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APRN Student out of a PRN Nursing Job — Now What?

Jun 10, 2020
Michelle Woo, MS, MPH, BSN, RN

January 2020 — It’s my final semester in my APRN graduate program. With the excitement of completion comes impending costs for registering for boards, state licensure, NPI number & DEA number, and graduation. Suddenly, COVID-19 hits and stay at home orders begin. 

As a full time APRN student, I relied on my outpatient PRN job to pay for personal expenses and help pay for the expenses mentioned above. When COVID-19 hit the United States, my job became nonexistent. Long gone were the days where I would receive phone calls at 6am, asking if I could come into work that day.

As a working APRN student, I dealt with multiple stressors during previous semesters. Whether it’s an exam, project, work, clinical practice and scheduling (including last-minute changes), or just life in general, stress levels were regularly high. 

However, having no job in the middle of a pandemic can add a whole new level of stress. 

It may even be a tipping point. So, what can you do?

First: Pause & Remember Why

It’s easy to invite yourself to a pity party — I know I did. However, I eventually gave myself permission to pause. This doesn’t refer to a pause on life, but simply a “time out” to regroup.

After all, as nursing students, taking care of ourselves is crucial to thriving in the nursing profession. Acknowledge those feelings of anxiety and take the time to feel your emotions — don’t shove them under a rug and move on. 

Next, take care of yourself. Whatever safe strategy helps you relieve stress, go for it. Finally, free yourself from that pity party and move forward.

As an APRN student and nurse without a job, stress can cause you to lose sight of what’s important. In these times, remember why you chose to go back to nursing school. Pull out that personal statement or old journal entries, and talk to the mentors who you’ve poured your heart out to.

Losing a PRN job is not easy -  especially from a financial standpoint. However, recognize that you are working toward a better goal and that the PRN job is only temporary. The degree you are working for will be worth it. Don’t let the stress of losing a PRN job overwhelm an already tough pathway to becoming an APRN. 

now hiring sign on grass field near street hiring for nursing jobs


Second: Know That Other PRN Job Opportunities Are Available

Thankfully, a slew of PRN opportunities opened up after I lost my PRN job. As some states begin to slowly reopen, more outpatient jobs are opening up too. There are also many remote jobs available as well. 

I’ve had multiple recruiters contact me and ask if I would be interested in various outpatient and inpatient opportunities. When I wasn’t focused on school work, I often dedicated specific times during the week to search and apply for jobs. In fact, I even interviewed for a PRN position. 

The pandemic has created a variety of stressors for everyone. As a graduating APRN student, losing my PRN job was challenging and added stress to what should have been one of the most exciting moments of my professional career. 

I can’t even imagine what this might be like for APRN students who have lost their RN jobs due to layoffs or furloughs while studying difficult clinical concepts. However, keep in mind that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Remember the “why” behind pursuing that advanced degree towards becoming an APRN.

Lastly, know that there are still job opportunities out there. And here’s a great resource If you’re worried about decreased hours and income.

From an APRN student to another, you’ve got this! And if you're currently an undergrad nursing student or recent new grad nurse, you can find some helpful tips and tricks to starting you career with Trusted for New Grads.