2nd Annual Nursing Networking Night: From Graduation to Occupation

On Monday. February 22, 2016 – 6pm – 9pm – I had the opportunity to attend the second annual Nursing Network Night at Ryerson University – “From Graduation to Occupation”, hosted by the Nursing Course Union and Canadian Nursing Students Association (NCU-CNSA). This event began last year as a way to engage nursing students at Ryerson to be more involved, engaged, and take initiative in their career and professional development. It turned out to be highly successful in 2015 and garnered a lot of positive feedback from attendees. So this year, they announced their second event in order to continue encouraging nursing students at Ryerson to facilitate a smooth transition from graduation to occupation.

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The evening began with a few words of welcome from representatives from both NCU and CNSA. Then we jumped straight into a few words from a representative at Ryerson’s Career Centre, who shed some light on the basics of Networking. She was able to teach us the ins and outs of the process of networking – the do’s and don’ts, and the how to’s. She was also there to advocate and speak for the resource available on campus that is Ryerson’s Career Centre. The Career Centre is a highly valuable resource for Ryerson Students when in the pursuit if a job or to help facilitate an easier transition post-graduation to work and career life. They help students with things like making the ideal cover letter and resume, building your LinkedIn profile, interview tips and practice, etc. If you’re ever in need for great ways to build and improve your professional self, you can find Ryerson’s Career Centre at POD60 (located just below The Hub).

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After the presentation from Ryerson’s Career Centre, a couple of speakers who were Ryerson Nursing Alumni, spoke about their own personal stories and their journeys. They shed some light and inspiration as they talked about the different ways in which they were able to reach their goals of becoming an registered nurse (RN). This portion of the evening was especially helpful for the nursing student attendees as we were able to truly relate to these alumni, knowing that not too long ago, they, too, were in the same situation that we currently are in. Their stories of their journeys were captivating, motivating, and inspiring. It truly highlighted how personal the process is of becoming an RN and how nursing students can better prepare themselves for not just a job, but a long-lasting and fulfilling career.

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After the presentation from the alumni speakers, the evening moved forward to the dinner, graciously supplied by Chipotle.

After dinner was the highlight of the night: the Q&A panel. NCU-CNSA was able to get nursing managers from the major hospitals in the downtown to represent each hospital organization, and answer any questions we may have. The nursing managers and representatives came from Michael Garron Hospital (formerly known as TEGH – Toronto East General Hospital), UHN (University Health Network – comprised of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre), and The Hospital for Sick Children. The line up of panellists truly excited the nursing students in the room – the majority of whom eager to work for such established and world-renowned organizations. The Q&A panel was the opportunity of the night to ask any and every question running through every nursing student’s mind.

“What is the ideal candidate for you?”

“What kinds of people do you prefer to hire – internal or external applicants?”

“What are the different kinds of interviews you conduct?”

“Do you hire applicants prior to completion of graduation and/or NCLEX examination?”

“How do you build a strong mentor relationship?”

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Needless to say, the Q&A of highly experienced registered nurses in executive positions within the most renowned hospitals in the country, did nothing short of answering each questions with clarity and efficiency. Not only did they answer questions well to the highest degree, they also offered valuable insight and advice as to how to begin your career as an RN. They were more than generous with their time and their thoughts on how to transition from a nursing student, graduate nursing student, to RN. The panellists were gracious and true role models for each nursing student attendee in the room.

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The night was a great success, as anticipated! Everything went smoothly, all in attendance enjoyed themselves, and nursing students were able to connect with their peers and their prospective employers. We learned how to market ourselves in the health care industry, how to appeal to employers and organizations, and how to prepare ourselves for the near future.

Job Hunting Tips

Photograph of a woman looking at the career section of a news paper

Looking for a job can sometimes be as much work as having a full time job. There are a few tips and suggestions which can make this process a little less painful.

First, apply for everything. Even if the position is one in which you aren’t completely sure that you qualify for. It’s great practice to tailor your resume and cover letter which will make it easier to do in the future. Also, you never know who else is applying and perhaps you are more skilled than you think. I have noticed that sometimes organizations create a wish list for a job description and will accept other skills if they feel the person is a fit with their organization.

Try not to get discouraged if you don’t receive feedback from your resumes. There are many other people who are also looking for work and you never know how many people have applied for the same position. I recently had an interview, months after sending in my resume, it was a small organization and had received hundreds of resumes. This can make it time consuming for the organization to sort through and get back to applicants. If it is a job that you are particularly interested in, you could always follow up with an email.

