Looking through a variety of nursing blogs and websites, I am noticing a growing concern from new graduate Registered Nurses (RN) looking for their first nursing position. Very frustrating, but hang in there. Let me share my perspective as a hiring manager, and hopefully, you will be taking vital signs and assessing patients in no time!
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing indicates that there is a continuing shortage and growing need for Registered Nurses. The trend is anticipated to continue, as baby boomers require additional healthcare. Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 27,000 jobs was added per month in the healthcare industry in 2011. There is hope!
Reasons for not finding a job
Lack of experience: Of course a new nurse will have very limited real-life experience. Lack of experience may be a true reason in some instances, however, a well-rounded nursing unit should have a mix of seasoned and new nurses. If the unit you are applying for has too many new nurses, or only highly experienced nurses, it is probably not an ideal environment to consider.
Under-educated: New graduates with an Associate Degree are often concerned that they are under-educated. Perhaps a Bachelors degree will be more attractive to a prospective employer Again, this may be true, an employer may select the BSN prepared nurse over the ADN. However, I am seeing many of the same difficulties from new graduate BSN nurses as well. Education may be able to help your particular situation, but only if you know how to properly leverage its benefits. If you think you can emphasize education to get a job, you can certainly emphasize other qualifications as well. Education should not be the sole reason between job or no job.
Location: Depending on where you live may also dictate your opportunities. In Los Angeles, you can find major medical centers within blocks of each other. In more rural areas, there may be only a small community hospital every 30-50 miles. As with any profession, the more flexible you can be in expanding your search outside of your city or state, the better your chances will be.
Medical/Surgical setting: The gold standard for nursing experience seems to be one year of medical/surgical inpatient care. This was true 20 years ago as well. Of course, a new graduate will not go wrong with this type of experience, however, be open to different opportunities. Look for emerging needs within your locale. One of the great things about nursing is the plethora of opportunities. So many RN’s work and enjoy environments outside of the hospital, outside of direct patient care. Your career can take on an entirely different path than you had anticipated!
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