After completing your coursework, the next step to becoming an employed nursing assistant is to find employment opportunities. You can use local resources, such as newspapers or workforce entities, websites, or social media pages of local health care facilities, or conduct your own search online. After you have completed your clinical experiences, keep in mind the type of facility you prefer to work in and seek out those opportunities for greater job satisfaction. As discussed in “The Survey Process” subsection of this chapter, you can review the survey data of nursing homes to determine their current quality ratings. It is also important to consider staffing ratios when applying for a job. Staffing ratios refer to the number of patients assigned each shift to nurses and nursing aides. Working for a facility with good staffing ratios can positively impact your stress level and work-life balance, making this an important characteristic to consider.
You should create a resume to submit with your job application. A resume is a factual presentation of yourself that lists your various skills and accomplishments. The goal of your resume is to make an employer want to interview you. Your resume should include your contact information, education, licenses or certifications, and your work experience. You can include skills attained during your nursing assistant training that will pertain directly to the position for which you are applying. You may want to add any honors, awards, or volunteer experiences that would be helpful in highlighting your skills for the position you are seeking. You should also have 2-3 professional references available. References are people who have supervised you in previous jobs or instructors who have observed your skills. Be sure to ask individuals if you can use them as a reference before giving their contact information to your prospective employer.
When you receive a request from a potential employer for an interview, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself. Look at the job description and be able to specifically state how you can meet the requirements of the job. It is helpful to have someone ask you practice questions. During an interview you are also considering if the facility is a good fit for you. You may want to consider asking for a tour of the facility to observe the environment. Think of questions you want to know about the job such as the following:
- How long is the orientation period?
- What hours will I be expected to work?
- How will I be evaluated?
On the day of the interview, be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes early and have your cell phone silenced. When you meet the person with whom you will interview, make good eye contact and shake hands if appropriate. Speak confidently and truthfully about your abilities. Additionally, you should follow these grooming guidelines:
- Shower, brush your teeth, groom your hair, and trim your nails.
- Wear clean, professional attire without wrinkles, words, or logos.
- If you wear a skirt or dress, make sure it is knee-length or below.
- Do not wear shorts or jeans.
- Wear closed-toed shoes that are in good condition.
- Keep makeup and jewelry to a minimum.
- Use deodorant but no cologne or perfume.
These are all grooming expectations of health care professionals, and it is important to display these qualities the first time you meet your prospective employer.
After you are hired, refer to the areas discussed in “Communication Within the Health Care Team” to meet the needs of your residents and build professional relationships with other staff. Based on the facility’s policies, you will have periodic evaluations with your supervisor to discuss your job performance. It is good to reflect on your own performance before the evaluation and be open to any opportunities discussed to improve your care. Be sure to keep your certification and any other training requirements current so you do not have a lapse in your availability to your residents and peers.
Being a caregiver and helping others can be extremely rewarding, but at times it can also be challenging. Be sure to take care of yourself by getting proper rest, exercise, and nutritional intake. If you don’t feel well, you can’t take care of others. Refer to information on “Dealing With Stress” in Chapter 1 as to how you can keep yourself mentally healthy to meet the demands of your job.
- Chippewa Valley Technical College. (n.d.). Career planning. https://www.cvtc.edu/experience-cvtc/student-services/career-planning ↵
The number of patients assigned each shift to nurses and nursing aides.
A factual presentation of yourself that lists your various skills and accomplishments.