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So I passed the NCLEX, now what?

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

What we will cover…

  1. How to search for new grad positions

  2. Should you do a nurse residency program?

  3. Questions to ask in your interview

If you are finishing nursing school or about to take the NCLEX, you  are probably thinking about where you are going to start working. Your first job is so important and while you can ALWAYS switch jobs, it has a big influence on your career. 

A few places that are easiest to search for jobs are indeed, linkedin and hospitals websites. Something you’ll want to look for is a new grad specific position or CNI. Many specialties will hire new grads so really go where you think is the best fit for you! Long gone are the days where nurses believe that you need to start in med surg, start where YOU feel passionate and excited. 

Nurse residency programs are one way to get into a hospital and get support and experience. 

Nurse residency programs are normally 6-12 months and include classes that support your learning as a new grad nurse. Most hospitals require nurses to go through these and this can be a way to find jobs. You will apply specifically to that hospital's new grad nurse residency program. 

Benefits include a group of your peers that support you on your journey, usually a mentor and extra education. 

Cons include lower pay, extra required classes on top of work and not all residencies are created equal. 

What to look for in your first job 

A hospital's leadership, morale and how they treat their employees are more important than choosing a specific specialty that you love.This may be an unpopular opinion, but it is much easier to transfer units in an organization that values you then it is to love your specialty, but feel unsupported and unsafe. 

Make sure you are interviewing the unit and organization when they are interviewing you! Ask questions. Some good questions could be

  1. How is the unit culture here? Do people get along?

  2. How often are  PTO requests honored (this is huge because as hospitals  are short staffed some may not allow. 

  3. What  is the retention rate? How many nurses actually stay on this unit or at this organization?

You get to decide where you work and what you want your nursing career to look like! For years we  were told that we had to start in med surg and that just isn't the case. Nursing has unlimited opportunities and you should never stay in a job that  you don't love!

Key Points:

  1. There are pros and cons to a nurse residency program

  2. Pick a job based off of the hospitals culture and how they treat staff

  3. Ask questions when you interview!

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