This month’s wretched jobs report tells a now-familiar tale: Employment has risen nicely in health care (a net gain of more than 340,000 jobs between May 2011 and May 2012). But almost every other sector has been flat or worse.

You might think that would mean that new-graduate nurses are having an easy time finding work. That’s still true in rural areas — but elsewhere, no.

In many U.S. cities, especially on the west coast, there’s real evidence of a nursing glut. The most recent survey conducted by the National Student Nurses’ Association found that more than 30 percent of recent graduates had failed to find jobs.

How is that possible?

While demand for nurses has been rising, it actually hasn’t risen as fast as most scholars had projected. Meanwhile, the supply of nurses has spiked unexpectedly, at both ends of the age scale: Older nurses have delayed retirement, often because the recession has thrown their spouses out of work. And people in their early twenties are earning nursing degrees at a rate not seen in decades. We’re now in the sixth year in which health-care employment has far outshone every other sector, and college students have read those tea leaves.

So what will happen next?

Here are crude sketches of two possible futures:

I. THE NURSING SHORTAGE OF 2020

(This scenario draws from a talk that Vanderbilt University’s Peter Buerhaus gave two weeks ago at the U. of Maryland School of Nursing. Buerhaus still sees a shortage coming, though a less severe one than the shortage that he and two colleagues had predicted in a widely-cited 2000 paper.)

  • In June 2012, the Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans never manage to do much to weaken the law. Tens of millions of Americans gain access to insurance, and the demand for nurses rises in tandem.
  • Some time around 2014, the general labor market finally recovers. There’s less desperation in the air. Sixty-year-old nurses are more likely to retire, and twenty-year-old college students who aren’t actually that interested in nursing go back to majoring in anthropology or accounting or whatever, because they’re reasonably sure they’ll find jobs.
  • The millions of soon-to-retire Baby Boomers utilize Medicare at rates similar to previous cohorts of 70-year-olds.
  • Changes in health care delivery mean that nurses and nurse practitioners are heavily deployed to provide primary care and to coordinate patients’ services.
II. THE NURSING GLUT OF 2020
  • In June, the Supreme Court strikes down the ACA’s insurance mandate. Mitt Romney wins the 2012 election and pushes his health proposals through Congress. In this scenario, at least 45 million fewer people have health insurance than would have been the case with an intact ACA.
  • The EU zone goes to hell, and the ensuing financial crisis means that the U.S. labor market stays miserable for years. College students continue to pour into health care fields, because that’s the one sector with better-than-zero growth.
  • The millions of soon-to-retire Baby Boomers utilize Medicare at significantly lower rates than previous cohorts of 70-year-olds. (Unlike the other items on this list, this one is good news.)
  • Changes in health care delivery don’t lead to a relative increase in the deployment of nurses and nurse practitioners. Accountable Care Organizations use social workers and other non-nurses to coordinate patients’ care across providers.

What will actually happen? Probably something in between, of course. (Or maybe the Yellowstone volcano will erupt and this will all be moot.)

We had better hope that it is something close to halfway in between. Both shortages and gluts are bad for patients and bad for the nursing profession. Nursing shortages, because patients are even more likely than usual to face understaffed units and overstretched nurses. Nursing gluts, because nurses are so afraid of unemployment that they don’t speak up about problems on their units.

David Glenn is a student at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and author of the blog, Notes on Nursing, where this post originally appeared.

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148 Responses for “Why New Nurses Can’t Find Jobs (No, Really)”

  1. Nurse Nancy says:

    I thought that we had a nurse shortage. From what I read earlier last year and this year it seems that we have plenty of jobs but not enough people to fill them. I have friends that are taking 2 – 3 shifts every few days because the facilities can’t staff it!

    • Audrey says:

      The reason your friends are working extra shifts is because its cheaper to have existing employees work more than hire new nurses and train them.

    • PI says:

      If they would hire new grads it wouldn’t be a shortage. The problem is that no one is willing to train new grads. There is a shortage of experience nurses, but many new grad nurses are desperate for work!

    • karen kotzmann says:

      The hospitals are not hiring because they have nurses who will take extra shifts. It is far more expensive to hire a New Grad and train them than to stretch your existing staff. New Graduates are not ready for the clinical setting and often require 6 months of hand holding. That means that a hospital has to staff an experienced RN with every one to two New Graduates it hires for nothing else but to train them in unit work and organization, something they no longer get in school.

      • rhiana says:

        I am a new grad had a job for 5 days one day in class room orientation and 4 days on the floor 12 hr shifts i beg for more trianing before i started working the shifts I pick up no phone calls no replys I qiut now i cant find anything. I wish the ltc facility would have trained me the right way not push me into 20 or more patients by myself for with only being there for 4 days.

        • Renee says:

          Same happened to me. New Grad, started at an LTC (that just went on strike!). After 3 days, they put me on my own with 33 pts on dementia unit. I tried, IMPOSSIBLE! Gave me 4 more days of orientation, then I resigned. Everyone I speak to wants “1 yr experience, call when I get it”. I’m so broke, I’m on foodstamps! I could stop using tax payers money if I could get a job! Not to mention, I can no longer work as a CNA and every minimum wage job I apply for “I’m over qualified” (and still have $70,000 of school loan debt. would go back to school, but can’t afford it and why, if I can’t get employed in my field anyway!!

        • Helen says:

          I had the almost exact same experience. The only different thing was they were nice enough to give me a couple of more days. I still quit too because It was just unreasonable and unsafe to be expected to handle so many people after so few days of training. I was really concerned to have made a mistake and loose my licence

    • dee says:

      I am a new grad nurse and I am looking for work. I’ve applied to hundreds of nursing positions and I had ONE interview in which the LTC facility ended up choosing someone with more experience. I have been on the job hunt for over 7 months.

      • Renee says:

        Graduated September 2010, RN license November 2010. One job (read above), hundreds of applications, no calls back. When I finally reach people (and get fellow RN’s with jobs asking for me), “not enough experience” or “too new”. Very frustrating, in deed!

    • Max says:

      What city is this in?

      • Max says:

        I don’t think that experience necessarily constitutes a good nurse. Just because someone has been doing something a long time doesn’t mean that they are always a better choice than someone new. When my parents got out of college, no one cared about experience, they wanted high quality people and were willing to invest a little time and money to get them trained. This country has lost it’s way and is headed down the crapper.

