Veteran nurses give your opinion of the new grad job situation - page 2

I'm a nursing student right now and I'm about a year away from graduating with my BSN. I see forum after forum about new grads who can't find jobs, and it worries me. :uhoh3: So for all of you... Read More

  1. by   Ruby Vee
    my unit hires new grads -- six months of orientation, six months off orientation and they're off to anesthesia school. they also hire some nurses with experience -- floor experience, icu experience, ltc experience -- for the most part, those nurses stay longer. i'm sure that part of that dynamic is that i work in a cvicu which seems to be a feeder unit for anesthesia school. i'm not sure if ccu, micu, sicu or nicu have the same issues.

    a couple of years before i graduated from nursing school, there was a glut of nurses on the market. new grads were taking ltc jobs, and when i graduated many of them were looking to move into acute care. nursing is cyclical. there are shortages and there are gluts. i understand that it's not coming across as helpful when i say that to a new grad, and i'm not trying to be obtuse here. i think the market is starting to change and there will be more acute care positions opening up. when that happens, the rns who have worked outside of acute care will be experienced nurses when they apply (if they apply) to acute care institutions and the new grads will be new grads.

    you can learn how to be a nurse in home health care, school nursing, corrections, long term care or occupational health -- whatever job you can get now. there are things you may not be learning -- how to slam in an ng, iv and a foley in ten minutes flat or titrating vasoactive drips -- but there are things you will be learning: how to be a good employee and part of a team, how to talk to patients, families and physicians, what parts of the job you're in you really like and what parts you don't. you will learn skills that you would never learn in acute care, and some of those skills will set you apart from those of us who have always worked in the hospital. you'll be in a better position to choose your next job in order to maximize the aspects of nursing you do like and minimize the parts you don't. you'll also have a proven track record -- if you bounce from job to job looking for the perfect schedule, the perfect preceptor or the perfect anything, that will be a track record. and if you stick with a job you dislike for a year or two and learn all you can, that will be a track record as well. from what i'm hearing about the job market now, new grads don't have the luxury of being picky if they need the paycheck. you take what you can get, make the most of it, learn all you can and figure out how you're going to turn what you're doing now into what you want to do.

    i am truly glad i'm not a new grad today. i became a nurse partly because i wanted the jobs to look for me, not the other way around. but as a 55 year old nurse with over thirty years of experience and a decent paycheck reflecting those years of experience, i know i'm not nearly as marketable or as portable as i always have been. ageism exists in nursing, and it's an ugly thing. i chose the job i have, but i know i'm stuck in it until i retire unless i get very lucky -- or very unlucky. the economy is affecting nurses at both ends of the experience continuum, you're not as alone as you might think. many employers seeing your resume in front of them (new grad, bottom of the pay scale) and mine (three decades of experience, top of the pay scale) may pick you just to save money. in fact, i know nurses who have been forced out of their jobs after decades of service on some trumped up charge so that management can hire two new grads for the same money. it happens, and it's devastating. with only a few years until retirement, it's rather late to be changing careers.
  2. by   RachH
    Thanks for your responses, everyone! I really appreciate the advice.

    I didn't mean to come off as being against working outside the hospital. To me, everyone with an LVN or RN after their name is a "real nurse." But one of the many things that attracted me to nursing is its flexibility. I was just worried that, if I started out as a school nurse or in LTC, that I'd be stuck there if I ever wanted a change (not that I'm planning on changing, I just like having open doors!)

    I have CNA experience in home health and in a critical care step-down unit, I've begun volunteering weekly at an elementary school with the school nurse, and I've applied to an externship in a CVICU. Hopefully that will bump my chances of having a job right out of school.

    OT: Ruby Vee, it's funny that you talk about ageism in nursing, because I've been hearing about the exact same thing, but on the other end of the spectrum. A few weeks ago, I overheard some nurse managers talking about how they won't hire anyone in their twenties (that's me ) because we're all flaky/attached to our cell phones. And there are TONS of forums on this subject here on AllNurses. That's not me and I really hope that potential employers will call my references (my nurses frequently commented on how hard I worked as a CNA) before choosing not to hire me because of my age. I guess thirties and forties are the ages to be for getting nursing jobs.
    Last edit by RachH on Oct 12, '10