New Grad Job Market: A Game of Chance

by sourapril

34,597 Unique Views | 73 Comments

Someone smart once said: "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This article talks about the unhealthy trend of newly licensed RNs applying to numerous job postings for months and years without getting a job, and how the importance of education is downplayed in applicant selection process. Maybe there needs to be a change in the healthcare system so that new nurses are given a chance to show their knowledge and skills.

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    New Grad Job Market: A Game of Chance

    It's no longer about whether you qualify for the job or not, or if you have more education and experience than the next person. Nowadays everyone passes NCLEX, everyone graduates with a 4.0, everyone has CNA experience, and yet still many spent months and even years to land that first job out of nursing school. I don't think nurse managers and hospital administrators actually know the severity of the unhealthy new grad job market because all of them have given me the same suggestions (I only personally know one and other managers are friends of a friend): Get some CNA experience, Apply to new grad programs and Move to a different state. I have already done the first two and I think I may have to do the last one sooner or later.

    Just weeks ago, I thought passing the NCLEX was mission impossible because I could not get my Kaplan Q bank score to be over 57%, but in the end, NCLEX seemed to be a piece of cake. Yes, I spent three hours at the test center but I passed on my first try. The thing is I never had PTSD with standardized tests or writing papers no matter how many times I had to do them and how hard they seemed. SAT, piece of cake. GRE, piece of cake, NCLEX, not exactly a piece of cake but maybe a slice of a cake? However, I was traumatized multiple times when I applied for jobs. First time was when I graduated from college with a BS in biology. That was in 2006 and no place would hire me. Eventually after 4 months of hopeless searching and going through some really dark period, my dad made some connections and I moved hundreds of miles away to work as a research assistant in a very cold place where the winter was long and harsh. Second time was when I graduated from grad school with a public health degree. Still, no places seemed to want me so I moved again miles away to take some low-paying job with a well known national nonprofit organization in a hot desert where 100F was accepted as a comfortable and normal temperature. You would think third times a charm, but I was again denied for an entry level position. Friends, good friends nonetheless I made at school became competitors and strangers, and they didn't give a damn whether I found a job or not. They stopped talking to me or hanging out with me as soon as they found a job. The more sympathetic ones would say, "you will find it" or "it's not just you." Eventually everyone moved on and moved away.

    Yesterday, one of the CNAs whom I used to work with connected me with the HR person of a good nursing home. Hopefully I will get an interview and maybe even a job next week. Sometimes I asked myself why I kept going back to school when obviously what employers wanted was experience. Does two college degrees and one master degree means nothing to employers anymore? Is an intelligent person who published 2 papers in well-known scientific journals, who have volunteered for years, who had CNA experience, clinical research experience, and teaching experience not hireable in this market? Then why on earth do schools charge students a fortune to get a piece of paper, and more students want to carry tens and thousands of student debts so that they can put a B.S.N. after their names?

    I chose nursing because I genuinely care about people and interested in healing them and helping them resolve whatever issues they got in their lives. Maybe that's no longer a good reason for why you want to become a nurse. Maybe I should erase that from my cover letter (note to self: don't mention you care about people just list your experience and accomplishment). If I was rejected by as many guys as the number of potential employers who rejected me, I would not want to date anyone anymore. I probably would even quit asking guys out after 3 rejections. And yet, here I am, filling out yet another job application, writing another cover letter, to number X employer (I lost counts on how many jobs I applied)...expecting a different result (maybe I will get lucky and get hired this time). Someone smart once said: "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Maybe I am insane.

    P.S. the last quote is from my hero Albert Einstein, who also said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." I think I am that fish who tries to climb a tree or pollinate a flower and believe I am not good enough.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 27, '13
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  4. About sourapril

    I am a new grad who is trying to keep my head up regardless of many rejections I received in the past. I have two bachelor degrees and one master degree and hope to find that one open-minded employer who would give me a chance to show my ability and talent.

    sourapril joined Mar '10 - from 'Denver, CO, US'. Posts: 480 Likes: 125; Learn more about sourapril by visiting their allnursesPage LinkedIn Website


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    73 Comments so far...