  2. Random Observer says:

    Another possible reason is the success of nursing unions. Higher starting salaries, protected employment and threat of future strikes causes healthcare employers to minimize their nursing workforces. I am sure that a number of the 30% who were unable to find a nursing job would have been happy to accept less compensation than required by union contracts, and that the healthcare employers would have been happy to hire more nurses and pay less.

    The union benefits the currently employed nurses at the expense of those unable to find positions.

    It isn’t bad/good or right/wrong, just the way the incentives work out for the parties involved.

    • Nurse Nancy says:

      Don’t even get me started with the unions! OMG. I do think they’re bad and wrong… Unions were great when they were conceived 80 years ago. Not so much today. I expect that they’ll eventually be a thing of the past.

    • Wright Again says:

      Wrong, Random Observer. I am sure that no nurse would be happy to accept lower pay for a job that is already so stressful, so demanding, and so shorthanded that many currently employed in the field are experiencing burnout in a matter of two to three years.

      The idea that employers would take the money that would theoretically be saved from hiring non-union labor and use it to enhance the satisfaction of their employees is short-sighted and ignorant. Where would health benefits go? What about sick leave? Without unions these would quickly disappear, and NOBODY would be better for it.

      • Dave says:

        Union bashing types crack me up !!
        Union bashers think ” Those guys make too much, we can get people to do that work for less”, but in their next breath utter, “but my compensation is inadequate. “. When are you gonna wake up and realize NO ONE is getting rich working as a nurse !! The extra buck or two you make as a union employee helps to offset the high stress, no lunch, mandated over time position.

  3. Dixie Thompson says:

    There’s no union here in Pensacola, FL, and hospitals are still short staffed. I hear from many new grad RN’s that they can’t get hired, because they have no experience! Nobody wants to train new grads! Personnel salaries are the largest expense in health care institutions, and the first things to limit when times are tight. Until we reign in the grotesque excesses of the health insurance industry, and the massive competitive metastasis of “non-profit” health care systems and focus on keeping people healthy, we will never be able to balance the scales for safe nurse/patient ratios, or fully utilize the skills and talents of our nurses.

    • Dixie Thompson says:

      *”rein”

    • Nurse Nancy says:

      I would have to agree with you Dixie! salaries take over 50 – 60% of most businesses operating costs. And you’re right, in a tight economy, nobody wants to spend time or resources training and bringing up staff up to the appropriate skill-level… but somebody’s gotta do it. Otherwise the new nurses will just forget what they learned and go to a crappy flippin-burgers job. And the cycle will never end.

      • Peter1 says:

        “…and go to a crappy flippin-burgers job.

        Maybe they need a union.

        • Nurse Nancy says:

          No unions! Unions suck the lifeblood out of top-performers. If I were president I’d dissolve all unions and go back to a free market.

          • EXPERIENCEDRN says:

            Nurse Nancy: I couldn’t agree with you more. I worked in ONE union hospital (small community hospital) and they did nothing for the nurses except take our money. I did work short term in a psych hospital which was unionized and these nurses behaved like they were in the military….counting the days until they can collect their pension. The union was more for administration, NOT THE NURSES! I’ve been out of work for a little over a year and can not find a job because of the BSN requirement hospitals are imposing on nurses, yet they are recruiting foreign nurses right out of school with a BSN. The market is flooded here with new grads and a nurse like myself with 19 yrs of experience am told “oh…you don’t have your BSN, or “you’ve been out of the hospital for three years. I’ve worked in every ICU there is, PACU, intensive home care cases. I applied several yrs ago to a local hospital and they offered me a salary subtracting four years of experience. When I asked why, I was told by the Nsg. Admin. “It’s the union’s policy….they don’t count travel nursing.” I told her “I wasn’t working in a pet shop. YES, unions are what suck the lifeblood out of top-performers. BUT, hiring a foreign nurse “is very lucrative” I quoted that because that is what i read. Sickening.

      • NEW GRAD RN says:

        I’ve been looking for a job as an RN since August of 2011 in NY without any luck. I chose nursing as a career change and this was my second Bachelor’s (I am not in my 20s). I am feeling very discouraged and feel like I’ve already forgotten most of what I’ve learned in school. No one wants to hire new RNs. Unfortunately, if you don’t work in a hospital already in some other department or know people in high places, it seems that a BSN is obsolete. It’s unfortunate that I spent all of my savings paying for this BSN. I recommend that nursing students try to get a job in any other department in a hospital while they’re in school that way they already have a foot in the door. I wish someone had told me it was going to be this hard to find a job. Now my savings are gone and I have a BSN to nowhere. If anyone has any recommendations I’d like to hear them. I’m usually very optimistic, but reality is kicking in. Thank you.

        • Kam says:

          I’ve heard a lot of nurses who got their jobs in hospitals had to volunteer for months or years before they get a position, did you already try that?

        • Annelies new RN says:

          I’m in the same boat as you, I graduated this may 2012 with my RN and still have yet to get any offers or even interviews in Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Maine or New Hampshire. I’m out of money and about to be kicked out of my parents house because I can’t pay my bills. I am also a USCG veteran and ACLS certified yet that doesn’t seem to matter to anyone. I also wish someone told me that working during school was the best way to secure a job….. I don’t know what I’m going to do in the next few weeks…..

          • Jerome Stone says:

            Hey Annelies – Wow, what a challenge. I’d like to speak with you and discuss ways that you can use your incredible skills and background to find employment. Please contact me through my site. Note: this is NOT some gimmick to try to get you to “work with me as a coach.” And it isn’t some line that I use to get people to subscribe to some kind of service. I seriously would like to speak with you personally because with what you’ve shared here, I have some ideas. I just got a job after submitting over 75 applications and having 30 years of experience. I look forward to hearing from you. Take care, Jerome Stone

        • Regina J says:

          I know that you feel helpless maybe even hopeless; but are you seeking a job in all venues or just hospital? Consider applying for a position that will give you some experience although it may not be hospital experience. Hospitals will consider someone with some experience over someone with zero experience.

