One of the reasons Krista Smith went to West Coast University was to become a nurse as soon as possible. One of the reasons she works at Torrance Memorial Medical Center was to be eased into her new role.
Smith's next step will be joining the Versant RN Resident Program at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. The 20-week program allows new graduates an adjustment period between school and working full-time as a nurse. Under the guidance and tutelage of a preceptor, new nurses get one-on-one training and work in a variety of roles and departments in the hospital. The residents also attend classroom sessions to reinforce lessons learned in the field and are paired with a mentor.
3 Tips to Get a Job
• You can never be too professional
"When you bring your resume or portfolio, make them look nice. Make a nice title page, put them in a nice binder. Little things like that show you’ve gone the extra mile and show that you care."
• First impressions are huge
"Make sure you look neat and clean. You’re not going to a fashion show, so clean makeup, clean hair. A suit. Just look professional."
• Be yourself
"When they’re asking you questions, you want to be prepared but you don’t want to sound too scripted. Find that happy medium, practice and be yourself."
"As a new grad you're not that experienced, so it's more a classroom setting," Smith said. "They orient you to the hospital and it's more slow paced instead of just throwing you into the nursing field.
Straight out of high school, Smith attended Biola University but after one semester decided to transfer to WCU-Orange County and fast-track her path working in health care.
"I was really drawn to West Coast University because it was just such an accelerated program and it just focused on nursing," she said. "I just loved that you could get it done in 39 months, but still get a really good education at the same time."
Smith said she's always enjoyed helping caring for people. She volunteered at Whittier Presbyterian right out of high school and also worked in a clinical care extender program.
"When I was kind of figuring out my career path I thought, 'What better profession than nursing?' I just thought it was the best way to go," she said.
Smith admitted the BSN program has a steep learning curve, but said the staff and support at WCU was outstanding — and it helps to study, a lot. Seriously, a lot.
"If you're passionate about nursing, you're going to be passionate to learn about nursing. But I think that's the biggest key — be passionate about learning and know that, yes, it's going to be a lot of studying and it's going to be a lot of work but it's going to be so worth it in the end when you have a career that you love."
"Know what you're getting into. Be prepared," Smith said. "Before you sign up, get your life in order with a job that's flexible and let your family and friends know what you're about to do because they're not going to get to see you much. It's not for very long but just prepare your life for it. Be ready to be all-in. That's the best advice I can give because you're going to be the most successful that way."