Who is STILL saying that there is a "nursing shortage?" Or that a nursing shortage is "just around the corner, when Obama's Health Care Reform kicks in, when the Baby Boomer nurses retire, etc., etc." Yep, that's right, those magazines you get free in the mail: "Nursing Spectrum" and the like. Their revenue is almost entirely from advertising by the corporate controlled hospitals, who benefit enormously from a surplus of R.N.s on the job market. The R.N. surplus drives down wages (even if a union is involved), prevents the need to offer sign-on bonuses, and gives employers the upper hand in any employment negotiations, in general. By erroneously believing that there is a nursing shortage, nurses play right into the greedy hands of the 1%- the corporations who now control most of the major hospitals.
What do they - "Dear Donna" and the like- suggest, if you can't find a nursing job? Work for free - VOLUNTEER! There are plenty of M.B.A.s and new grad lawyers unable to find entry level jobs in their fields, too, but do you see them offering their services "for free?" I don't think so! They are smart enough to realize that professionalism is not just about knowing the nuts and bolts of your field, but about knowing that being an R.N. has financial worth in the marketplace, too. Would you donate your paycheck to the 1%? Well, then, why work for free?
We need to do what M.D.s have done for ages- control our own numbers, keep a lid on the number of new nurses, in order to maintain salary levels and put the job market more in our favor. Instead, the nursing schools have opened the floodgates to nursing applicants to "help solve the nursing shortage." I am so sick of that expression! We have no obligation to employers- to the corporate hospitals- to "help solve" the problem of having to pay us a fair wage, which is what they had to do when R.N. vacancy rates were high in the 90's.
Newly graduated M.D.s HAVE TO control their numbers so that they will have PAID jobs waiting- you cannot have literally a million dollars in student loans outstanding, and not be able to repay them. It's bad enough to owe $20,000 in nursing student loans. We need to take our cue from other professionals, who we so often criticize for being so terrible and greedy, and learn a tactic or two from them to survive.