        • Frustrated1 says:

          I graduated May 2010. Have 247 applications out- all kinds of nursing jobs and non nursing, including fast food. I have no job! Now, it has been so long no one is interested in a new nurse out of school so long when there are hundreds being pumped out fresh and young. (I am 53).
          Self supporting. I don’t wan’t to spend what little money I have left to relocate only to find the same thing- no job. I am not eligible for unemployment since I was a housewife before I started school.
          I want to tell people that want to go to nursing school not to do it. The govt pays for grants and loans for a career that doesn’t exist- unless your foot is in the door or you know someone. I even volunteered in a PACU unit for a few months, which did allow me to finally interview, but they said they needed someone with experience. Most want at least a year of experience and no one will hire to get that experience.
          It sucks.

          • Emily says:

            I was educated in CT, looked for a job up there for 7 months (From jan 2012 to July 2012). Got my CT license, then I moved to FL and got my FL license. One week after I got my FL RN license, I got a job with a 12 week orientation. I was there 2 months, did not like it, applied for another hospital in the same city, got that job the next day. If you are desperate for a job and willing to relocate, I would say consider moving to Florida. Nursing wages are lower but if you are experienced you will get a sign on bonus, you will get relocating grants. If you are new you will get your foot in the door. Just dont sign any 2 year contracts, this is a right to work state.

        • Renee says:

          Same here. I have an associates RN, though. would consider going for BSN, but not until I know it’s worth it (I could get an RN position) . Owe $70,000 as it is, savings gone, house in forcclosure, on foodstamps, can’t find a job! Had I known this, I wouldn’t have done it.

  4. Anton says:

    Ease in finding a job depends on the skills of nurses themselves. A newly graduated nurses even if you have the skills and good academic performance will be sought by a labor recruiter or hospital.

    • Nurse Nancy says:

      Skills on the job at hand… but also the individual needs to sell themselves. In today’s global employee marketplace you need to stand out from the rest.

    • Ana says:

      Um not quite – I graduated at the top of my class, am highly capable and motivated, had volunteer and CNA experience prior to graduation from nursing school, but I live in a large city (Seattle) where we are experiencing an explosion of new nurses and institutions unwilling to pay to train them…it’s all about the money people! This is a reflection of the state of the economy at large and not a reflection of my own skill set or abilities. It also really depends on where you live – I’m sure if I was living in a small rural area I would be sought after.

  5. MD as HELL says:

    Nursing has been “dumbed down” by JCAHO, the ENA and CMS to the point nurses are not needed. They are overtrained and too expensive. With the new IT and the elimination of judgement calls, there is no need to have a rocket scientist light a fire cracker.

    • Peter1 says:

      I guess then “MD as Heil” you’d feel comfortable with a burger flipper being your IC, ER or OR nurse.

      • MD as HELL says:

        Peter1.

        You are still expecting judgement from your nurse. Are you not paying attention? Judgement and choosing from a range of alternatives is no longer the pervue of nurses. So if a burger flipper can be trained to do what they are told to do, you and I are better off. The finance people are keeping nursing vacancies because they do not want the overhead.

        • Peter1 says:

          MD, in your eternal arrogance I can see this relationship with nurses is exactly what you prefer. There are doctors hospitals that dictate to nurses as their hand maidens, and the one’s my wife has worked where there is a professional respect and team attitude to patient care. I can also tell you my wife has saved a bunch of patients and docs with her “judgement” calls during her work as L&D and NICU nurse.

          But I’ve come to understand you pine for the “doctor is infallible” relationship of 100 years ago that docs held with their patients and who ever they interacted with.

          • MD as HELL says:

            Peter1, In your eternal bitterness you have entirely missed who I am, what I mean, or what I prefer. I revere nurses and what they do. I deplore the negative changes in the nursing profession. Nurses teach brand new doctors so much. Nursing judgement is highly valued by me and other good doctors. The EMR documentation monster allows for no nursing judgement. Orders for medicine cannot include a range of dosing anymore. Shy? It involves making a judgement. No more “morephine sulfate, 2-4 mg prn pain.” That is called a “range order”. Not acceptable anymore.

            Nursing is being dumbed down. I hate it. Nurses are not my “hand-maidens”. I do not dictate to them. I love them.

            The destructive forces that are shredding the healthcare system are shredding the nursing and medical professions as well. The illusion that the feds and HIT can keep patients safer and enhance care are delusion. The illusion that this will make care cheaper are folly. They are destroying the team that your wife has. Ask her.

            Try to see me in a different light, Peter1. I am not your enemy.

          • atlibertytosay says:

            MD as Hell, was in fact giving a “shot in the arm” to nurses. The nursing profession IS being given so many “guidelines” that anybody with a pen can check the boxes. I agree that we need to keep the nurse/patient/doctor relationship. Good call MD as Hell.

    • Nurse Nancy says:

      Given how lazy MD’s have become (or overhwelmed) and knowing that Nurses do most of the work pre-op and post-op. I mean they do the bulk of the work and these aren’t menial tasks… these are tasks that you can’t train a burger flipper to do.

      Given all that… I want the most skilled nurse treating me when I visit the hospital. I don’t want some task-cruncher giving me medications or caring for me or my family. Nurses have an incredible degree of responsibility and the skill, experience and *wisdom* to make the right decisions is paramount.

  6. RobertTX says:

    I feel like this is the same situation recent Law grads are facing. An overly popularized industry is now flooded with young people with degrees and no jobs to fill (atleast not the jobs with the massive salaries they had been taught to expecf from a JD).
    I wonder if it would be possible for nurses to move around similar to a locum tenen? That could alleviate some of the pressure from overstaffed hospitals.
    Just a thought

  7. samwiserRN says:

    I hire RNs. Many RN schools are diploma mills surfing the healthcare bubble that crested awhile back.Students used to be dropped if they were’nt RN material.Not now.That invites a lawsuit..I am encountering new grads who practiced on dummies the entire time they were in school.Watched live patient care. The quality is way down.I speak from 40 years RN experience. When the boomers finally retire, things will not be better.The multipronged deliberate destruction of our healthcare system is in progress now.The RN situation is just one facet of the whole.

    • chris1 says:

      Not possible in Florida and I’m not sure I believe you.
      How can anyone not have hands on Pt. care ?
      Where can a RN get a job with the employer knowing the RN never touched a real human.
      In Fl. you a a grueling preceptorship ,which If you dont pass, you dont pass.