Once you have heard back and are scheduled for an interview, PREPARE. Don’t get too stressed about the preparation, but ensure that you know about the organization. Spend time going over their website and get to know their history and mission. See if you can find any other information about the company online.

Think about questions that could be asked of you in the interview. While it seems easy to talk about yourself, it isn’t always that easy if you are feeling nervous. There are many sites online which can offer you sample interview questions and suggested answers. It can be helpful to review the questions, but instead really think about how you would answer those question and practice if necessary.Here are a few of questions which I have noticed in many of my recent interviews.

  1. What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
  2. What is your greatest strength/weakness?
  3. How do you react to stress/conflict?
  4. Why are you interested in working for this organization/leaving where you work now?

It is also a good idea to think of questions that you would like the answer too. Remember that interviews are a two way street and you need to learn if you are interested in the job. Here are a couple of questions worth asking.

  1. What would the day to day responsibilities of the position look like?
  2. What is the organizational structure?

Don’t be afraid to ask the more difficult questions as they may impact your decision.

  1. How flexible is the pay range?
  2. How much room is their in the organization for upward mobility?

Try to view the process as a learning experience and even if you say something you regret in an interview don’t judge yourself too harshly. The worst that can happen is you won’t hear back.

‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

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What are we going to do after graduation? Will we dive into the working force and put what we have learned at Ryerson to good use? Or will we decide a career path that is completely different of what we studied? Will we achieve our career goals of becoming a teacher, engineer, psychologist, nurse, accountant and so forth? Unfortunately I don’t have the answer for you. What you decide to do after graduation is up to you (except in circumstances such as lack of specific job opportunities etc.). When I began my studies in Early Childhood Education (ECE), I had plans of becoming a director/owner of a childcare centre. I wanted to work in the public sector in order to provide accessible childcare to disadvantaged families. What am I doing today? I am currently working at a private child care centre providing education and care to preschoolers of families that can afford to send their child to the centre. We don’t always achieve the career goals we hope to. It takes time and experience to gain a good footing in the career path we choose. Not only am I working in a different sector than I had hoped, but my dreams of being a director have shifted greatly since learning about other aspects of childcare through my studies and after gaining more experience in both the public and private sectors through school placements and employment.

So what does it all mean? Am I a sellout for working for a private organization rather than the public where I am supporting a variety of families from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds due to subsidized care? I think if I answered ‘yes’ to this I would be being a little too hard on myself. The working field is not as accessible as it used to be. Especially being a recent grad, you want to choose a job that is of interest to you, but you may also need to be flexible and choose a job, even if it’s temporary, that is at least available when you need it.

Our interests are constantly changing. Through my experiences, my interests shifted from childcare to child therapy and taking a more mental health perspective on childcare. Is it scary to choose a different profession half way through your undergraduate studies? Yes. But does it mean you have to change majors? Not necessarily. I did my research and realized that the ECE background would always be beneficial to have when working with a child population regardless of whether or not it is specific to childcare. I also realized that completing a Masters in Social Work and pairing that with ECE would bring me to fulfil my new dream of becoming a child and family psychotherapist.

With that said, it is never too late to change your mind. Education itself is never a waste. When I look at how many friends of mine graduated from one program and are in a completely different line of work, it’s a relief to know that as our interests change, so can our jobs. Think back to your preschool days and what your response was when a teacher or parent asked you, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ Did you end up going to school to fulfil that dream of becoming a veterinarian, a fighter fighter, a doctor or a teacher? Many of you will answer ‘no’ because what we wanted when we were preschoolers is usually very different than what we want in university and the same goes for completing our undergrad to our interests upon graduation. So forget regret, dive into a job you want, or something that will fulfil you for the time being until you figure out your dreams. Nothing is set in stone.

Image from: http://missingsecrettoparenting.com/grow

Fun Happenings at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Toronto-convention-center

Toronto Vintage Clothing Show Sunday March 23, 2014

Want something fun to do on a Sunday afternoon? Check out the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show at the MTCC for some fashion finds! This show is great for men and women looking for vintage clothing and accessories that go beyond that of the traditional Queen Street or Kensington vintage shopping. Vendors from all over Canada will be presenting their authentic and chic apparel in every price range. Love name brands?  You got it! Love flapper dresses from the 20s? This is just for you! Spend a day travelling back in time and be a witness to the fashion modeled in the 20s, 30s, 40s and right up until the 90s for only $10.00.

