Nursing Shortage!! It's real and it bites (new grads, can't find a job? Read this post!) - page 4

I had no idea, when I took a job as a nurse manager of an inpatient unit at a rural hospital that's 4 hours away from the nearest large city, that a huge portion of my job stress would come from the... Read More

  1. by   brandy1017
    Quote from klone
    Yes, in many places there IS a nursing shortage. And frankly, it pisses me off that people say otherwise. Until you've been to these communities, you have no idea. You can believe whatever you want, but that doesn't make it so.

    Hospital that employs 400 nurses. Not to mention the SNFs, home health agencies, community health departments, clinics, hospices, and other various places that employ nurses. Local community college graduates 30 nurses a year. No other nursing schools in a 2-hour radius. You do the math.
    Couldn't you advertise in nursing journals and magazines to find nurses willing to relocate, perhaps offer a relocation bonus to help pay for the move.
  2. by   audreysmagic
    I feel you, klone. I don't have the exact same struggle - my hospital is in an area flooded with nurses. But my hospital is a small, freestanding behavioral health facility. We can't afford to pay what the bigger, shiny hospitals with psych units can, and it's a high-intensity area. Slowly but surely, we're managing to hire nurses (and quite willing to train new grads!) but there was a long period where we just didn't have applications. So, perhaps not even a regional shortage, but a "this facility" shortage. And our team did amazing in coming together on my unit, too, and pitching in to pick up and help out, but it's exhausting. I hope you can find a solution soon, and I sympathize with the stress of trying to deal with perpetual short-staffing, when if you HAD the nurses, you'd use them!
  3. by   brandy1017
    Quote from klone
    Sorry if I had a tantrum. It's just incredibly frustrating to have this issue that is literally keeping me awake at night, and then have people say that the problem doesn't really exist, and that I'm just holding out on hiring nurses because it's cheaper to make my current nurses work OT until they're exhausted and I'm trying to save some pennies.
    I believe you, it is just so many of us are cynical as we watch our employers not hire with various excuses when we live in urban areas with many nursing programs and we know in those situations it is all about the money.

    I figured the lack of rental housing was another problem for your hospital as most people aren't ready or able to buy a house off the bat. Could the hospital provide down-payment assistance? Back in the old days my old hospital system run by another non-profit actually provided down payment and home buying counseling free if we bought houses in the city. It was a true non-profit back then and cared about its staff! I miss those good old days!
  4. by   brandy1017
    Quote from DS22 MS
    Thanks. Because of back taxes liens from a personal business that went south I'm ineligible for assistance scholarship-wise with them. I don't have any drug or criminal records or other legal issues.

    So, It's a tough spot I'm in financially. Without a cert like an MA/CNA etc. I'm just not getting traction job wise in health care. I apply to anything that will get me in a hospital/clinic to get experience but it's uneventful. The Patient Transporter gig after two interviews seemed like I finally had a break. The two interviewers were glowing, repeating "impressive, impressive." Then the robo email sent out at midnight saying they went with someone else.

    Despite my past accomplishments and current potential it isn't enough (so far) to garner help with loans (at this point) to survive 1st year nursing school -even if I get accepted.

    I substitute teach 7th grade science but the calls are infrequent and rare. The instructors rate me highly and I do a great job but it's not a steady gig. I'm currently in pharmacology and pathophysiology so I'm busy on time but would scrape and claw to make time for a position somewhere that would be in a hospital or clinic to help.

    The federal student loan max currently is JUST enough to pay rent for a year which is sad. In CA my room for rent is $800/mo (which is a great deal in SoCal). I know that's a mortgage for some people but I have no choice.

    I recently did approach a couple expensive schools here and they have loans available but only for tuition. That's it. Having prior degrees eliminate you from Pell Grants.

    I would attend nursing school out of state if someone/a hospital was willing to invest in me. If I had to sign in for a multi year commitment in exchange for nursing school and financial support to attend, I would be on the next flight to be there. I want to work AND be an RN. I'm very driven but not knowledgeable/ignorant about who, what, where to go and talk to in nursing to make it all happen.

    I'm grateful to any ideas and support. I've been going solo for some time so it's all welcomed.