      • atlibertytosay says:

        Yes, it does happen. Most RN training programs still have the student “taking vital signs” and “watching”. This is the culture of sue happy training. I completely believe it is possible to graduate with the most minimal patient contact. I think to help that we should use the “lawyers” as the new dummies. Let’s see how many tries it takes you to get this IV?

      • Renee says:

        Same in CT. I call BS!

  8. Nurse Paula says:

    Nurses should be like nurse. They should even nurse themselves.

    They should keep themselves with the latest technology regarding medical science.They should also have the capability of identifying the best products.

    i.e asteroidusa.com manufactures and ships the best products.For more info please visit http://www.BuySteroidsUsa.net

  9. samwiserRN says:

    Correction on further reflection.Forgive me MDs,Sounds like a typical Diploma Mill RN-notice they can’t spell much or make complete sentences.

  10. BeckyRN says:

    I agree with Nurse Nancy – there are tons of jobs out there but they don’t want to take the time to train new nurses. I’m one of those locus tenens that RobertTX reference but we’re called travel nurses not locum tenens. I travel the country to areas in need that are unable to find nurses in their community to fill their staffing shortages. My company is always asking me if I have any nurse friends that can fill their travel nursing jobs because they have so many hospital clients looking for nurses. Granted, they are looking for registered nurses not LPNs.

  11. AlexRN says:

    A great deal of the nursing glut has been created by the ever increasing dumbing down of registered nursing educational standards. Being a Registered Nurse no longer qualifies as a profession; instead it is now a “professional endeavour”, whatever that means. With community colleges decreasing both entry and curriculum standards for their RN programs, and for-profit “backyard” nursing schools popping up all over, an RN degree is now worth far less than it once was. The only way to begin to resolve the problem is to crack down on for-profit schools and force community colleges to greatly raise their standards and requirements.

    • High Honors BSN RN says:

      Disagree. My BSN program was rigorous. Years ago they did not study organic chemistry, microbiology, pathophysiology, and so on. What planet are you from?

    • chris1 says:

      So the writers of the NCLEX conspired as well?
      Everyone in health care has a weird attitude.
      You proved it

    • Handson RN says:

      How do we “crack down” on these for-profit schools. I agree. I worked my a%^ off, taking classes over to get my 3.8; the new grads from for profits are an embarrassment and Im pissed.

      • Renee says:

        I’m from a for profit. I did NOT buy my diploma (nor did I pay the state to pass me on the boards). I took it and passed, just as you did. I’m no less or no more than you. Nor am I an embarrassment. And, to add, I’m probably more compassionate and qualified to see problems before they arise than the book smart RN. Doesn’t take someone to “retake classes to get a 3.8″ for that.

    • atlibertytosay says:

      It depends on where you go to school AlexRN. There are certain schools who are turning away mostly A students into their BSN program. They are holding out their very few spots to give to those with all A’s, lots of service work on their resume, etc… It truly depends on the institution and the program. Auburn University is one that is extremely competitive for only the top students. There are many others. The problem is the few faculty available to teach and train the nurses.

    • Emily-Nursing Student says:

      Come take a look at Connecticut’s nursing schools.

  12. TanRn says:

    I’m here on the “East Coast” finding it difficult to get a job. I graduated two years ago with an AAS in nursing. When applying to jobs, everyone wanted either a BSN or years of experience or both. I decided to continue with my education right away, and also apply for jobs at the same time. I graduated last month with a BSN in nursing believing it will put me ahead of nurses who have AAS degrees in nursing.
    It is NOW more difficult for me to get a job than before. Why? I was able to speak to a nursing director. She basically said she would be afraid to hire me because I haven’t had “bed side care experience in over 2 years.” This is very depressing for me because nursing has been instilled in me since I was child; Nursing was all I ever wanted to do. I’m stuck between searching for a new career or sticking it out until I have to renew my license (Renew a license in which I never used).
    Nursing is such a rewarding field that I am hoping to experience and enjoy one day. In addition, not only are nursing graduates in the West experiencing some turmoil, but in every state. Something should be done about this!

  13. Brittany says:

    Im thinking of going for my AAS in spring of 2013 in chicago, but after reading these comments im now scared not getting hired after i graduate and pass the N-CLEX

  14. Marie Berberich says:

    I grad 2 yrs ago With BSN 3.5 GPA never able to find a job upstate NY. Cannot afford to move. This is a nationwide prob. I also have prior BS biology. No one interested. Think MD we hell is right.Nursing dumbed down and you must do as you’ te told until something bad happens and then it will be your license on the line. I took a med clerical job in a hosp finally and recently saw an article in a copy of hospitalist magazine there. With affordable care act & high amounts of new pts, there will be no new hires of MD’s or nurses and no increase in # of beds. One new bed costs 1 million dollars! Instead, production will be ramped up. Each am there will be a meeting to see what pts can be discharged with least chance of lawsuit in order to free up a bed. Roll those dice baby! Craps , you lose!

    • chris1 says:

      reply to : Marie Berberich says:
      Not a nationwide problem ,party-er.
      IN Fl. they (RN )are needed everywhere.
      “One new bed costs 1 million dollars”
      Not in Fl. , BTW How much rev will that bed produce over the decades?
      “Cannot afford to move.”
      A smart person ,cant even figure out how to move?
      On second thought, stay in upstate NY, posting on blogs.
      Some, from that area,not you of course ,have a real attitude

      • Marie Berberich says:

        I find you offensive. I graduated from nursing school at age 57 and am far from a “party-er” as you call it. I am now down to $60 in savings. Any meager 401-K’s I had are now gone. Being “smart” has nothing to do with lack of opportunities. I have applied everywhere within a 100 mile radius. It is not my age either, at least on paper as I received my first
        bachelor’s in 2000. I have never beenpcalled for any interviews.

  15. TopPharmD says:

    Similarly in the pharmacy fields as well. Tons of new graduates from new schools, and every task is slowly being replaced by technology. Graduated with 3.8 GPA, years of internship, tons of rec letters, but there just isn’t any new positions. Companies would rather use that money for 1 PharmD to hire 3 technicians.

  16. chris1 says:

    Come to Florida, nurses needed everywhere.

