Is there a feeling of entitlment among new grads?

  1. I posted this is the New Grad forum, but want to post it here as well to get some thoughts and feeling of those with experience and different perspective.

    I am in the grad class of May 09. As a class we are facing difficulty in finding jobs. As I hear the stories on these forums and the complaints of my classmates I am starting to wonder if nursing students have taken on a feeling of entitlement.

    This is my second degree, my first was in Biology. When I was in my first degree program we all found every opportunity we could to secure a job upon graduation. We took unpaid internships, worked after school, TA'd, networked, what ever it took. What I have scene in my class is that paid externships from the local hospital have gone unfilled. When I attend out of class lectures and seminars at the hospital there is not a single other nursing student there.

    I had two full time offers upon graduation, both in the department I wanted to be in, due to the extra effort I put in. Only one other student in my class has a job. However most did not even start applying until recently and are complaining of the lack of jobs. Jobs are not entitlements, often they must be earned. I know that many of us, my self included, entered nursing in part because of the security and good pay, but when did that mean we stopped working hard to find a job and just put in a bunch of applications and hoped for the best?

    An article in our local paper showed a grad nurse with a stack of scrubs with price tags still on stating she graduated last semester and still no job. Why did she go out and purchase scrubs without a job yet? A job is not a guarantee, not should it be. Nursing as a profession should be billed more as 'it takes a smart, strong person to get in' and not 'anyone who graduates has a guaranteed perfect job'. Most professionals do not expect to get the perfect job in any place they want immediately out of school, so why should nurses?

    I am not try to anger anyone by making statements, I am just putting some thoughts down to see what other have observed. Think critically of the current situation facing new nurses. How does are attitudes affect how we go about obtaining jobs? Are we expecting to much, are we expecting more than other professional new grads do? What do we want the image of nursing to be? Not passing judgment, just asking questions that I really am trying to figure out.

    Advice that was given to me by nursing directors is to first call the organization you are applying for and find out who will be reading your resume. Address your cover letter to them directly. DO NOT put to whom it may concern or nursing director, a fast way to get it thrown out in a competitive market.

    Don't do blanket applications, take time and care to each one. Your cover letter needs and resume to address each postion individually. This takes time and care and a little research.

    Keep in contanct with the orgs you are applying for. Call and ask questions, show enthusiasm for the position. Don't bug them, but keep in contact. Always reply promptly and formally. If you have a funny signature on your e-mail make sure to delete this before sending. Every contact should be professional.

    Check the local hospital website for free educational opportunities. These are a great chance to network with hospital administration. Find out what the local status is from you area hospitals by asking directly, not through hearsay.

    The first job may not be anywhere near where or the department you want to be in. That's OK, this is just the start. Gaining experience starts at the bottom and works up. The recession in temporary, these hiring cycles have been in existence long before we sought out jobs. It will get better. Hard work, a good attitude, and the willingness to work up will go a long way to securing a good future in a great profession.

    Good luck to everyone out there, and go that extra effort to get that job you really desire!
  2. 51 Comments

  3. by   yetanotheramanda
    I don't know about entitlement, but students who are graduating now did go into school with an "understanding" that there was a nursing shortage and there would be tons of jobs to choose from after graduation. I think everyone in my class who was looking for a job around this part of the country has one (maybe not their dream job, but a job none the less). We are very lucky.

    I can't explain why your fellow students seem to be so unambitious about looking for jobs, that's weird. Maybe they are just shell-shocked that hospitals are not actively recruiting them like they expected?

    I wouldn't call it a feeling of entitlement, though. More like just not having the skills to job hunt effectively. You gave some good advice.
  4. by   changeofpaceRN
    I agree with a lot of your post. The problem I see is that these new grads don't even get the chance to prove themselves because they can't even get an interview or a call back!

    I'm not sure how the job market it for other majors but I'm sure most of the new grads *just* want an interview. Back when I first graduated with my 1st degree, I applied to about 30 places and got 2 calls. At least then I knew people were looking at my resume and giving me the chance. I took the first thing that came my way and worked up from there.

    Then, when I first graduated as a LPN, I sent out countless resumes and had NO call backs- this was a few years ago. I then took out the yellow book and had to call up each facility and ask for the DON to ask if they were hiring new grads. That is how I got my 1st nursing job (I called about 40 places and only 2 were willing to hire new grads). From what I understand, most of the jobs out there are NOT advertised and my 1st nursing job was not advertised.

