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Because professors tend to be preoccupied with their own academic work, it's a good idea for you to remind them, gently, about one week before your application deadline, that you need them to finish your letter. Remind them again, as the deadline closes in. Most professors will respond to that prodding in a friendly fashion. They know their letter is essential, and they once went through the same anxiety-producing process of tracking down letters and preparing portfolios and so on. Be assertive in a friendly way, until you know their letter is in the mail.
Great questions, Adrienne. Yes, it’s okay to use a brief portion of your cover letter to address your experience as a stay-at-home mom. You may even use some of what you’ve learned as a stay-at-home mom to relate that you’re the solution to a problem the hospital faces, or a goal they’re trying to achieve. Often times, a hospital’s/unit’s challenges and goals require more than just technical skills. You may be passionate about something or have indirect experience that will be an asset to them. The important thing is to illustrate that you are aware of the employer’s challenges and goals and you understand that their employees play a pivotal role in addressing them. I hope this helps!