    • karen kotzmann says:

      I am in FLorida and yes some new grads get jobs but the top hospitals are importing from the phillipines, India and even Canada. The only go thing is that the Canadians speak English.

    • Jenna says:

      I’m in Florida too it’s been so hard for me and my new grad classmates

  17. James Mckenzie says:

    I work as a travel nurse and have friends that are nurses and most of them are working and found employment within a short time frame, so I would say there’s a high demand for qualified nurses. For example, travel nurses jobs are in demand right now. I was able to find my job with an agency that only places travel nurses. Travel nurse source has a list of open travel nursing jobs. For those interested in learning more about this field and what it entails to be a travel nurse check out their website for more info.
    http://www.travelnursesource.com/browse-jobs.php

  18. guitargal says:

    Nursing absolutely stinks. Minimal pay, excruciating work-loads, no employer appreciation. Make a mistake and they are all over it. Work your tail off and not a word is mentioned. It’s pitiful.

  19. Jerome Stone says:

    Thank you so very much for addressing this paradoxical (or apparently so) challenge that many of us are facing. I’ve been an RN for 30 years and have been unemployed for…20 months!! I used to walk into a hospital, say “Here I am,” and they’d say, “When can you start?” No longer. I’ve filled out 75!!! applications for employment and haven’t been hired yet. I was told by a woman at the Unemployment Office, “Sweetie [she said sweetie too much!] I’m seeing a lot of nurses, your age, with your amount of experience, in the same position. They’d rather hire new graduates than pay you what you’re worth.” What?!?

    It seems that the same attitude of nurses as “renewable resources” has prevailed except that now we’re disposable as well!

    The only “upside” that I can see (and I’m being sarcastic as well as a bit serious here, my family is living on fumes here, seriously! ) is that nurses are being forced into thinking outside of the box, taking their gifts – and we’ve got so many of them!! – and using them in entrepreneurial endeavors.

    I’ve just written a book for nurses, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind, helping nurses to use meditation and compassion practices at the bedside and in their lives, to maintain inner peace despite the outer turmoil that’s happening. I’ve also just launched an Indiegogo campaign to try to fund a launch of the book.

    We’ve got to think out of the box! As nurses, we’ve got a lot of power both within and outside of the nursing arena. We’ve got to use that power to advocate for and advent change. It’s the only solution to the paradox of the nursing shortage/unemployed nurses and, ultimately, to finding a way out of the quagmire that the healthcare system has become.

    I encourage all of you (us!) to support each other in your creative ideas, support each other in your fundraising and awareness raising campaigns, and get through these tough times. We have a lot of power, let’s use it!

    Very warm regards to all the nurses out there,

    Jerome Stone, RN, MA
    Author – Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind
    http://www.miindingthebedside.com

    P.S. – If you can, please visit my Indiegogo campaign (http://www.indiegogo.com/mindingthebedside); share it, tweet it, comment on it, and if you’ve the wherewithal, please contribute. Even a small amount will help me. Thank you ever so much.

  20. sharon says:

    A diatribe about getting a job while still in n.s.; preferably in N. field as cna or something (or use volunteer to get cna if u must).

    That way, on the floor, getting hired, you get a “two fer one” peepls love a deal; even admin in speciality areas.

    If that doesnt work, Ive known n.s. who took any job, even housekeeping to “get their foot in the door” while still in school, since most hospitals give priority hiring status to pre-existing employees. It also helps to get that almighty reference from the personnel you meet along the way; and in any other nursing activity (homecare etc)

    I had worked in home care, hospice for years as a non nurse and filling in my prereqs and in n.s. and I ended up caring for clients that were very connected in that Hospital and Medical Envirement (one was the founder of the hospital; the other the founder of the local BSN n.s.). A reference like that can turn a few heads, esp if its a small town, or “city”.

    Every job I’ve gotten in the past (and I realize things are tougher now) was from referrals directly from nurses I had worked w either as a CNA or tech.
    I also heard the hiring practice of a very large Hospital in my area that I used to work for, hired ONLY new nurses from their local nursing schools. If they had re-located from another state, they didnt get hired.

    Comport yourself NOT as an insider to nursing, and the only way to do that, until you can, is to deveop a pattern of related job skills, primarilly, in your area of specialization (eg you want psych, get dual training in addiction, etc), volunteer.

    Even in the “old days” (1992) it wasnt that easy to just walk out of nursing program w no ties, or earlier development in your field of interest. That denotes willingness and dedication to apply yourself; not, you “just need a job” like everyone else. You are not doing this because you “have too” but because you just Love it SO much, you’d work for Free! (I know; weird)

    Finally, several yrs ago, when we had one more of many n.s. “gluts” I knew of new licensed RNs who took jobs in high pop. area (Los angeles, long beach CA) in area Hospitals and worked as CNAs until something opened up. Sometimes it was a YEAR. I don’t know if its longer; but it just demonstrates how much you want to be a nurse to them. People still think it helps to “come up the hard way” not just a “let me hold the door open for you”.

    I know its not fair, but it takes what it takes. We need to prepare ourselves LONG before we hit the street, and hope for the best. ‘Cause maybe even after all that there is no guarantee it won’t be difficult. I also don’t mean to minimize the difficulty of it: things ARE harder and nursing is soooo competitive now, more than ever.

    Another thing that worries me, is that new grads will be out of work (nursing) mos; yrs. I wonder if in that time, they filled in that time w working in speciality areas, volunteer and a consistent progress In the Field to the extent that they can.

    I hear so many stories of people who can’t get “the” RN job after graduation, and then work in another field, not even mildly related to their core focus. I know you have to do what u need to do, but hiring personall are looking for people who have “grown” in their profession since they’ve been out of school. Otherwise, it comes across like you just “need a job” not a vocation, a cause, a meaning. There are so many people now just doing nursing because they “need a job” and have no real committment to it. And the hiring personnel are not stupid as to that fact.

    I know there is no “sure” way. so much is luck, and LOTs of focused, patient action, and being in the right place in the right time. But, thats what makes YOU different….right?

  21. sharon says:

    ahh, thats “outsider” (blush) to nursing.

  22. chris1 says:

    Should update this forum. No way to tell who replied to what.

  23. Gabe says:

    Nursing schools stop promoting that you will be guaranteed employment upon graduation because of the nursing shortage… Its time to be honest..