    As a new RN, I've had a difficult time getting anyone's attention even with LPN experience. I did get a few call backs and a few job offers but it wasn't easy. A lot of the hospitals are on a hiring freeze too so that doesn't help the situation.

    I wanted to add a few years ago companies around here recruited directly from the nursing school. Hospitals sent job openings to you after you were able to sit for the NCLEX. It was a different time back then for nurses.

    I wish everyone luck in their job search!
  5. by   hypocaffeinemia
    If you call "expecting to find a position in the profession you just spend 3+ years and thousands of dollars training for" a sense of entitlement, sign me and my classmates up.

    Luckily, I've been more fortunate than most of them.
  6. by   roosmom

    I'm not a new grad - I've been in nursing for 10 years now. Reading your post made me really stop and think, though. You made alot of really wonderful points and I sure hope that many of our site's newer graduates take the time to read it.

    I've noticed a trend in the last few years in my local area. To back up, when I graduated with my RN, there was talk of the nursing shortage even then, but I think most of my classmates took all that with a grain of salt. We knew going in that nursing was going to be hard work, and that nursing is a 24 hour a day profession. There were much fewer opportunities in my area at that time to find positions that were great shifts, and we all knew that.

    My first job was night shift, 7p-7a, as were most of my fellow classmates. Day shifts and clinical jobs were just very scarce at the time and we were all grateful to be working at all.

    Many of the last few years of graduates around here seem to be coming out of the local nursing program believing they can demand any position/rotation/shift that they want. Note: I said many not all! Many do end up starting on night shift because those are simply the available positions in this area. They don't want to work weekends, they don't want nights, they complain if scheduled on a holiday. I have seen a real disparity in the number of sick calls between the newer grads and the "seasoned" nursing staff. I live in a fairly rural area, so it's not unusual to hear about one of the nurses that called in showing up at a local bar or party.

    I don't know if this is related to the talk of the nursing shortage students are hearing of in school, or if it's a generational/societal thing. It's odd, because alot of the newer graduates are "older" students themselves. There does seem to be a difference in work ethic though and it would be interesting to see a study or some statistics on the subject.

    I hope I haven't offended anyone. I was not trying to generalize - we have a several new grads that work their butts off and are very greatly appreciated. They're enthusiastic and very eager to learn and I love working with them. I also know of few older nurses who tend to kind of skate through their shifts.

    I think that some of us older nurses should take more opportunities to precept new grads - it can be a real chance to instill in them a pride in the job, and see where they're coming from too.
  7. by   mercy20
    We must keep in mind that the economic changes have created a job market (less supply, more demand) that did not exist when these new grads were in school. The class before mine (2007) had recruiters at graduation, job offers in hand. My class (2008)- not so much, but the demand was still such that there were several K sign-on bonuses and loan repayment offers.

    In addition, other discipines usually have "career counseling" that advise students on how to become competitive job applicants upon graduation. In my experience, this is not the case w/nursing schools, because well, they did not need to (in the past) due to the high demand.

    New grads had all the nursing schools and media promising them they would have NO trouble finding a job- with these promises broken, they now feel stuck and frustrated. They cannot turn back time and do internships, networking, etc, which I'm sure many would have if pointed in the right direction. Most in my nursing class were also working to pay the bills- if a person is sure there will be a job for them on graduation, they will most certainly pick a paying job, instead of a non-paying or low-paid internship.

    Therefore, instead of implying these students did not have the drive to do their homework, we should look at the reasons behind what is happening.

    To those in school now, you are in a better position b/c you know what lies ahead, and know what you need to do to become a competitive applicant.

    To any new grads reading this post, keep your head up, keep hope- "this too shall pass."
  8. by   yetanotheramanda
    [/quote] New grads had all the nursing schools and media promising them they would have NO trouble finding a job- with these promises broken, they now feel stuck and frustrated. They cannot turn back time and do internships, networking, etc, which I'm sure many would have if pointed in the right direction. Most in my nursing class were also working to pay the bills- if a person is sure there will be a job for them on graduation, they will most certainly pick a paying job, instead of a non-paying or low-paid internship.


