What nursing shortage????

  1. We hear all of this news about nursing shortages affecting all states, and all areas of nursing. There are literally hundreds of open nursing positions in my geographical area. So, why is it that I can't get a new job?

    I have applied for different postings in different facilities. I have great experience and even greater references. But I seem to hear the same thing over and over..."We're looking for someone with experience in this area, but we do have many opportunities available in ICU."

    I have worked ICU and CCU for three years, with two years of med/surg prior to that. I am TIRED of ICU. I don't understand why these recruiters can't grasp the concept--if I was interested in ICU, I would have applied for ICU.

    Does anyone have similar experience, suggestions, or comments??
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   neetnik461
    I'm a new nurse, just one year out of school and do not have the experience you do but I can relate to what you are going through and would like to share my story:

    In college you are continually told about the nursing shortage and basically made to think that you can prance into any hospital as a new grad and they will be on their knees begging for you to work in any department you choose. Well . . .as graduation began to approach I started going on interviews with just that attitude, going to be a BSN . . .they need me! So, my first couple of interviews I was very casual, dressed in scrubs (on my way home from clinical) for one interview, and a very casual sundress for another interview. I was real honest and basically told the NM's that I was shopping around for the right fit for me as a new nurse. I didn't hear from either manager and when I called HR back a couple of weeks later I was told that I wasn't being considered for the jobs . . well!! I started to get a little nervous and so I called my sister for advice about job hunting and interviewing (she is an 18 year veteran RN).

    She basically sat me down and told me I was going about things all wrong. It all has to do with how you package yourself. So, can I give a couple of suggestions ?? I know they have worked for me. After taking my sis's advice I had 3 simultaneous job offers as a new grad. I recently interviewed for a new job at an outlying facility and received an offer within 2 days of the interview with only 10 months nursing experience (using these same suggestions) So, here goes . . .

    1. Dress professionally

    -Power suit, pantihose, pumps (at least dress pants/blazer), hair, makeup, jewelry simple and neat

    2. Bring a professionally typed resume with you

    -if you have microsoft word you can use the resume' wizard

    3. Play the cheerleader

    -Be careful of the "I'm just looking around" attitude (NM's hate this)
    -Act as if the job you are interviewing for is the one you want (even if you are thinking "no way")
    -Make as many positive comments as you can about the floor/facility when taken on a tour

    4. Be positive about past job experiences.

    -Be careful of saying things like "I'm tired of ICU", "I just need a change" etc. Talk about how much you have gained from your past job experiences and how you are "torn" about leaving, but that you want to challenge yourself and expand yourself as a nurse . . to be a more well rounded RN. . .lifelong learner . .etc.

    5. Send a thank you note after the interview (same day if possible)

    -Emphasize things that impress you about the job, and that you are extremely interested in the position and will call the HR representative in a week to see if a decision has been made. Don't be discouraged if the interviewer suggested an ICU position instead. Be gracious and thank her for suggesting ICU and showing confidence in you as an ICU nurse, but repeat your (well thought out) reason for desiring a career change and that you would love to have the opportunity to expand your horizons in her department and believe you can bring much to the position etc.

    These are just some tips that have worked for me. You obviously have made some successful career changes (from med/surg to CCU to ICU etc) so please no offense if you have been trying or doing these things!

    Good Luck!
  4. by   Aradien
    Hi Neatnik,

    Thanks for sharing! As a first year/first semester student in a two year ADN program, you mentioned some things for me to think about. What job did you get? Was it the one you wanted?

    Thanks, Aradien
  5. by   weirdRN
    Hey, thanks for the advice.... Sorry I don't have any for the OP!

    Good Luck!
  6. by   MelRN13
    Thanks for the tips, but I have done all of those things. I have another interview tomorrow, so wish me luck!
  7. by   ckben
    Telenurse, I could have written your post myself. As a young (2 years experience) nurse, I'm continually told I won't be considered because I either don't have enough experience, or I have the wrong kind of experience. It's extremely difficult to even make it to an interview, since the recruiters don't seem to believe me when I tell them that med-surg doesn't interest me.

    My advice to new grads: fight for a job in an area you want. Don't accept a job because a manager tells you, "If you work on this floor, you'll gain enough experience to work anywhere." That may be true, but other nurse managers won't see it that way, trust me.
  8. by   Elisheva
    When I started nursing school in '92, we were told the world was our oyster...big nursing shortage. By the time I graduated, the local hospitals had dropped the recruiting luncheons. No jobs. I live in an area where two - three community colleges and a couple of four year colleges spit out nursing students like watermelon seeds. The pay is low; I made almost as much as a secretary.

