Newly qualified nurses

Don’t get too anxious about finding your first job

When Georgina O’Reilly-Foley wasn’t offered any jobs at the end of her placements during training she started to lose hope. But she now has a job she loves, and her advice to others is don’t give up if you are finding it hard.

When Georgina O’Reilly-Foley wasn’t offered any jobs at the end of her placements during training, she started to lose hope. But she now has a job she loves, and her advice to others is don’t give up if you are finding it hard

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Georgina O’Reilly-Foley at work. Picture: Tim George

As a nursing student I was never offered a job at the end of a placement. I worked hard, and took every opportunity that came my way, but the offers never came.

When I talked to fellow students who had already been offered jobs I started to think I was not worth the chance. My qualification was approaching fast, and I started to feel anxious.

This was compounded when I heard my peers say: ‘I have only been there four weeks and have already been offered a job’ or ‘my current placement will take me on straight after qualifying, the team cannot wait for me to start’.

Increasing stress

Your third year of training is a stressful time, and the thought of not having a job after three years of hard work only adds to this.

To take my mind off things, I worked a bank shift as a healthcare assistant in the emergency department where I had done my critical care placement. I had always been made to feel welcome, and everyone was keen to teach and support one another.

I soon realised that this was where I wanted to work, but because my confidence was low I thought there was no way they would take me. How could I keep up with the pace? So when one of the charge nurses asked me when I was coming to work with them as a qualified nurse, I was completely taken aback.

Sharing stories

I have been an emergency department nurse for three months now, and have already learned so much, from both patients and staff. The patients have trusted me to care for them, letting me into their lives and sharing their stories with me, and the staff have supported and helped me immensely.

The teamwork in the emergency department is amazing. We all share the same aim of keeping patients safe and calm while delivering the best possible care we can, often under difficult circumstances. This is what nursing is all about – rapport, teamwork and advocacy.

Through the support I received from colleagues, I soon realised that my worries about finding a job had been blown completely out of proportion. So if you don’t have lots of offers from wards you are not intending to work on, don’t panic. I found my ideal job, and even if it takes a bit of time, you will find yours.


Georgina O’Reilly-Foley is a staff nurse in an emergency department

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