    This is from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

    The United States is projected to have a nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing colleges and universities across the country are struggling to expand enrollment levels to meet the rising demand for nursing care.

    Nursing schools stop promoting that you will be guaranteed employment upon graduation because of the nursing shortage… Its time to be honest..

    This is no longer a fact… Yet they still want to promote the nursing shortage hysteria. They are thousands of unemployed new nursing graduates in the United States. This is supported by data.

    • AnnMarie says:

      True. I have been an RN for 25 years. Now unemployed for 2 years. I am planning to go back to school in a different field. While I am investigating other fields, I have also been told that my difficulties in finding employment may be related to the fact that currently hospitals want BSN’s. I have not worked in ICU’s or ER’s, so I would not be able to get a position in travel nursing. I would just like to know the truth, would I be more likely to get a job with a BSN, or is there such a huge nursing glut that it makes sense to go into another field? I also have been told that my skills are outdated, because I worked in offices, not hospitals, for years. Now medical assistants are being hired in offices, in place of nurses. There are nurse refresher programs, but there are no student loans or financial aid available to pay for it. I too loved being a nurse. However, I have to support myself, so I am doing research. The government offices say there is a need for nurses, yet nurses say they are having difficulty getting work. I guess somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

  24. Nina says:

    I agree with the above. I have tried everything, and have applied to every type of position here in Southern California to no avail. Statistics last year showed that over 50% of new grads in CA were not able to secure a job.

    I cringe when I hear radio commercials from local nursing schools announcing this “shortage”, and “recession proof” career. The truth is, that you will be lucky to obtain a position. I know people with a masters degree in another (similar) career, that completed a BSN, and considered themselves blessed and lucky to find a job after 1 year!!

    As for those that say that nursing schools are easier now, I think that’s complete nonsense!!! So many people failed out of my program. The passing grade was 80% for nursing course, and 96% for dosing calculations. I’m not saying there definitely aren’t easier programs out there, but if there are, I haven’t heard of them.

  25. Jeff says:

    I am an unemployed lawyer looking to be an RN nurse.

    Now, i am having second thoughts….

    • gin says:

      Jeff, your second thoughy can save you time and money, nursing school if is not from good accredeted universities or colleges is not worth your time and money, the 2year ADN program I went 1 year ago reminds me 13th grade, I felt uncomfortable with that high school like program, like you, I donot have an employer, but I realize while in that nursing program, the time to get another engineering job is much shorter than going thru nursing program, and if I reallly want to spent money, that shall be for Phd advance programm,- just to get my money woth it. today I am glad that I droped nursing and stay in engineering field. many people including me are capable of learing medical science, nursing doesnt teach medical science. follow your second thought, and think much much more before action.

  26. Jeff says:

    To the RN’s out there:

    I have been unemployed as a lawyer for 2 months now. I am thinking of going to an RN school in California.

    Is this worth the time and money?

    i need an honest opinion here. thanks.

    P.S I am already 41 years old.

  27. Jeff says:

    I am considering going to RN school.

    I am already 41 years old and unemployed lawyer.

    Should I go?

    • AnnMarie says:

      I wish I knew Jeff! If you got through law school, you would most likely be able to learn nursing! As for the future of the nursing field………that’s troublesome. From what I understand, the people who are currently working, are working extra hard, and doing extra shifts. The hospitals don’t want to pay to train new graduates, and they don’t want to pay the additional cost of hiring more people.The higher costs of health insurance for people over age 55, in many states, may also play a part. We can’t force them to hire! Maybe they will cut hours down to part-time to avoid paying for health-care benefits. Then they would need to hire more people, although part-time or temps! Also, several congress people request visas every year to bring nurses from other countries to the U.S., due to the so called ‘nursing shortage’, so it looks like we are really in a pickle!

  28. Sai says:

    Yes, you should if you are really interested. I did nursing when I am 40 yrs old and I found the job after 1 yr of graduation. It is hard to find a new grad RN job I agree, but you will find it if you are patient and persistent.

    • Max says:

      that’s what I thought 8 months ago but when I contstantly see ads that say in capital letters “NEW GRADS DO NOT APPLY” it is discourageing. It’s almost like a NO DOGS ALLOWED sign. If Obuma wants to do something productive, why doesn’t he create some jobs for all these overeducated underemployed people?

  29. Unquestionably consider that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be at the net the simplest thing to take into account of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while other folks consider issues that they just don’t recognize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the whole thing with no need side effect , other folks can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thank you

  30. tisiya says:

    Iam BSN RN I studied in India and I have 8+ years experience from india but when I started looking for job in US. Everybody need US experience noone is giving chance to work in US then how will I get experience. Iam totally confused what to do ?Now I feel I took wrong profession

  31. Burbank87 says:

    I went to architecture school. There were absolutely no jobs at all. Everyone said the same thing: no openings , we wish we could help, we would love to hire you. I had a 3.7 in grad school(master degree). I had some connections, but when your competing against unemployed architects with 10 years experience, what can you do. I found a good Job after applying to 400 firms, banging on doors,

    the nursing profession might not be 100 percent bulletproof , but it’s still better than the 35percent of all architects in Chicago are unemployed. I’m currently helping my wife to find a entry level nurse position, I must say that it nice to see that there are actual postings for jobs.

  32. Rob says:

    So here in good old “Taxafornia” about 1/2 of nurses graduating still do not have a job 18 mos later! I was a Paramedic with FDNY for 14 years. I moved to California and got a job as an ER Tech and desided to go to RN school. So one would think that with this clinical experience I would be a sinch to get a job. Nope! Since getting my lisence in July 2011 it has taken me until now to land a job (I start in Dec of 2012). While working at the hospital full time and going to RN school alot of my coworkers were getting offers right out of school. So I though this would be a sinch. The down side to my new job is, it is about 4 1/2 hrs away. So I will be staying there for my 3 12′s and coming home kinda sux, but it’s a job. To all who are searching do not give up.