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    Experience is valued more than a degree, this is true. We go into college thinking that once we get that degree, we will be invincible, we will stand out from all the rest. Sadly, since every1 has a degree now, it's just that a piece of paper you wipe your but with. Imagine the people that spend 7-8 years to become lawyers and they find out there's no jobs for them upon graduation. That mcdonalds employee who never went to college is better off financially than that law school graduate with 100k in debt and lost 8 years worth of income potential. That's how messed up our world is today. Your asking y do colleges go out and hand pieces of useless paper while charging outrageous fees? The answer is simple, it's for profit and they don't care about you. An education today isn't what it used to be in the past. Society, morally is disintegrating. Also, can you imagine how many unemployed professors there would be if we got rid of all the useless degrees like bio, psych, history, arts, etc...? They obviously won't warn the student b/c professors need to make sure they have students to teach otherwise they will be let go, they have to fill there quota's. The whole system is messed up and is a complete scam. Tuition is outrageous!!! nowadays. I would strongly encourage others to seek learning a trade at some vocational school, i truly feel you will be better off with no debt.
    db2xs, rudycoon, MBARNBSN, and 8 others like this.
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    It's so sad. Some of my friends are the smartest people I've ever met (they aced their SATs, and got all kinds of scholarship while in school). They have jobs, but it pays way less than what they deserve. My dad once joked that he only has a high school education and he is making way more money than someone who has multiple degrees (aka me).
    MBARNBSN, Esme12, and megneedsajob like this.
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    You are so right. I have a BS in Healthcare Admin and couldn't move into a higher level position with the organization that I was employed with. I thought going forward with an MS in Healthcare Admin would give me that leverage. Here I am six years later in the same position and thousands of dollars in debt! Like you, I have also applied and interviewed for many jobs but was turned down because I had no experience. I am really considering an Accelerated BSN degree and visit AllNurses on a weekly basis to get information on nursing degrees. I too believe that nursing would be such a rewarding career because of the care that nurses give to their patients! It's just such a competitive degree nowadays that the Universities can raise their admission requirements higher and higher, and the private schools can charge so much. I think that eventually I will end up as a nurse who spends all of her paycheck on paying back student loans! Is it wrong to hope that one day the healthcare market will open up and employers will actually seek out employees instead of the other way around??
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    Im going to go out on a limb and try to explain how the economy works. In fact, ill make it simple, the economy effects healthcare, it is not recession proof like some people claim. If indeed there are more wars, money will be needed to pay it off. the government budget will need to accommodate the war bill. All sectors of society or most will be effected. Look at the cutbacks and wage freezes on police and teachers for instance. So believe it or not, what's happening overseas is going to determine what the job market is not only for healthcare occupations, but for everything else as well. Now, if you decide to do an accelerated program, realize you need to make sure you have all the pre-reqs courses for the accelerated program, so make sure you look at the programs requirements b4 you apply. The accelerated programs last anywhere btwn 12-18 months. Realize it will be nearly impossible to work during that time. I am also a 2nd degree student, however i'm doing a 3-yr traditional route for my 2nd Bachelors degree in nursing. I did 1 yr of prereqs and now im about to start the 2-yr traditional route nursing program in the fall. This will allow me to work and not have to pull out large loans.
    phillycpnp-pc likes this.
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    I have applied for numerous positions the past few years, but I remain in the same area of nursing as I was in two years ago. I have landed a few interviews but nothing ever came out of them. I recieved no call backs even when they seemed interested in hiring me. Healthcare is not recession proof, those of us who have jobs end up staying and not getting raises and if we try to go back to school we cannot find a job that fits our newly added qualifications. Some states have more jobs, I know is New Jersey is not one with a lot of options, you find a job that is half way decent and end up staying there for awhile because nothing else comes up.
    my_purpose likes this.
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    It wasn't always this way in fact, when I graduated in 1990 the hospitals did "seek out employees". Every person in my class had a job with a local hospital before we even graduated.

    Of course, that is not how it is today. One of the problems I see is that nursing is constantly in the news as being recession proof and one of the best careers available. I know of so many people going into nursing because they believe they will have no problem finding a job and they will be making lots of money. The truth is, most places want someone with experience. The reason being it takes less time to train them which makes it very cost effective.

    Another thing, there are hiring freezes everywhere so, even though a job may be posted it may not be available for a long time. It makes me wonder why they post them at all. Very frustrating, I don't think I could hack starting out as a new nurse in today's world.
    JesusKeepMe and adventure780 like this.
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    "Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital saw $5.3 million net loss last month" then you read articles like this one blaming the nursing shortage for the most of the loss because it is causing.

    "inc
    reasing reliance on expensive contract labor, the hospital said. Since 2011, Parkland has spent $32 million on traveling nurses and other outside contractors to fill its depleted ranks. It expects to spend an additional $8 million next year.
    Temporary employees earn about 40 percent more than full-time Parkland workers. The hospital also must pay the staffing agency.“This contract labor issue is killing us..."

    Parkland’s interim chief operating officer "said registered nurses, particularly those specializing in surgery and emergency care, are difficult to hire and retain. Parkland officials say a national nursing shortage makes temps more attractive. The hospital’s regulatory problems also make it a tougher place to work."

    Certainly they want experienced nurses, but certainly, it would be cheaper to hire new grads and train them with contracts to stay for a specified time than rather than spending on temporary help. It just seems so illogical. What's more the citizens of Dallas County are having to make up the losses and all the while don't realize there is no nursing shortage and there are thousands of new grads worthy of investing in.


    db2xs, rudycoon, SingingBird, and 6 others like this.
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    The job market have certainly changed since I first got my LPN back in 2004. I am now an ADN, RN and I noticed it is more difficult to find a job these days. The economy was really good in 2004 and 2005 and back then I could walk into an establishment and be interviewed right on the spot! Sign on bonuses could be found occasionally. Those were the days!
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    Too bad you hadn't spent all this time in college for med school! Then you would have been rewarded with a very lucrative income. Well I'm sure its too late for that in terms of student loans etc. and you will have to keep plugging along. So if you have a friend who is a manager why can't the friend get you a job? I don't understand that. Where do you live CA? It appears you will have to move for a job if none of your connections is willing to give you a job. But if you read on here many others are in the same predicament and went into nursing after having degrees in other fields as well.


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