Quote from itsnowornever
Please, dont get "hung up" on having to start in a new grad program. I have talked to several managers as well as faculty at my school that all agree with what i am saying---yes they are nice, HOWEVER, even if you are hired straight onto a floor you will STILL get an in depth orientation (if the hospital isn't willing to do that, run away!) I can't help but roll my eyes when nurses say "Oh you have to do a new grad program, or med surg before going into a specialty"...no you don't. Are they nice? Sure! Are they prestigious? Yup...but you better be sure it's the floor you are willing to work on for 1-3 years before going into the program or you will end up owing thousands of dollars.
Oh boy would I love a job that is not a new grad program. In San Diego, the main hospitals will not let you work for them as a new grad unless you get into a new grad program with them which is nearly impossible due to the thousands of applicants. Then all 3 of the smaller hospitals want 1 - 3 years of acute care exp. The wonderful catch-22. The only way to get a job down here is to move out of state and come back in a few years. Which is likely what I am about to do.
As for the OP's question, apply based on the requirement that you must have your license by start of program. Yes you get paid (for 99% of them).
Also, it depends on the hospital as far as whether they will keep you after the commitment time. Most do, but one of our hospitals in the area does not guarantee employment after the program.
Your specialty also depends on the hospital. You get to select a couple of preference, but they will place you where they see a best fit. Some hospitals hire differently.