Over 200 nursing students visited with representatives from 18 different healthcare organizations during the “Meet the Employers” event on Sept. 19. The job-fair type gathering was a joint effort between the School of Nursing and the Student Nursing Association.
Although the school hosted “Meet the Employers” events in the past, none ever saw as high attendance as this year’s.
Event organizers suspect that’s partly due to a new, interactive element they decided to include; when they registered for the event, each employer submitted a fun fact about their organization, and students had a worksheet in which they had to match up the fact with each company. Students would receive extra credit for completing the activity, and it served a better purpose.
“It was nice to have the questions, because that gave them an icebreaker, so it feels like they can walk up to the booth and ask questions.” said Stacey Holcomb, a representative from Portneuf medical center in Pocatello, Idaho. “We noticed at a lot of other job fairs, students hover but they won’t get close enough to talk to you.”
But students in attendance this year weren’t holding back any enthusiasm. Many spent over two hours visiting with different employers.
“They were very friendly, very interested and open to different opportunities, and engaging,” Holcomb said.
During the three hour event, 246 students of the almost 400 enrolled in the undergraduate pre-licensure program connected with employers.
“It’s not just about the extra credit for me,” said Boise State nursing senior Grace Soderblom. “I was really excited about all the options, especially with 18 different employers.”
As she prepares to enter the workforce in the spring, Soderblom was glad for an event tailored for employers who want to invest in her as part of the next generation of nurses.
“At other job fairs it’s been more of us looking at them,” she said. “But I appreciate how much interest they’re showing in us.”
Expanding career horizons
School of Nursing undergraduate advisor Thomas Camara collaborated with the Student Nursing Association to bring in a variety of employers.
“We’re trying to get students to expand their horizons of what’s out there,” he said.
Not only were major Boise-area health systems like St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus present, but the event offered face time with organizations like the West Ada school district, the U.S. Navy and Centurion.
Centurion is an independent company that manages healthcare within corrections facilities, and their representative at the event, Tonya McMillian, was thrilled to attend.
“I love to get new nursing students into correctional nursing,” McMillian said. “A lot of people don’t know what corrections nursing is or that it even exists, so just to be able to educate people, that’s really what I’m here for.”
More than anything, Camara hopes the event will strengthen the partnership between the school and the community.
“The goal is for Boise State’s nursing students to create relationships with Idaho employers,” he said.