Tips and Advice for Going from LPN to BSN

Job Application Tips for Going From LPN to BSN

Nursing interview tips graphic.There are tons of great tips out there for LPNs making the transition to an RN position. For example, there are resume examples to fill out on Monster.com. There are job interviews to watch on YouTube. There's a whole community of experienced RNs at AllNurses.com. We combed through tons of interviews and found a particularly helpful “AMA” on a Reddit forum for nurses. AMA is short for “ask me anything”. The post was created by a nursing recruiter, who asked new nurses to “ask him anything” they wanted. Making the transition from LPN to BSN doesn’t have to be hard with this great advice.

Q: “What should a new nurse put in an email to a recruiter to catch attention?”

A: “What I really look for is grammatical errors and spelling errors; I want to see that the person has really been thorough before sending me something. Just as I would want them to be thorough with our patients and patient family members.”

Q: “I’ve had difficulty finding a job. My interviews were short, and I feel I didn’t have enough time to impress my interviewer. What can I do to practice interviewing?”

A: “Google search behavioral interviewing, many recruiters use this and if you can teach yourself how to answer a question the way they want to hear it – you can wow them with your interview skills. Often times, the questions sound simple but what the recruiter is doing is seeing if you can give me a full and complete answer; once that involves a situation at hand, an action you performed and the reaction of the patient.”

Q: “What can a new grad do to stand out?”

A: “New grads, to me at least, stand out when they come to the office with energy. When they are smiling and appear to be ready to work. Although this is the most stressful time in your life, many recruiters look for people who they want to take care of their parents.”

Q: “What are the characteristics of the most promising nurse you’ve ever hired?”

A: “I love this question. I cannot say nurse, but I once hired a CNA who went on to be an RN, then to be a Manager, then to be a Director and then to VP of Nursing. Let me tell you, she called me on her second week of work (she was a CNA at this point by the way) and told me that she had asked a patient if she needed anything to be more comfortable and the patient said “actually, I wish I could wash my feet, even though I've bathed, I still feel dirty.” So she took the patient and washed her feet in a basin. The patient started to cry and she asked the employee asked if she was hurting her. The patient said “no, I just feel really loved.” This to me, is the perfect nurse. Someone who can tell you a story that really emits the love for the patient and for the fellow human being. Health care is very much about customer service and recruiters are looking for people who want to help people. If you go into an interview, make sure you’re talking about patients and patient needs.”

Q: “What would make you hire a new grad?”

A: “A lot of things make me want to hire a new grad. I love what I do so I usually connect with my applicants – I root for them. At the end of the day, it's more so up to the people who ask them their clinical questions. All I can do is pass them on (if they interview well.) Honestly, go into an interview with honesty. Talk about patients, or talk about your worse patient and how you turned it around. Go into your interview smiling and ready to work. Make sure you’re dressed for an interview and look professional. And if you want, send a little thank you note in the mail after. This small gesture has made me pull resumes from “maybes” to “yes.” It just shows that little extra effort that this applicant has the passion for this position not just the qualifications.”

Many of these questions and answers are paraphrased – so we encourage you to read the full thread. All of the advice for newly graduated nurses can apply for any LPN to BSN program graduate.

Online vs Paper RN Job Inquiries

The healthcare world can sometimes be slow to pick up on technology. The government only started requiring that patient records be kept digitally with a federal mandate in 2013. However, hospitals and clinics have been posting jobs online for many years. It’s become the main method for applying to a position. Some employers have even removed paper applications completely. For this reason, it’s highly suggested that you begin looking for employment online, rather than in person. Online applications offer a variety of advantages, including…

  • The ability to apply to many places at once without ever leaving your home.
  • The flexibility to fill out the application at your own pace.
  • Big savings on gas – no driving around to places that may or may not hire you.
  • No chances of your application getting lost or misplaced like paperwork.

Depending on where you want to work, you may want to stick to online applications exclusively. If you want to work in a small, family run clinic you may want to seek employment in person. There are rare cases in which you can apply in person, interview that day, and immediately get hired. These opportunities are becoming smaller as time goes on. If you want to get hired in a hospital, you will almost always need to apply online. Sometimes, even if you try to ask for an application in person, they will turn you away and tell you to apply online. In addition to this, websites like LinkedIn can offer a great advantage for new nurses.

How to Finish a Nursing Job Application

Blue quote graphic with text.The only downside to online applications is that they are generally very lengthy. You will often answer the same questions on every application that you complete – which can make the process seem to drag on. On top of this, you must always complete an application completely, or risk being passed up for another candidate. Make sure that you always fill out the application completely and truthfully. It is actually illegal to lie on a resume. To make the application process easier, make sure you have all your information with you before you start. You will need..

  • Your nursing license, including the date it was issued, the date it expires, and the actual license number.
  • Any recommendation letters you may have received from previous employers for your LPN to BSN transition.
  • All information relating to certifications you may have.
  • Your social security card, or number if you have it memorized.
  • A digital copy of your resume.

The rest of the information that you need for an application will depend on the facility. Generally, you will already know how to fill those sections out without extra paperwork. After you’ve finished an application you just need to wait for the employer to contact you with further details.

Ellen Garmon

About Ellen Garmon

Officially, I'm a writer. Unofficially, I connect people with each other in honest, unique, and beautiful ways.