I See Lots Of Job Postings, So Why Can't I Find A Nursing Job?

  1. 9

    Jessica, a nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, has been licensed for nine months. She resides in a large city in the Northeastern United States and has submitted nearly one-hundred job applications, but remains unemployed. She says, "I didn't think finding a job would be this hard, especially since all of the hospital websites have tons of job postings." The purpose of this article is to explore the reasons why some newer nurses cannot land that first nursing position.

    No industry is completely immune to recessions, and the nursing profession was arguably jolted by the Great Recession of 2008. Many new nurses have graduated from various schools of nursing across the country over the past few years and thought to themselves, "I see plenty of job openings posted." They readily submitted applications and resumes, assuming that the interviews and job offers would soon follow. However, their phones did not ring.

    Unfortunately, some newly graduated nurses have grappled with unemployment for more than one year, while others are underemployed in non-nursing positions. "My professors and all of my friends told me there was a shortage of nurses," some people recalled. "So, why can't I find a nursing position when a bunch of jobs are posted?"

    Many large companies must post these positions per internal policies:

    Human resources personnel at some healthcare facilities are forced to post job openings externally. This is because their policies mandate that every position be posted and that a specific number of applicants shall be granted interviews. However, HR managers frequently hire no external candidates for these posted jobs because they are saving the positions for internal applicants who have expressed interest. In other words, even though your favorite community hospital has multiple postings for new grad programs, the internal applicants who worked there during nursing school as nursing assistants are often the ones being considered for the available slots.

    Sometimes being an internal candidate hinders your chances:

    The internal applicant has an advantage in the majority of cases because he/she is already familiar with the workplace, the culture, and the coworkers. However, the occasional internal applicant has hindered his/her chance of being considered for a nursing position after graduation because management has observed some undesirable traits or patterns. Some people are unable to view themselves objectively, so they honestly believe they've performed outstanding work. On the other hand, their coworkers and supervisors quietly notice some weaknesses that render the internal employee unsuitable for advancement opportunities.

    Employment markets are largely regional:

    Some job markets are more robust than others. For example, the job market for new nurses in the New York City metro area can be merciless due to several hospital closures, which limits the number of job openings even further. In addition, the NYC metro area has multiple schools of nursing that graduate a large number of new nurses into a local job market that cannot possibly absorb every person who wants employment. Conversely, the job market for new nurses is healthier in locations such as Lincoln, Nebraska and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

    Some new nurses are extremely selective:

    "Working in the NICU is my dream," a youngish new grad says, "and I will not consider any other unit!" However, beggars cannot be choosers, especially during these sluggish economic times. The new grad who is willing to consider non-hospital employment might have an easier time finding work. Nursing homes, clinics, prisons, psychiatric facilities, group homes, private duty, hospice, home health, and rehab are all viable options for a new nurse.

    It is easy for a job seeker to become discouraged when he/she has been doing everything correctly and still remains jobless. It is imperative to not allow unemployment to define you. You must continue to submit applications, use keywords to get them noticed, and be willing to think outside the box. Light exists at the end of the tunnel.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 19, '12
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  2. Visit  TheCommuter profile page

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    TheCommuter has '9' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehabilitation (CRRN), LTC & psych'. From 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'; 34 Years Old; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 29,953; Likes: 46,712.

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    9 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  DoGoodThenGo profile page
    Story isn't new and is not unique to nursing. Companies/businesses have been listing "open" positions even when no vacancy exsists or the job has been filed for years,the only thing is today one finds it on the Internet whereas in the past it was on some sort of posting board.

    Employers list openings even when the spot has been filled for a variety of reasons. Some have to do with full filling various federal, state and or local government laws and rules regarding hiring and anti-discrimination.

    Was taught in college (many years ago now one must admit) that nearly one half to three quarters of all employment openings are either filled internally or via word of mouth and so forth. Thus an employer may already have someone in mind for a vacancy but must go through the motions to satisfy as noted above. The other popular method for hiring is to use a head hunter or recruitment agency.

    You can go to most any hospital's website and see the same open listings for nurses that have been up month after month for ages now.
    lindarn likes this.
  4. Visit  TheCommuter profile page
    Quote from DoGoodThenGo
    Story isn't new and is not unique to nursing.
    However, new grads are wondering why they cannot find work when they see pages of job postings on the career websites of their local hospitals. So, even though the news is not exactly brand new, it is apparent that many new nurses are not aware that these 'dummy' job postings are not intended for external applicants.

