I am informally polling my peers to find out the general recruitment practices and attitudes in your area. I will also discuss briefly my own experience here in Las Vegas.
Nevada has the fewest nurses per 100,000 population of any state in the country - due in large part to the booming growth in Las Vegas. The city's population is growing at the rate of 6,000 residents per month, and it grew by 83% between the 1990 and 2000 censuses. We now have over 1.5 million permanent residents, plus 200,000-300,000 tourists at any given time.
In theory, this should translate to a large numbers of medical jobs available. In practice, jobs are proving elusive despite the fact that almost every hospital here has an expansion project underway. Applications are met with apparent ambivalence, and there are few followup contacts by employers. It is almost a necessity to work a place from the inside in order to get hired, which you cannot do unless you know someone there. My experience has been that the nursing shortage here is partially self-inflicted.
My wife and I are both nurses, and we have both struggled to find work in an area of severe nursing shortage. Nursing friends of ours have reported similar experiences. Employers in Las Vegas seem indifferent, do not follow up on applications for months (and sometimes not at all), and will not hire someone who does not have the exact background they are looking for. I worked in mental health and was thrown out of work when my hospital's parent company closed my facility. I drew unemployment for three months, because no hospital would even talk to me. At the time, I had five years of nursing experience, all in a supervisory capacity, and a national certification.
Is our experience typical, or is this peculiar to our market?
Thank you all for your responses so far.
Your response hits home for me, graduate_2002. I graduated from nursing school in Oklahoma City in December 1994. The Oklahoma Board of Nursing asked that all nursing schools with graduating classes turn in a list of graduates' credentials by December 21, so that they could be processed before Christmas. My nursing school, for whatever reason, decided not to turn in credentials until after the New Year's break. Students from other schools already had their licenses by the time we began getting our authorizations to take the board exam. At the time, few hospitals were hiring, and it put us at a severe disadvantage in getting jobs. Not only were other classes graduating, but we were lagging over a month behind them in getting licenses. My school was reprimanded by the Board of Nursing, but the damage had already been done for my classmates, many of whom did not find full-time work for over a year after we graduated.
Fortunately, I had gotten a job offer from a hospital that was willing to wait and, because I had taken PN boards after my third semester, I was able to start orientation before I took RN boards. Still, it forced me to work for over a month at less than $8 per hour.
I also see a lot of truth in the response by fedupnurse. When Charter Behavioral Health closed my mental health facility in February 2000, I applied for a per diem job on the geropsych unit at a local hospital. The clerk in HR said, "They should be calling you soon. We almost never get an application for that job." The ad for the position continued to run week after week, as I drew unemployment and was being paid $279 per week. I followed up with telephone calls. No response. I finally got a call for an interview in November - eight months after my application. The call was from a newly-hired nurse manager, who was going through the things left behind by her predecessor. She said that my application had apparently been sitting there ever since I initially applied.
Best of luck in your new career, graduate_2002. You will need it.
Last edit by Orca on Aug 23, '02
Well, ,Orca, that is a whale of a story! (couldn't resist).
Your tale sounds about right, no matter what state you are in or how "desperate" they are for nurses.
Unwilling to train new hires to specialties, they want what they want and only what they want and exactly when they want it, unwillingness to be flexible about scheduling, on and on.
What is comes down to is:
1) however "short" they are of nurses, they know that whoever is still with them will fill in the gaps ("for the good of the patients" as these overworked nurses would put it, which simply perpetuates short-staffing)--with consequent lower overall labor costs, which in turn makes the managers look good to the bean-counters
2) "THEY" aren't the patients lying in bed with too few nurses to take care of them
3) see #1, above.
You see why people like to do agency/travel nursing? At least there you can quickly figure out where you actually stand.
Last edit by sjoe on Aug 23, '02
hmmmm...I find all of this strange. I have had no such problems getting job offers, and the hospital I'm at now...has been hiring nurses, as fast as they graduate! At my last several assignments I have been offered positions at those facilities also. Before I left Wa. state.... I was given a standing offer of a position from the nurse manager, after she was unable to convince me not to leave, and to take a position at her hospital. Maybe it's just timing...but I'm at lost to understand this situation.
I know many hospitals have all kinds of recruitment bonuses, not only for the person taking the position, but for the person referring them. I had even emailed hospitals in other areas, and immediately received a response not only from the recruiter, but from the area that is in need of a nurse, immediately after receiving the recruiter's email. They are willing to tell me what the pay would be, and any other information asked for, without ever filling out an application. Asking me to just give them a call, and set up an interview.
Yet another hospital....Childrens in Seattle, has been advertising for over two years for a postion, that is Mon -Thurs, occasional weekend call, 0600 to 1430pm. They have offered relocation money, housing, and daycare assistance. But as yet no takers.
In S. C. they were offering $5,000 to any
nurse to come work ICU/CCU/ER...and very few takers! And the list goes on...and on!
I have a friend here, who received as a new grad, a $5,000 bonus, right out of school, and was immediately placed in an ICU internship, and sent to a local community college for a Critical Care Course. She also received assistance with housing...in the form of a check...that reduced her rent from $750/mon. to less than $500 a month for a year! Like I said...it must just be timing..
I also find it strange that it's difficult to find a position in Las Vegas, as they're tons of needs sent out by recruiters for Travel Nurses. Maybe they figure they will take the experienced travelers, and then take their time searching for just the right perm staff...who knows.
Last edit by Brownms46 on Aug 23, '02