New Grads, A Few Words of Encouragement

by brian Admin

  1. 203
    After reading so many threads here on allnurses.com about the hard times many new grads are having at getting jobs, I just wanted to share a few words of encouragement.

    My feelings go out to all of you who are having a hard time finding jobs. I feel your pain and know what you are going through.

    I graduated in '95, we all had the similar issues with new grads having a hard time finding a job. The market was saturated, hospitals only wanted 1-2 years experience. I found it very frustrating and scary. Months and months of applying, sending out my resumes and applications, and continually getting rejected. Eventually, I came to the realization that my dream of working in a hospital as a new grad was not going to happen.

    I began applying at Long Term Care (LTC) facilities, something that did not interest me at the time, but I was wanting so bad to begin my nursing career that I was willing to take any job that I could find to begin getting some experience etc...

    While my goal was to to work in a level one trauma center and ICU, or ER, I found myself in long term care, and once I accepted it, I really enjoyed long term care. I found myself learning a ton of nursing assessment knowledge and personal skills. It really forced you to become independent and autonomous, working on time management and so many skills that are essential to all nurses. I learned a ton from so many LVN's and RN's in LTC, they were amazing sources of experience and mentoring. I really felt that my experience in LTC was a wonderful asset to my future working in Critical Care. I eventually ended up working in CCU (Coronary Care Unit), and the vast majority of our patients where elderly, and I felt I had already been accustomed and educated on that clientele, and my experience with that population from LTC, it was a great source of confidence.

    After a few years, I began re-applying to the hospitals and with my experience, and the nursing saturation cycle changing, I eventually moved into a long term acute care facility, got hospital experience, all while continuing to apply and followup with multiple hospitals, eventually was hired by a hospital in telemetry, then CCU and I finally moved into a job that I was wanting from a new grad. Also, during this time, I took every opportunity to get certificates in ACLS, EKG classes and other certificate classes to help make me more marketable and attractive to hospital mangers. But it was a long hard journey, but well worth it.

    As you all know, the market and nursing shortage (or not so shortage) varies dramatically based on different geographic regions, cities, states, etc... I have no idea on the long term care employment marketplace where you live. But I would recommend you explore ALL employment opportunities, whether or not it's in your overall dream on how you thought you would start your career.

    No one has a crystal ball on when things will turn around, but historically, they will eventually will. There are so many positive indicators that nursing is still a strong profession, and a wonderful career choice. The average age of nurses (upper 40's), the baby boomers creating more demand for health care, etc... all indicate that nursing will be a strong employment arena. I feel that the projected nursing shortage we've all been hearing about for years was and is a legitimate concern. However, the changes in the economy other industry job losses, has brought many existing nurses back into the workforce, kept nurses working later in their career than planned before retirement etc... All of these issues have skewed the projections and the nursing marketplace is not really hot for the time being.

    My gut feeling and my hope is that in the next year or so, as our economy improves, more nurses will be retiring, more baby boomers putting more and more demand on the health system, the hiring freezes will lessen and that the nursing marketplace will eventually open up more and all you newer nurses will have many more opportunities.

    No one has a crystal ball on when things will turn around, but by historical records, they eventually will. There are so many positive indicators that nursing is still a strong profession, and a wonderful career choice.

    So my words of advice to all of you is try to remain as positive, do your best to get employment, open your boundaries to acceptable driving distances, possible relocation if that is an option for you. Take jobs that may not be your ideal job, gain any experience that you can, even if it's not what you want. Continue to educate yourselves, certificates and classes (ie. ACLS, PALS, EKG) that are related to the type of nursing you want to do. So when the time comes and the employment opportunities do open up, you are prepared and ready.

    Best of Luck!
    Last edit by brian on Dec 4, '10 : Reason: typo
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  4. About brian

    brian joined Mar '98 - from 'Minnesota'. brian has '18+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele'. Posts: 15,061 Likes: 14,650; Learn more about brian by visiting their allnursesPage Website


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    145 Comments so far...

