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Tales of a First-Year Nurse: The Road to Employment
For Chamberlain College of Nursing alumna Bunmi Cordero, RN, it was the moment that everything fell into place. While sitting in new-employee orientation, she received word that she had passed the NCLEX.
“I remember being in orientation and telling them they could change me from GN [graduate nurse] to RN,” she said. “It was a very defining moment.”
Cordero, who holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in finance, worked as an accountant for 10 years before she realized that she wanted more. She decided to pursue her dream of becoming a labor and delivery nurse.
“I enjoyed accounting, but once I started having kids I just wanted something different that would afford me time with my family and to stay home with my kids as well,” she said.
In her final year at Chamberlain’s Houston campus, Cordero landed an externship at Houston Methodist, an opportunity that only 16 nursing students in the Houston area received. Cordero was a volunteer at the hospital and was encouraged to apply for their externship posting online. To her delight, she was placed in labor and delivery, but the post didn't come without challenges.
“The challenge was trying to balance family, nursing school and doing an externship all together,” she said. “But thankfully I have an amazing husband that fills in the gaps and took care of our children when I was out.”
Cordero advises other students to consider externships as an opportunity to hone nursing skills and knowledge, while also gaining entry into the professional nursing field.
“Get into an externship,” she said. “Yes, it might be challenging to add one extra thing to the craziness of nursing school, but in the end it does pay off.”
For Cordero, it meant a job offer at the hospital before her graduation in March 2013.
“It was a very easy transition because I knew the unit, I knew the people and I knew the culture of the unit,” she said.
As a new nurse, Cordero is put where she is needed most. Some months, she works day shifts and others she works night shifts. This frequent change in schedule has been tough to manage, but the support of her team has helped her adjust.
“You really do have to work as a team,” she said. “It’s actually near impossible to be successful without collaborating and working together. “I feel truly blessed because the nurses there want to see you succeed.”
The nurses want what is best for the patients, Cordero says, and will step up to assist team members when needed. The team-oriented approach to patient care at Houston Methodist extends to physicians as well, she said.
“We work together to collaborate, not only with the nurses, but also the doctors,” she said. “On our unit, I feel so comfortable calling any of the doctors to talk to them about my patient.”
If there’s one thing to live by as a newly graduated nurse, it’s to always remain open to learning and never think you know it all, says Cordero.
“I will take that with me throughout my nursing career,” she said. “Wherever I’m at, I don’t know it all—there is always something new to learn."
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