    very good points!
  9. by   oramar
    Considering that they were practically force fed that line about the "nursing shortage", I am not at all surprised that they are shocked by this tight job market that came up quite suddenly. During the tight labor market of the last 5 or 6 years when new and experienced nurses had their pick of jobs, I also used the term "nursing shortage". When I used it I was referring to the refusal of so many nurses to work at the bedside under the bad conditions for nurses there. If you are new to the health care business there is something you can learn here. Health care management controls the nursing shortages just as they control the tight job market. During the shortage they were never the helpless victims of circumstances they would have everyone believe. They were not filling positions and using the "shortage" as a cover for keeping over head down. And I am just as I am sure that they are laying off people and creating a tight job market for their own reasons and benefit right now. To them this economic downturn is a chance to increase patient loads, freeze wages and cut benefits. Before this is all over their margins will be up and they will give themselves a big, fat bonus and a platinum gold parachute.
  10. by   regularRN
    [FONT="Comic Sans MS"]I became an RN in 1987 - just like any other vocational training or degree, there is no guarantee of employment. I worked just as hard as my friends who studied education, drama, film, social work, computer science, physics or biology (etc) to find a job.
  11. by   MedSurgeMess
    I just finished RN-BSN program, and many of the 4 yr traditional BSNs are very upset because they "have" to work Med-Surg instead of ICU or OB, night shift instead of days, and worse yet...weekends!...those of us who were in the bridge program just shake our heads, wondering why these younger folks think they should get to start at the top instead or working their way up--I don't wish to offend anyone young, but it's mostly the younger graduates, although I've heard some of the older students comment as well. And unfortunately, this isn't the case with just's rampant in just about every field.
  12. by   MesaRN
    Thanks to everyone for the replies. This post has generated the type of discussion I am really interested in. There is quite a range of view points and I really enjoy reading them all!

    Many in my class have argued the broken promises of the nursing shortages and expectation of active recruitment in the hospitals as reasons for not perusing things sooner. This is mind set I would like to talk about. I find it similar to the current economic trend. People were promised things and are now in trouble because they did not foresee the downturn. Now many are now facing foreclosure or economic hardship. I am just wondering if many new grads were just expecting there to be jobs. I feel that blaming the media or the "nursing shortage" as reason for not actively pursue a job early IS the reason behind the current attitude. I look as this as students putting the blame on someone else, what about personal responsibility? Are students victims of hype?

    We teach leadership and critical think has the foundation of nursing practice, why do we expect less of our job candidates?

    I was always taught to not rely on jobs to just come to you, regardless of the “promises” made to you. The hype of the nursing shortage really changed the way students viewed job placement and in turn change the way they pursued their first job. There are thousand of highly educated people who spent 3+, 4+, 7+ years and thousands of dollars pursing degrees only to face a tough market and a lack of jobs. Pursuing a nursing degree is a time consuming, energy consuming, and money consuming endeavor, but it should not guarantee you a job where life and death can be consequences.

    Maybe the 'silver lining' is the lack of jobs will result in an increase in student involvement in pursue their careers earlier. I would like to know the nurse who is caring for me in the hospital is more than a warm body, but a competitive and knowledgeable individual who has done everything they could to advance their knowledge. Just completing an ADN or BSN is not enough. A competitive candidates should show leadership and ambition, not just be waiting at the door expecting to get in.

    Just like many have gone to more frugal ways to save money and spend less on extravagant things, I hope that this current downturn in the nursing market will help to redefine what it means to enter the nursing profession. We are professionals and if we want to gain and maintain respect as such we need to encourage leadership, self drive, and set a high standard for entry into a demanding and rewarding career.
    Thanks again everyone, keep the ideas following. I am learning from everyone!
    Last edit by MesaRN on May 9, '09
  13. by   hypocaffeinemia
    I don't think any of my fellow classmates expect jobs to just come to them-- even in a good market.

    I live in the city with the largest medical center on Earth-- Houston. I put in no less than 30 applications in at a multitude of hospitals. First, in Jan/Feb for internship positions. When those dried up (many hospitals elected not to do internships), I applied for med/surg jobs and any other position where experience was listed as preferred instead of required. Nothing. Not a nibble.

    My luck is that I've been an EMT and a monitor tech for 5 years at my current facility and I nagged them until my director created a position for me.

    My friends are getting interviews and then the hospitals are going on hiring freezes after they've already been interviewed and department directors expressed interest.

    The problem is deeper than simply not trying hard enough.
  14. by   Irene joy
    Many of us in our class have gotten nurse tech jobs. We are at the point where we have learned all our skills, have done well in balancing time and can take on the extra time a jobs entails. We also know that we will not be handed a job just because we graduated. With hopspitals having hiring freezes, I'm more than happy doing CNA responcibilities while getting my foot in the door!