  33. diana says:

    I am a nurse for 20years in a nursing home. The nursing home I work in does hire new grads from RN school but they don’t know much. And yet they know everything because I am to them only an LPN. They get 2-3 days yes days training and it is sink or swim. And the supervisiors that they are hiring are also new RN. Its amazing in teaching you have to be in a classroom with a teacher for months as part of your schooling. Nursing is a great field but the respect is horrible from DON to families and residents. We are suppose to do everything they want. I am not a maid and alot of the residents are in my place for rehab. We need to bain together as one of the writers spoke about and instead of eating our new nurses encourage managment to have a training program that would help each one of our hospitals and nursing homes stand out and demand that for our patients that they do deserve the best of care even though sometimes they think we are their maids. Happy Thanksgiving to all and please keep in your hearts the many people who were affected by Sandy.

  34. skor says:

    I don’t know what to say I need job like 911

  35. michelle g says:

    so is it easy to find a god because i have a eassy and i need to now

  36. Missy says:

    In my experience, finding a nursing job is not difficult. However, finding a job that suits your lifestyle can often be challenging. Many new grads are relegated to night shifts, moving to more desireable shifts over time. That was certainly the case with me, back when I started during the nursing shortage of the late 1980s. On top of that, many nursing positions with desireable hours offer less pay.

    My advice? Stick with it. With a few years experience, jobs are there for the taking. You just need to be patient because the prime opportunities come with experience.

  37. Former RN says:

    After 10 years as an ICU nurse I was fired a year ago. I haven’t had any luck in finding a new job. I get called in for interviews, but the interview is pretty much over when I tell them I was fired. It’s really frustrating. I’ve pretty much given up hope of being ever working as a nurse again.

  38. Lay Low and Endure says:

    I remember when I graduated in 2009, I was having similar issues, not finding employment for nearly a year after graduation from an ASN program and passing the NCLEX with my RN. The only reason I was hired was because I had a connection in the long term care facility where I ended up working. Due to lack of resources and support from administration I sought another nursing job and found one in home health, where every one has said burnt out nurses should seek refuge. I’ve worked in home health for a year now and have grown to love and hate it, for the same reasons I loved and hated my last job. I love taking care of my patients, providing hope in a system that sees only numbers. The resources I am lacking: encouragement from above, help in the field from nurses in the office, and time. Traveling over multiple zip codes trying to see 8 patients in one day and finishing up paperwork at home… turning ten hour days into twelve hour days five days a week plus on call five days a month including one weekend a month? I work so hard, and my compassion for the patients I see is used against me to get me to produce more. When I see my company push for numbers and medicare patients, reducing the amount of home health aid visits and LPN visits and increasing RN visits because medicare pays more for RNs, I am left dumbfounded. Doctors don’t want to receive calls, we are left faxing everything. Can never get a hold of a real clinician in my own office for trouble shooting. I’m exhausted and weary – not that these are the conditions, but that these are the conditions in a profession that I thought meant more than seeking profit. I don’t know if I can continue as a full time nurse much longer, though I know many of you would love to have a full time position where I am. These are hard times for all of us, but most of all for our patients. It is frequently hard to find the emotional energy to carry on, but what else can we do, but move forward, doing our best and learning as much as we can to improve self care and patient care a long the way? I have been told many times by friends to seek another job, but I stay, because where would my fellow nurses in this company be if I abandoned them, and what would happen to my patients? I do just enough administratively to keep the uppers happy, and focus my soul on patient care – and when I am so weary that even that makes me bitter – I am careful to maintain good boundaries and use up PTO if I needed. It’s a careful balance that I still have not yet mastered, but I have to keep trying. Keep trying all you nursing students, keep trying all you experienced nurses – just don’t give up… you are a piece to this puzzle we are all trying to figure out.

  39. Renee says:

    Thank you, for the encouragement. I will continue my search until I succeed!

  40. Jackie says:

    I just need to add my 2 cents. It is not that hospital don’t want to hire new graduate nurses is that they IMHO get some incentive to hire but not to keep nurses. I was hired right out of school NYC with ADN enrolled in a BSN program got onto a Med Surg only to be let go two months after been hired. It is the culture of nursing that they use us. Am I a victim not I am not , nor am I a mother Theresa . I’m honest with few mistakes such as getting behind w/ medication administration but so where season nurses . Depending on your unit i.e code all nurses must assist and that pushes you on your time now imagine two codes in a 12 hr shift.
    the nursing culture in most hospital is toxic including the new nurses whom are nasty witches. I had a nurse that was also a new grad she was one month short to hitting hat one year mark but this witch was so nasty to nursing students, and myself and I am a new nurse like herself..
    tired of his nursing shortage none sense and everyone becoming a nurse from grandma , uncle marti , and lassie but at the same time I don’t blame anyone becoming a nurse we where all brain bashed and naive to think that nursing is a recession proof job or a caring career.

  41. SNaomi says:

    Hello Fellow Nurses,
    I have been a nurse for a little over 5 years. I luckily obtained my BSN right away and have been able to basically pick and choose where I have wanted to work in many states. However, I decided to move out to the West Coast (Seattle/ Tacoma area) after I was accepted into a Masters program. I applied to MANY positions and was offered only 1 interview in an area I had recently been working in; after a short orientation was fired for no real reason in my probation period. I have been applying to multiple positions, needing to work while I am in school and so far I haven’t heard anything but denials. I am beginning to worry if I will EVER get another nursing job, even after I complete my Masters. I’m not sure what to do. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  42. Dario Arcano says:

    Not to get off topic but We’re wanting to move to another location and are searching for an honest moving organization. We were thinking of using this organization, Movers4Less 1992 N Main St Walnut Creek, CA 94596 – 925-309-6130. Is there some sort of movers fraud or review resource I could possibly use to do a background check?

  43. JanetT says:

    I would appreciate if someone would reply to me because I’m interested in becoming a nurse in the future though I’m still a high school student. Many of you are saying that many hospitals want nurses who have experience. In the future if I volunteer in a hospital would that be counted as experience?

  44. sue says:

    The entire system is really messed up. A local hospital chases a JHACO accredidation, but their patient care stinks and the nosocomal infection rates continue to go up. I am an RN with other degrees. I think the dr/hell comments sadly are correct. Mandates and accredidations are ruining the systems. Public education and healthcare systems that have worked for generations. Political mandates (inplace, so that pharma, etc can make money) are not only ruining nursing and medical care, but are also ruining education. Charter schools do not have to follow that same laws and mandates that our public schools do. Try getting a back rub in a hospital, try getting pain medication 30 minutes before physical therapy. Nursing is being ruined my technology and mandates. No time for back rubs, but make sure the IV bag is full and time for vital signs. Robotic isn’t it. Feed the Technolgy, to hell with the patient in the bed!

