Fewer Job Prospects for Nursing Grads


Posted to Nursing, Travel Nursing Company Reviews

It wasn’t that long ago that a student in nursing program could be confident that a good job was waiting upon graduation.  However, two factors have combined to decrease the likelihood that a new graduate will easily find a nursing job.

First, the projected nursing shortage in the mid-90’s led to various recruitment efforts that worked very well.  For example, in 1999 there were 976 students enrolled in nursing programs in the state of South Dakota.  By last year, that number was up to 1,699.

That means that there are more new graduates just as the demand for nurses has actually gone down.

Under the weight of a worsening economy, hospitals nationally are cutting pay, eliminating raises and laying off employees. Rapid City Regional Hospital, which employs 777 registered nurses, hired 64 nurses last year. This year, the hospital expects to cut back to just 40 to 50 new hires.

While this is bad news for new graduates, there may be some overall benefits:

“At this point, new graduate nurses may not get to pick exactly where they want to go for their first job,” Young said. “But we know … this economic downturn will turn around. … Historically, nursing is a very secure profession.”

That push to second- and third-choice jobs could even be a bonus for South Dakota. New nursing graduates might take jobs in rural areas, which often struggle to keep nurses, Young said.

One current nursing student, Whitney Lenz, remains optimistic.  “I know it will turn around,” she said. “You just don’t know how long it will take.”