    Thanks all.
    Would you qualify for federal loans for grad school and do a direct entry MSN RN program as the loan limits are higher than bachelors or does your tax lien make you ineligible? There aren't as many direct entry programs but it might open up the financial aid. Downside is higher interest rates on loans and the interest starts from day one as they are no longer deferred while in school.

    Personally if I were in your position I would choose a direct entry RN to NP route, though I've met a nurse that just did the RN route and then started traveling to make extra money. It's an expensive proposition though, usually these programs aren't cheap!
  5. by   The Incredible Nurse
    Quote from klone
    I had no idea, when I took a job as a nurse manager of an inpatient unit at a rural hospital that's 4 hours away from the nearest large city, that a huge portion of my job stress would come from the fact that we DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH NURSES!!

    Every unit at our facility has job openings. We have dozens of travelers. My department basically has just enough nurses to cover core staffing. What that means is - if there's a sick call, or a PTO request, or a medical leave of absence, we're short.

    Thank Dog that my unit is awesome and they are a team and a family and are invested in the unit, because when we're short, the nurses pull together and volunteer to take OT and work 16 hour shifts.

    The point of this post...if you're a new grad, and you can't find a job because the market is so competitive and every place is wanting a BSN...consider relocating! Look for those facilities that are in rural communities, or small towns that are >2 hours away from the nearest metro area that probably has multiple schools and a steady stream of new grad nurses to fill positions.

    Coming from Denver, I had no idea that there really were places in the US that had shortages, but it's true, and it sucks. For patients, for communities, and for the nurses who are working short-staffed or working 60-hour work weeks because, well, we have no other options.
    klone,

    Relocating is very important when trying to secure that first RN job, or when looking for better cost of living for seasoned nurses. However, in order for any organization to be able to attract talent they need to put their wallets where their intentions are. It is no secret that the time of the martyr nurse is coming to a close, no longer do the new generations see nursing as a calling or a sacrifice that must be done for the greater good of humankind; instead they want to be able to pay their huge loans, and maybe even be able to afford rent, etc. So as the frame of mind have shifted, and now money is what talks, organizations need to catch up and pony up better pay rates if they want to attract and retain their nurses.
    If your particular organization is having issues finding new staff because most new grads or seasoned nurses prefer to stay in more desirable areas, maybe is time to offer something that catches the eyes of those looking for new opportunities. Maybe offer a big student loan repayment in exchange for x years of service, or a juicy sign on bonus, or double what they are getting payed currently. Do this and you will see that many nurses, lacking houses or whatever, will make huge commutes to reach your facility; heck, double my pay and I will be in the next "red eye" flight to your town, ill rent a tent and a heater and camp in the nearest parking spot in your facility. All jokes aside, in order to get something, something must be given, so have your administrators loosen their belts, the great depression is over, the economy is booming, is about time they put some money into acquiring some staff.
  6. by   Green Tea, RN
    I feel "nursing shortage" is misleading in my honest opinion. I would say some facilities have issues in retention. Nurses don't want to stay in the facility because of reasons.
    The facility I work has retention issues too. Every floor has multiple openings. Even new graduates can be hired to specialities like ICU and OR. Many travelers are working in the hospital. Working condition is very bad.
  7. by   klone
    Actually, retention isn't typically a problem here. When there is only one hospital, there are fewer opportunities to jump ship and go to the hospital down the street.

    Its a union facility, in a state that has pretty strict staffing laws.

    Our facility is offering sign-on bonuses and loan repayment for most of their open positions. As far as pay, the pay is far more generous compared to where I moved from (Denver).
  8. by   SobreRN
    Quote from klone
    I had no idea, when I took a job as a nurse manager of an inpatient unit at a rural hospital that's 4 hours away from the nearest large city, that a huge portion of my job stress would come from the fact that we DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH NURSES!!

    Every unit at our facility has job openings. We have dozens of travelers. My department basically has just enough nurses to cover core staffing. What that means is - if there's a sick call, or a PTO request, or a medical leave of absence, we're short.