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    I'd like to encourage other experienced nurses to share their stories of struggles and successes. It's always nice to hear others went through the similar situations and prevailed.
    NursieNurseLPN, fiery_ai, voneek, and 6 others like this.
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    Brian ((((Thank you))) for your perspective. I graduated from an ADN program in 1983 and took a job at a small med-surg hospital in DC. It was a group interview, 5 of us hired at the same time and very unglamorous. I laugh because today, none of the pts I had would even be in the hospital- they're all done day surgery or laparoscopically.
    So, I tell my students today that the pts in long term care were in the hospital when I got out of school. The pts on the floors- would have been in the ICU's. And our ICU pts? They wouldn't have survived. We have such incredible technology. Don't be so quick to shun the LTC, rehab or "nursing homes". Those pts are sick and have complicated treatments- heparin drips, IV antibiotics. It's a different world.
    I agree too- the average age of a bedside nurse is 47- that last I read. Corrections anyone? There will be a shortage again, just no crystal ball as to when. Not if.
    hooliganzz, Fixit, nurse15dc, and 8 others like this.
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    I have said as much myself. I have seen something similar to this more than once in the past. Each tight labor market and each glut is slightly different than the last but so far all did one thing and that was "CHANGE". I also said that I didn't know if the jobs would come back in a trickle or a flood but I do expect the nursing shortage to return. When I got my LPN in '67 jobs were easy to get. Between '67 and '83 when I got my RN I believe there was one slightly tight job market. I wasn't working at the time but I remember something about it but I can't give details because I did not experience it. In '83 when I got my RN, we were the last class that had our pickings of jobs, it got a little tighter for '84 grads and I believe '85 and '86 had a very tight job market. Then the nursing shortage came ROARING back. I remember in late 1980s early '90s it was so bad that wages went up like a rocket. Then the tight job market came that Brian talks about, the one toward the middle 90s. I experienced a series of wage freezes and wage cuts. I was doing agency work at the time and I remember getting sort of caught up the creek without a paddle. Fortunately, this one little hospital where I worked liked me and I was taken on part time at a HUGE pay cut. Lots of people, especially new grads were not working at all. OK, that is the tight job market that produced that latest horrendous nurse shortage. Why you asked? Because nurse abuse became institutionalized like it never had been before. Nursing as a profession lost any power it had over it's own fate. It was so bad that everyone just got up and walked away. Personally, I even took 3 years off at the time. I don't think working conditions, benefits and compensation ever really recovered. I doubt if the people in charge now even remember what the legacy of the abuse of the 90s brought and I doubt if they care, but the should proceed with caution.
    Last edit by oramar on Apr 20, '09
    bywtn, Need2Wings, skad33, and 8 others like this.
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    Hello there,
    I just decided to join AllNurses today because I'm feeling a bit lost. I'm graduating May 6th, and having a very difficult time finding a job in a hospital (as is everyone else). I've sent out tons of applications, and haven't gotten back a single phone call. I would like to specialize in the ER, but am willing to begin anywhere. I live in CT and want to relocate. I'm willing to move pretty much anywhere, but I'm not sure where the biggest nursing shortage is. Has anyone heard of any places that still have shortages?

    I would appreciate any advice. :icon_roll

    Thanks for listening,
    ~ Jaime
    Starbeck, Fixit, nurse15dc, and 1 other like this.
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    Brian: thanks for the encouragement...and for more ideas for the game plan. I knew that I wouldn't walk into my dream nursing job the moment I graduated. I accept that I'll probably have to take something I didn't like, with hours I didn't like, at a place I didn't like, just for the experience. And that's cool.

    I haven't considered LTC because the problem is that most of the LTC places in my area don't want to spring for RNs when they can have LPNs for less. Oh well.
    Fixit and nurse15dc like this.
  10. 1
    I am also graduating in May. I was offered a position at the Mayo Clinic and then had my position taken back at the last minute. Now I'm heartbroken and looking for a job. I have been working as a nurse for the last six months in a hospital on a medical/surgical floor. I did a full-time internship @ the Mayo Clinic during last summer. I am very intelligent and experienced!!!! I am a fast learner and interested in moving anywhere. I have been involved in research projects in the clinical setting. I have also been having trouble finding a job. Anyone interested in hiring me??? I am up for anything, let me know!
    AtomicWoman likes this.
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    oncnursemsn, thanks for your feedback and sharing your feedback with your students. I agree that todays patients are far more acute than they used to be.

    I didn't mean at all to shun LTC at all, I just wanted to give a frame of reference of my naive mindset as a new grad with high expectations of getting into the hospital settings After re-reading my article, maybe I was not as clear as I should have been. I have the utmost respect for LTC nurses
    jpRN84 and oncnursemsn like this.
  12. 2
    If you are serious about moving, they are hiring New Grads including ER at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, IL. Very countryish but a great place to live if you like peace and quiet and small towns. $20.00 to start plus $3.00/hr for night shift (mostly everyone starts nights 7pm-7am 3 shifts per week then you transfer to days later on). Oh, did I mention you get a $3,000 sign on bonus. So if you are serious, go to their website at blessinghospital.org
    Last edit by brian on Apr 21, '09
    dmskoka and fiveofpeep like this.
  13. 7
    I am so taken by reading all these different posts. (#1) That new grads are having such a hard time finding jobs in the hospital arena. I myself applied for a FEW positions and wasn't called back but WAS called for the one that I feel I needed! It isn't something I even thought about but now my appreciation is more than I can express and I just recieved the call today. (#2) I thought the area of the country I live in (Louisiana) pays so little for nurses but I am seeing that we are right there in the median so I'm actually glad & relieved by that. (#3) I'm sad for my fellow new grads. If this profession runs through you the way it does me & you all aren't landing positions, PLEASE look & think outside the box. Every career, or job for that matter, is set where the new babies "have to put in their time" before landing what they dream of. Please stay encouraged & don't give up.
    RN,BSN84, nurse901, yalienne, and 4 others like this.


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