    After all, they keep asking, "Why won't ABC Hospital hire me? I applied for 15 new grad positions at the hospital over the past three months, and those same jobs are still posted."
    SE_BSN_RN and lindarn like this.
  5. Visit  markkuss profile page
    Another reason that was recently voiced by a manager at our clinical site is that due to the mentioned above recession, many nurses who could have been retiring now, kept their positions some longer.

    That trend is due to several reasons they said. Either a spouse had lost a job, or a planned retirement prospect suddenly became uncertain, maybe rising education costs forced some others to help their families put younger kids through college...

    Anyway, although it's projected that the Baby boomers will be the main recipients of our care in the coming years, one thing is sure: They want to keep it as distant as possible.
    (And the state of our economy is just playing into their hands...)

    Once they step down, we will see an increase in positions from the health care industry, and demand from the older population.
    The way things look now, I can see t she b boomers stepping down only due to declining physical condition, to say it nicely.
    My gd mother, although really part of the Silent Generation (gen. born btwn 1925-1945), worked till about 75y.o. ! She's an outstanding language teacher and did that p/t from home way after she's been getting her retirement!

    SO hopefully there'll soon be enough work for everyone.Let's pray that the economy holds up to afford paying us
    elprup, timmedico, and lindarn like this.
  6. Visit  markkuss profile page
    Quote from TheCommuter
    However, new grads are wondering why they cannot find work when they see pages of job postings on the career websites of their local hospitals. So, even though the news is not exactly brand new, it is apparent that many new nurses are not aware that these 'dummy' job postings are not intended for external applicants.

    After all, they keep asking, "Why won't ABC Hospital hire me? I applied for 15 new grad positions at the hospital over the past three months, and those same jobs are still posted."
    You are right,the question remains. Maybe a group of professionals can file a complaint with the FTC to add more transparency to the industry's doings.
    Those shady practices ought to change!

    Because let's face it, filling in resumes online takes tedious hours! Most would rather do something more productive with their time than applying for positions existing only in the virtual memory of some HR manager.
    Last edit by markkuss on Jun 19, '12
    elprup and lindarn like this.
  7. Visit  brandy1017 profile page
    All the above is true, but nowadays even the internal applicants are in competition with each other for the few available openings and on top of that the job may be reserved for family, friends or pets. It really is who you know, not what you know these days!

    But that said, sometimes the new grad external job applicant steals the show and gets the job. So don't count yourself out! Do your best, find out as much as you can about the hospital and manager, research the manager on linked in. Are there any classmates, friends, acquaintances that work at the hospital and can give some inside info and assistance to help get hired.

    To those of you still in school, getting a part-time job at the hospital you want to work at will improve your chances of a job, especially if you can get an internship or externship. Be on your best behavior and do your best so you make a good impression to your coworkers and management to increase your chance of getting the RN job in the end!
    Last edit by brandy1017 on Jun 19, '12
    elprup and lindarn like this.
  8. Visit  Stephalump profile page
    A lot of places around here also seem to keep high turnover job postings up constantly. "Accepting applications" isn't always the equivalent to "actively hiring."

    To top it off, each RN posting can get hundreds of responses. In reality, 20 job postings at a hospital could mean 10,000 resumes being submitted. Granted, many of them of them are duplicates from people applying to multiple positions, but good luck rising to the top of THAT pile without an ace in the hole.
    Yosemite, RN likes this.
  9. Visit  elprup profile page
    Yep, I am one of those new grads that became a stale old grad. I was always their second choice, because their first choice had experiene. It has been and still is VERY frustrating. Oh and if you are a new grad and that first job does not work out, then you a not considered a new grad anymore...even though you tecnically have not had enough experience to get a staff nurse position. Nothing like being stuck in nowhere land!!! All those years it took me to get my BSN....and I am now not working as a Nurse.
    Yosemite, RN and SE_BSN_RN like this.
  10. Visit  animal1953 profile page
    I have found out that going to the facility and checking their posted openings is a great help. I did that at a local hospital when my wife was a inpatient there. I also went to HR and asked about a position I had applied for and got the "the web site is up to date" when in fact (as I pointed out) it wasn't. It was only then that I got a email informing me that the position opening was cancelled. I also found out that some hospitals here in Florida don't hire "outsiders" during the off season when the snowbirds fly back north for the summer.
  11. Visit  Slowracer profile page
    These are very good points that have been brought to light. I wonder if it's mostly the day positions that are filled by internal candidates. Would it help me to start applying for night jobs? I'm an RN with a BSN and current ACLS, but I'm not getting responses for anything. Well, I did get one interview. I'm 51 and run half-marathons and am training for my first full marathon. Via phone, the recruiter said, "This won't be a job where you get to sit very much." The interview seemed to go well, but must not have been great. It's been two weeks and I haven't heard anything. Any advice?

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