    Thank Dog that my unit is awesome and they are a team and a family and are invested in the unit, because when we're short, the nurses pull together and volunteer to take OT and work 16 hour shifts.

    The point of this post...if you're a new grad, and you can't find a job because the market is so competitive and every place is wanting a BSN...consider relocating! Look for those facilities that are in rural communities, or small towns that are >2 hours away from the nearest metro area that probably has multiple schools and a steady stream of new grad nurses to fill positions.

    Coming from Denver, I had no idea that there really were places in the US that had shortages, but it's true, and it sucks. For patients, for communities, and for the nurses who are working short-staffed or working 60-hour work weeks because, well, we have no other options.
    I live in a very small town of @ 3000 population (there is no hospital, just two clinics.) I really love not living in the city but rural areas have a lot of drawbacks such as driving an hour to go grocery shopping and not much to do for young people. As most new grads are younger there is not a big draw to live in rural areas. While I love the serenity of living in a small town I am not young and single and I moved here at a young age so I just took putting snow chains on my car, driving an hour to get to nearest city for doctors appointments, shopping, vet visits et al.
    Even if we had a hospital new grads are not likely to flock to a town where everything is closed by 9 pm, you need to haul wood in for the fire, the closest neighbor is 1/2 mile away, your kids need to be bused two hours round-trip when they get to middle school, no jobs and you need to break out the generator for days-long electricity outages.
    While it is tough for new grads that is a lot of sacrifice to move away from family and friends. You say using a lot of travelers so the hospital must be reaching out to recruit, does the hospital reach out to nearby cities with new grad recruiting? I would think if they were specifically recruiting for new grads you would have at least some willing to relocate given how tough it is for them.
    I know if we had a small hospital in this town it would be staffed quickly if they recruited from the nearby cities and colleges not to mention the nurses who live here and would jump at the chance to forego a commute.
  9. by   bsvoboda
    Hi Klone: I am looking at relocating back to Oregon after 25 years to be closer to our Son and his family. I graduate next week from my LPN-BSN program in Denver, and just finished 3 day Hurst Review today. Have ACLS, NIHSS and EMT. Looking for a new grad position in NICU, Adult Critical Care, Tele, or ER if possible. Where on the coast?, as we have been interested in that possibility as we will be purchasing.
    Thanks!
  10. by   scooterscamp123
    Can you tell us more about the area you're in? Do you mean rural as in a mountain or beach town with some recreation and available work to offer or rural as in food desert, poverty stricken, a lot of drug crime, etc? If it's closer to the latter I think the only way you can hire nurses and keep them is to offer a hiring bonus under the condition that they stay for a year, two years, whatever. That way you'll keep your nurses for a good while, fixing your staffing issue and your nurses will be more motivated to stay. I know it's more money up front but if you take that risk these nurses you hire might say, "Hey, I've learned a lot working here and I've created great work relationships and have become pretty proficient in my skill set. I think I want to stay." In my opinion even just one nurse who makes the decision to stay long term is more than worth the small financial cost the hospital will pay to keep them there. I don't know if you have the power to do this but if so you should at least try it. I know hospitals are all about saving money but as the saying goes, you pay for what you get. I hope everything works out!!
  11. by   klone
    Those of you who have inquired about where I am, I have sent you a PM. I'm already highly identifiable by my posts, but I like to at least keep the illusion of anonymity.
  12. by   klone
    Quote from scooterscamp123
    Can you tell us more about the area you're in? Do you mean rural as in a mountain or beach town with some recreation and available work to offer or rural as in food desert, poverty stricken, a lot of drug crime, etc?
    More like the former than the latter.
  13. by   BrandonLPN
    The problem with those rural areas is that, too often, the pay is *much* lower than in the cities/suburbs. As an experienced LPN, I can expect to make about $27/hr in LTC in my midsized midwestern city. But only a couple hours drive away, they'd look at me as if I were insane if I demanded anything over $20/hr.

    I realize cost of living is lower out there, but it isn't *that* much lower. Not nearly $10 less an hour lower.

    A lot of these rural facilities can't retain whatever staff is locally available because their wages are so pitiful. Many nurses in my facility live out in the boonies and make the commute to the city precisely because of this.

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