    I'm doing a lot of contemplating and I'm looking for an area of nursing I think I'd really love (L&D) so I can pour my heart and time into being the best I can be. It may take you a few goes, but you'll find something. As hard as my two years on med-surg were, I'm thankful I've got them. It's probably the best overall learning experience and even in my overcrowded neck of the woods, you probably wouldn't have to wait long for at least a prn position.

    Best of luck to you!
  9. by   adrn
    I have been out of nursing for 3 years myself. I graduated in 2001 and worked for about a 1 1/2. I have gone on interview after interview. I have gotten the same response too...lack of experience!! It's very frustrating and very discouraging as well...I want to get back into the nursing field and I just don't know what it's going to take to get me back there...

    It's not required, but I am going to go ahead and take a refresher course that is a self-study, self-paced course. I didn't think I would need to, but I have been asked by two different facilities if I had taken a refresher course...I have kept up with my CEU's...I thought that would be enough.

    CONFUSED!!!!!
  10. by   Elisheva
    adrn: I've been out of nursing for 10 years and I just signed up for a refresher course today. Expensive. I'm also taking Fetal Heart Monitoring classes in the next two weeks. And, I've decided to join AWHONN, the maternal/child professional organization even though I'm not yet an L&D nurse. Dues are about $150.00 a year. I've decided that I've got to show them that I'm just more interested and more committed than some, especially since I've been out for so long.

    Let me know how your search goes. I'd like to hear how it's going for you.
  11. by   llg
    As you are discovering, the shortage is complicated and it is evolving as time passes. When this shortage began, hospitals were clamoring for any nurse they could find -- wining and dining them, paying sign-on bonuses, etc. However, as time passed, many of those same hospitals "got burned" by nurses who jumped from job to job gobbling up the recruitment bonuses but not staying in one place long enough to merit the investment that the hospital had made in them. Such job-hopping decreases the overall knowledge level of the staff and burns out the staff leaders who are continually asked to precept orientees, be in charge, etc.

    Also, in many places, the shortage is much more severe in some specialties than in others. ICU's provide a good example. It takes a bigger investment from a hospital to orient a new ICU nurse (and some other specialties) and it is difficult to supplement the RN staff with LPN's and CNA's on some of these units. So it's harder to cope with shortages in these areas for some hospitals.

    Anyway ... as a result of the things mentioned above, many hospitals are being more cautious in their hiring. They are looking to hire people who appear to be the type who will either require minimal orientation and/or who will stay on that unit long enough to "pay back" the investment made in them. They may be more hesitant to invest in someone who is switching specialties or gives them any reason to doubt their committment to the job they are seeking. In short, they would rather hire a few less nurses but have them be the "RIGHT" nurses than burn out the staff and spend their resources on orientees that might not be the "right fit" for them and who may not stay.

    Of course, I can't say why a particular nurse was not hired. I can also not say what special characteristics a particular hospital is looking for to fill a particular job. But I do know that many hospitals are getting more selective in their hiring, looking to target their investments in nurses who seem to present them with the greatest chance of becoming successful long term employees.

    llg
  12. by   Jules A
    I know what you mean and it is frustrating but I do think there are plenty of nursing jobs, hence the nursing shortage, just not the ones we may want! :wink2:
  13. by   BBFRN
    To the OP:

    I'm thinking along the same lines as llg. maybe these recruiters are trying so hard to hire you to the ICU, because a.) There is an increasingly bad shortage in that area everywhere, and they are quickly losing more experienced nurses in that area, and b.) Maybe they're thinking about money. They won't have to spend as much on you for training/orientation in the ICU, because you are already experienced in that area.

    I know I have seen a few ICU nurses who switch to Med/Surg and go back to the unit after a short time, because they sorely regret their decision. Could it be possible that these facilities have experienced that as well?
  14. by   llg
    Quote from Jules A
    I know what you mean and it is frustrating but I do think there are plenty of nursing jobs, hence the nursing shortage, just not the ones we may want! :wink2:

    I agree. The most attractive, popular jobs may still be quite competitive even though there is still a shortage and many unfilled positions.

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