  45. sue says:

    Just a thought, why do nursing programs continue to pack their classes? If there are no nursing jobs to be had,………… MONEY. They don’t care if you get a job. Ask a new lawyer, teacher, there are no jobs in sight, but they continue to graduate students at records numbers. I am refering to a recent article ie. MBA grads. They not only have a harder time finding jobs, but the starting salary is 5600 less than is was in 2007. Meanwhile, their student loan amounts have skyrocketed. I guess as a new student, you have to ask yourself, what are the chances of me finding a job? Will I be able to pay off my student loans after I graduate? Am I willing to move away from my family/friends to get a job? Please go into any profession with your eyes as wide open as possible. Check out the states with the most elderly/unhealthy/obese people is it as possible, and check out the states financial health. Does it have generous Medicaid reimbursements? Sorry to be negative, but check it out. Don’t go into nursing to get rich, you really have to feel for people and want to help them, otherwise you are just wasting you time and will be unhappy in the profession. It can be very rewarding, but not necessarily in a financial way.

  46. Hopeful New Grad RN says:

    Wow. I am a new grad RN as of Jan 2013 waiting to take my nclex rn exam and after reading all of these posts. I feel absolutely dreadful about my future. I was so happy last week at graduation after completing what seemed to be nursing school from hell and now this. No jobs? I’m already broke, spent my last on my exam fee and don’t feel like I will find a job. I haven’t actually applied for a job yet, want to get my license first. But man, I’m so down and disappointed now. I love nursing. I have finally found something I am truly good at, and to think that I may not find a job for maybe even a year saddens me. I have overcome so much to graduate on time and emotionally intact. I have exhausted by unemployment benefits, living off of food stamps alone and at home with parents. I thought this would empower me to take real action in my life and propel myself and my children into a better life…..Now what?

  47. May 12'RN-BSN unemployed says:

    Hello everyone, I am a new graduate nurse in a major city and I have applied to various hospitals and organizations within 65 miles of commuting distance, and still no luck. It is unfortunate that hospitals aren’t willing to give a new grad nurse a chance. If they invested the time and education on new graduate nurses, they will be investing in their future, and especially patient outcomes. Most new grad nurses have obtained their BSN’s, and if hospitals are thriving to seek that Magnet status, it’s not going to happen without BSN nurses.

    I am deeply saddened because I dreamed of becoming a nurse since I was a child, and there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. It truly is my calling, but sadly nobody is picking up the other end : (

  48. ChrissyRN says:

    I am a new graduate nurse from Miami, FL. with an ASN. I graduated in August 2012 and passed my boards October 2012. I have been searching and applying all over Florida for a nursing position that will even accept a new grad, because there are plenty of jobs open… The employers just don’t want new grad nurses. I have a 3.2, graduated from a good school, persistant, good résumé. I have applied to over 300 positions, not one interview or even a call back. Just the same generic letter in my email box informing me that I don’t meet their qualifications and they are not considering me for the job. Here is where it gets sticky. Your advisor will tell you to take a job with a extended care facility or nursing home and out of despiration from looking most new grads will do that, but what they don’t tell you is by accepting a position that is not considered “critical care” you have relinquished your new grad title and are no longer able to apply to most hospital residency “new grad” programs. On top of that you don’t have the required one year of “hospital experience” to apply for any hospital jobs… What’s a new grad to do with no experience and no one willing to give it?? Survive the longest two years of your life to get to the finish line and find out no one wants a new grad while we are hurting for nurses?? What do you think will happen to the shortage when people start hearing there are no jobs for new grads?? Guess what no one is gonna kill themselves through nursing school to not find work… The shortage will get worse if people don’t feel going to college for this profession is a safe option in this economy…

  49. Gene says:

    I got my license may 2012 in ct as an lpn, its now jan 2013 and I still cant find a job. Ive had a total of 5 interviews, sent out to much resumes onursing homes,too much to count. fortunately they would call me back for interview maybe because they are impressed with my resume but unfortunately when I have a chance to meet them Ibelieve I get diacriminated by my age because I am just 19 when I got my license and im now 20. It just doesnt make sense to me why they woukd call me for interview if I clearly pur on my reaume that im a new grad. And when im there they tell me they dnt hirenew grads. I just really dont get it! its not like we wer practicing on dummies, we wer actually working with real patients doing total care and have done med pass on our clinicals. This is just so frustrating and its definitely putting me down coz at an early age I thought I was going to the right path.

  50. RN as a 2nd act says:

    I began taking prerequisites for nursing school in 2010, when I was laid off. I was blessed with several months of severance, so I began to focus on getting myself together for nursing school. I have a BS in accounting (2003) and an MBA in finance (2006), but I knew about 12 years ago that I wanted to be a nurse. However, I was on a merit scholarship and my college didn’t have a school of nursing. Plus, back then, classes didn’t transfer as easily as they do these days. Anyway, I was just accepted to an accelerated/2nd bachelors BSN program at a top nursing school here in TX. It is only 16 month program.

    After reading these posts from actual nurses, I am nervous about this endeavor. I currently work as a Financial Analyst and I make a good salary. I am also a wife and mother of 1 with a little one on the way (due during a short break in the program). I am really conflicted because I have been working toward this for 3 years and now I’m in to my 1st (only) choice program. I am unsure if I can do the program and continue working. Also, in my city, many hospitals are hiring new grads with no experience on a regular basis.

    Any thoughts on the possibility of doing the program while working???

    • Max says:

      What city is hiring new grads with no experience? I have applied to hospitals in ND and MN where there are supposedly jobs and haven’t got a single reply.

    • Yotisny says:

      Please….let us know what city they are hiring new nursing grads!!!! I am reading this and getting discouraged and I didn’t want to do nursing. I have been working on pre-reqs for Diagnostic Medical Sonography or Dental Hygiene but have been speaking to people I work with (non-healthcare industry) who have done other allied health programs and are not working in their field because of the same thing….no new grads….prior experience required. I have a BS in Business and schools have suggested that I look in to Healthcare Admin but I am not too computer savvy (between basic and intermediate in the main MS Office apps) nor do I type fast.

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