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Recently, AUHS had the privilege of hosting an employer panel featuring medical professionals in charge of the hiring process for their companies, hospitals, and organizations as they shared with our students valuable insight on what employers look for when hiring new nurses. Before the panel discussion began, the event started out with an amazing presentation from Deborah Collins from the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. The presentation was full of sage advice, interesting anecdotes, and useful takeaways for students on the verge of starting their professional nursing careers. Below are some highlights from Mrs. Collins’ presentation.

Deborah Collins’ Advice for Graduating Students

Deborah Collins

Deborah Collins
Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services

Deborah started her speech by addressing a concern that is common among graduating nursing students – “will I be able to find a job straight out of college?”. There is certainly the perception that finding a position as a nurse with minimal experience is incredibly difficult, however, Deborah explains that there are plenty of places more than willing to hire graduates, saying, “I want to tell you that there’s a lot of us that will hire new grads. In the City of Long Beach, in the past two years, we’ve hired seven brand new grads and we’ve hired two at the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services where I work. I work in public health. And we’ve hired two in our jail. So there are jobs out there, and I’m sure you’ll hear from our other panelists about other jobs where they will take new grads, because you have to get experience. If you think about all of us here, we were all new grads … a long time ago, but we were all new grads, too, and somebody hired us, and we had that experience, and now we’re in. So we understand where you were and where you’re coming from, because we were there, too.”

Of course, finding a quality position that you enjoy as a nurse – whether you’re a new grad or not – still requires some strategy and effort. Deborah explained that much of this effort has to do with finding the area that you are passionate about and taking every opportunity that you have available to learn about your field.

The number of job opportunities that having a degree in nursing opens up is incredibly wide-ranging. From working as a private nurse for a single patient to working in public health helping an entire community, from working with babies taking their first breath to elderly patients taking their last, the spectrum of positions available to talented nurses is incredibly broad. As Deborah explains, having success as a nurse is all about finding the area that you are most passionate about and pursuing a position in that area with all of your abilities.

What Nursing Career Options Are There for Me?

Internal Medicine
Intensive Care
Burn Care

Primary Care/Family Practice
Adult Health/Geriatrics
Child/Adolescent Health Pediatrics
Renal Dialysis
Private Duty

Mrs. Collins also talked about the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity that you have available to learn more about the nursing field and gain experience, saying at one point, “So you might not get the diamond job the first time out, but take the gold job because it’ll lead you to the diamond job. So do the best that you can do and take the job that helps you. My worst experiences have taught me the most and helped me the best.”

What ATYPICAL Career Options Exist In Nursing?

Flight Medicine, Health Care Informatics, Epidemiology, Research, Home Health, Hospice, HIV/Infectious Disease, Corrections/Jail, Industrial/Occupational Health, Federal Health, Paramedic, Forensics, Behavioral/Mental Health, Public/Community Health, Legal, Leadership /Administrative Nurse, Case Manager, Cruise Ship, Quality Management, Research, Medical Journalist, Military

We would like to thank Mrs. Collins for such an extensive and insightful presentation and all of the wisdom that she was generous enough to impart. By sharing her experience in the field, Deborah was able to help our students learn from both her triumphs and setbacks as they begin their own journey into their nursing careers.