Below you will find a $2.00 discount coupon to the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show.

http://www.torontovintageclothingshow.ca/pages/6821–2-00-off-discount-coupon

http://www.torontovintageclothingshow.ca/

 

The Yoga ConferenceFriday March 28th-Sunday March 30th 2014

For a minimal 15$, you can spend all three days of this conference gaining more knowledge on yoga practice, stress relief, deep breathing and all things yoga. There will be over 250 exhibitors and 80 master yoga teachers present within the three-day conference. There will also be over 70 classes offered during the conference. In the Yoga Garden Area, there will be classes on various yoga topics such as yoga secrets for releasing stress, Bollywood and Bhangra dance and Yin Yang infusion. In the Cultural Arts Area, there will be classes on yoga for addictions, Kundalini Trance Dance and Mantra Chants and a Kids Mandala Workshop. In addition to classes, various exhibitors will be selling yoga gear such as yoga “jellies”, yoga towels, yoga mats, yoga apparel etc. Feeling Zen? Then this is the show for you!

http://www.theyogaconference.com/toronto/index.php

 

The National Job Fair and Training Expo Wednesday April 2nd-Thursday April 3rd 2014

Are you in the midst of graduating and contemplating potential employment opportunities? This expo might be for you! This career fair will provide you the opportunity to meet with various recruiters, career service agents and admissions officers from a variety of different fields all over Canada. This expo will provide knowledgeable information of the career possibilities that are out there today in addition to personal encounters with important personnel that could lead to potential employment. In addition to learning about various companies and what they have to offer, you can also have your resume critiqued and undergo a career development assessment at no cost.  So what are you waiting for?

http://www.thenationaljobfair.com/n/en/home/

Address: The Metro Toronto Convention Centre

255 Front Street West

Toronto ON, M5V 2W6

Union Station subway stop

 

Sources:

http://www.mtccc.com/?m=0&t=0&c=1

Image from: http://gethiredca.blogspot.ca/2013/03/torontos-biggest-job-fair.html

Job Hunting and Interview Skills

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Looking for a job can sometimes be as much work as having a full time job.  There are a few tips and suggestions which can make this process a little less painful.

First, apply for everything.  Even if the position is one in which you aren’t completely sure that you qualify for.  It’s great practice to tailor your resume and cover letter which will make it easier to do in the future.  Also, you never know who else is applying and perhaps you are more skilled than you think.  I have noticed that sometimes organizations create a wish list for a job description and will accept other skills if they feel the person is a fit with their organization.

Try not to get discouraged if you don’t receive feedback from your resumes.  There are many other people who are also looking for work and you never know how many people have applied for the same position.  I recently had an interview, months after sending in my resume, it was a small organization and had received hundreds of resumes.  This can make it time consuming for the organization to sort through and get back to applicants.  If it is a job that you are particularly interested in, you could always follow up with an email.

Once you have heard back and are scheduled for an interview, PREPARE.  Don’t get too stressed about the preparation, but ensure that you know about the organization.  Spend time going over their website and get to know their history and mission.  See if you can find any other information about the company online.

Think about questions that could be asked of you in the interview.  While it seems easy to talk about yourself, it isn’t always that easy if you are feeling nervous.  There are many sites online which can offer you sample interview questions and suggested answers.  It can be helpful to review the questions, but instead really think about how you would answer those question and practice if necessary.  Here are a few of questions which I have noticed in many of my recent interviews.

  • What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
  • What is your greatest strength/weakness?
  • How do you react to stress/conflict?
  • Why are you interested in working for this organization/leaving where you work now?

It is also a good idea to think of questions that you would like the answer too.  Remember that interviews are a two way street and you need to learn if you are interested in the job.  Here are a couple of questions worth asking.

  • What would the day to day responsibilities of the position look like?
  • What is the organizational structure?

Don’t be afraid to ask the more difficult questions as they may impact your decision.

  • How flexible is the pay range?
  • How much room is their in the organization for upward mobility?

Try to view the process as a learning experience and even if you say something you regret in an interview don’t judge yourself too harshly.  The worst that can happen is you won’t hear back.