New Grads, New Jobs


Posted to Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News, Nursing School

Some new graduate nurses are finding that there aren’t a plethora of nursing jobs, as they had expected. Instead, many discover after months of searching and applying that the nursing shortage so touted by the Department of Health and Human Services is more of a local problem in some parts of the country. There are new grads who eventually become disenchanted with the search and leave the profession in favor of finding another job that can pay their bills.

As health systems have eliminated nursing positions through redistribution of their current staff, the number of positions for new graduates nurses may no longer exist or be drastically cut.

CC image courtesy of Walt Stoneburner via Flickr

Many facilities also face a decrease in the patient base due to the economic downturn and people losing healthcare benefits. Sick people are more likely to stay at home to weather an illness instead of entering a hospital. Many have postponed surgeries.

The cost factor of hiring a new graduate may also play a part. Thousands of dollars go in to hiring and training new graduates, and depending on the unit, the learning curve for the new position could last longer than a year.

New graduate nurses are becoming increasingly resourceful and sharing information with their peers in order to better their chances for landing that first nursing position. Many have offered to work for free or at 50 percent of a normal salary simply to garner the experience needed for open nursing positions. This trend has been met with some concern from established nurses who are concerned about what message will be sent to employers regarding the value of a nurse.

Some new grads have decided any job is better than no job and have taken positions that they’d never thought they’d be doing until the market turns around and something opens up in their field of interest.

Other than the financial obligations new grads face, they’re also concerned about losing nursing skills they’ve never had time to completely hone. Experienced nurses lament that new graduate nurses coming into an acute care setting have weak skills at the outset, and there is little time to teach them skill sets and how to handle a full patient load – something that sometimes isn’t covered in nursing school.

New graduate nurses may have to look at their new career in a different light in order to land their first, or “dream” job. Because some areas have a greater need for nurses than others, new nurses might want to consider relocating. Another possibility is to look at jobs in non-hospital settings such as community clinics, where employers may be more open to hiring new graduates if they are unable to afford more experienced nurses.

As new models of healthcare are rolling out by the Department of Health and Human Services through Medicare and Medicaid, the focus for care is shifting to more community-based care and care teams. Hospitals will be hiring less nursing staff as the need for outpatient services rises in specialized areas of care. In order to poise themselves for newly created positions, new graduates might want to consider a specialized practicum experience.