Have you been told by nursing instructors, family members, or the media about the looming nursing shortage? This may have been what brought you to the field of nursing in the first place. If you are a current nursing school graduate you may be wondering where all of the jobs are. Weren’t you told that hospitals would be begging for new hires?
The truth of the matter is much more complicated regarding the current job market for nurses.
What is really going on? Because of the recent economic slump, some older nurses stayed in their current jobs and put off retiring. Some nurses that were retired even came back to the workforce, and some that worked part-time switched to full-time. Employers found it easier to hire and retain experienced nurses, so some cut back on hiring new graduate nurses. After all, new graduate RNs are expensive to train and research has shown that many leave their first job after 1-2 years.
But the scenario for new graduate nurses seems to be looking up. In a recent NurseZone article, Robert Rosseter, spokesperson for the Association of American Colleges of Nursing (AACN), reported that 89 percent of BSN graduates are getting jobs within four to six months of graduation.
What can you do? Have faith. The nursing shortage is still looming and as the economy continues to improve, the jobs will come back. The aging workforce of nurses will eventually retire leaving a large hole for the profession and younger nurses will need to step up to the jobs available. And with the new health care law going into effect, more and more people will be seeking healthcare and we will need nurses to meet the increasing demand.
How soon will this happen? It’s hard to say, but as a new grad you probably don’t have time to sit around and wait for the economy to completely recover. You have school loans to repay, families to feed, and a career waiting. This may be a trying time for you. Hold fast, stay motivated, and get a job.
How do you do this? If you are still in nursing school, join organizations, get active in the nursing community with volunteering, join the honor society and gain new skills while improving your résumé. You might try to get a job as a certified nurse’s aide (CNA) on the floor or unit where you want to work; most managers prefer to hire someone they know and trust over an anonymous applicant. Widen your target and apply for everything that might fit your skills. You may have to settle for less than ideal in order to become an experienced nurse – but it will give you more options in the future.
Consider getting your BSN or MSN, if you don’t have one. Most hospitals choose bachelor’s-educated nurses over others. Consider doing a residency or internship, if available. Make sure your résumé is perfect and practice your interview skills until mastered. Be patient. Finding a job may not happen right away, but hold fast and keep trying. If your search takes longer than anticipated, you could consider loan deferment and repayment options, if necessary.
What are your thoughts on the current job market? Are you a new graduate nurse that has experienced difficulty finding a job? What worked for you? What didn’t? Please share your stories.