My facility received a call from a local nursing program. The coordinator wanted to know if we could host her graduates for the summer as nursing interns. When our clinical educator followed up to ask how many students did the school wish to place as interns, the schools coordinator said as many as you can handle. I was asked to speak with the schools placement coordinator and I was troubled by what I heard.
The program is about to graduate over 70 associate degree nurses and is looking to place them in an internship so that the students are not facing the immediate reality of the local job market. Unfortunately, this year we will not be able to host more than a few interns. Budget cuts have reduced the staff hours that can be used orient and supervise these graduates.
What is really sad is that this is not the only school that approached us. Our facility has stopped hiring new grads due to the fact that we can easily pick experienced nurses to fill an open position. We have had a significant drop in our nursing staff turnover and we have closed units and services due to budget cuts and strategic realignment.
I am writing this today so that students are aware of how difficult it is to get a job as a nurse in the NYC area. Experienced nurses with certification are having a rough time. Making the situation worse is the backlog of nurse who graduated over the last several years but are not able to find RN jobs. NYC area has had hospital closing and downsizing of units and services. More hospitals are expected to merge facilities and to downsize units. All of these changes makes it more difficult for the new nurse to get their first job.
I should add that this problem of reducing beds and mergers has effected everyone in healthcare. Our facility continues to host MPH and MPA students who were doing internships and administrative residency programs. These students are new to healthcare and most do not have any clinical background. The placement of these students has not be successful as the market is just saturated with qualified, credentialed and experienced managers. Management jobs are not being created as belt tightening is the rule of the day.
My final take is that these students, both the nursing students and those studying management should be told the truth by the schools. The nursing shortage is over and realistically will not be back for a long time. Nursing education needs to be followed by the new nurse entering the nursing workforce so as to learn the skills of being a nurse. While the delay in entering the workforce is involuntary for these new nurses, the longer they are out of nursing, the value of their education diminishes. I know that schools are now recommending a nurse refresher class for nurses who have graduated and have not found a job as a nurse with 2 to 3 years of graduation.
Nursing students need to research what is going on. Nursing education is time consuming, costly and demanding. Having a degree and an license is great but without a job to practice so as to learn your profession, you have seriously wasted a lot of money and time.
Good luck to all the new nurses out there. Lets hope the job market for nurses rebounds.