Quote from lpningeorgia
I'm scared to death of entering an RN program. I already owe 17,000 for the lpn and it's been almost 3 years since I finished. I don't want to run into the same situation of not being able to find work once I'm done with the RN.
If you're already working as an LPN, then you already have a leg up on other new grads. If you're a bedside nurse (LPN or RN) for 3 years, then you already have the experience that they're looking for.
The problem with new grads and experience is that most nursing schools only allow the student to focus on one or two patients at a time. Whilst this may be critical for the academic arena, it certainly is not what you'll find in the real world. A hospital setting requires nurses to be able to take anywhere from 4-8 patients (depending on your state and hospital)
and double that if you're relieving someone else who goes on break. So the question becomes, can you take care of up to 16 patients if you suddenly had to, but at a minimum, an average of 8? Most new nurses would be lost unless they had a real good orientation program, which costs lots of money. Most structured orientation plans for new grads have disappeared entirely. I remember the place where I work used to have a 3 month orientation, which over time, was trimmed to 3 weeks, and further cut to 3 days. Ergo, new hires are expected to hit the ground running and no one is going to be there to hold their hand.
Additionally, nurses with 2-3 years experience are the most cost effective insofar as an employer is concerned. They're generally the lowest paid (as they have the least experience) but have just enough knowledge to stay out of trouble. They'll know to call the doctor if there is a problem, and won't be fumbling around by the bedside and worrying their patients. Thus, for a new grad to break into a hospital these days, is almost impossible.
For the new grad, my suggestion is to look for work with the hospital that you trained in. If anything, you're at least familiar with the physical layout, and know the general flow of things. If you left a good impression while you were a student there, it may influence the staff to support your attempt at employment. Another avenue is to volunteer. While you won't get paid, it will again, allow you to get to know people and, over time, get them on your side. At least this would be a leg up on all the other new grads who don't know anyone there at all.
And finally, good luck to all the new nurses out there. Regardless of the dismal employment situation for new grads, I for one, am gratified that there are others in the pipeline ready to fill our shoes as us old timers punch out. So don't lose heart; we most certainly need you. Please don't ever forget that.