Students and Recruiters Connect at College of Nursing Career Expo
About 100 University of South Florida College of Nursing students met with potential health care employers at the college’s annual Career Expo on Feb. 21.
The event featured 18 employers representing top hospitals and health care organizations within the Tampa Bay area as well as Tallahassee, Orlando and Sarasota. The four-hour networking event gave nursing students, particularly those slated to graduate in May, a chance to interact with recruiters and to learn about job opportunities and nurse residency programs.
College of Nursing Dean Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, kicked off the expo by thanking the health care organizations for being clinical partners at a welcome breakfast.
“I know [the expo] would not be successful without our clinical partners. We pick the best of the best, so embrace them, teach them, mentor them, and they will be there for you for many, many years,” Dr. Rich said.
This was the third year USF Career Services partnered with the College of Nursing to coordinate the event.
Russ Coughenour, assistant vice president for career services, said the career expo gives nursing students the rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with numerous potential employers within a few hours to talk about job opportunities.
“It is a networking event. It’s a connector. It’s information dissemination,” he said.
Coughenour said students may arrive thinking one hospital is the perfect fit, but leave learning about three or four other prospects they had never thought about.
“Sometimes recruiting is all about the relationship that is struck up when you first start talking to another person,” Coughenour said. “One particular organization may show a sincere and genuine interest in you as a candidate that you couldn’t possibly have predicted.”
To help students prepare, the College of Nursing offered workshops featuring a career consultant and nurse recruiters from area hospitals to assist with resumes and career advice.
Gabrielle Chase, an upper division nursing student scheduled to graduate in May, said she came to learn about the different nursing residency programs at various hospitals.
The expo “has really helped me get a feel for the hospitals, meet people who work there, talk to them, and hear their passion for their hospital,” Chase said.
She added that the event has been a great learning experience.
“They’ve been answering all my questions. I’ve learned so many things that I didn’t know before about the different programs that are available to me — not only for the immediate future, but where to go from there,” she said.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing