to be an easy transition for many nurses, Fowler says that nurses are often caring and compassionate and sales is more a tough, cutthroat environment. You can use your strengths to overcome your lack of sales experience by emphasizing your ability to work with physicians (or the buyers of medications) and speak intelligently about medical products and medications.

“We find that nurses’ skills come in handy in just about every job type,” says Michele Groutage, MedZilla’s director of marketing. “Sometimes it just takes a little tweaking to meet your career objectives.”

About MedZilla.com

Established in mid 1994, MedZilla is the original web site to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare. MedZilla databases contain about 10,000 open positions, 13,000 resumes from candidates actively seeking new positions and 71,000 archived resumes.

Medzilla® is a Registered Trademark owned by Medzilla Inc. Copyright ©2004, MedZilla, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this text in its entirety, and if electronically, with a link to the URL http://www.medzilla.com. For permission to quote from or reproduce any portion of this message, please contact Michele Groutage, Director of Marketing and Development, MedZilla, Inc. Email: mgroutage@medzilla.com.

Press Inquiries:

Contact: Michele Groutage

Company: MedZilla, Inc.

Title: Director of Marketing & Development

Phone: 360-657-5681

Email: mgroutage@medzilla.com

URL: http://www.medzilla.com

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Michele Groutage