I had many conversations on this topic with nursing administrators in hospitals all over my state when I worked as a hospital surveyor for my state and CMS quite a few years ago. Hospitals feel that new grads are coming out of school much less prepared to enter practice than they used to be, and hiring them requires that the hospitals spend a lot
of time and money teaching them stuff that the hospitals, rightly or wrongly, feel that they should have learned in nursing school -- the most basic stuff that they need to know to be able to get through a shift on a med-surg floor. As already mentioned, the turn-over rate for new grads is much higher now than it has ever been before. And there has also been a much greater at-least-perceived
sense of entitlement on the part of new grads. Before everyone jumps on me, I'm not suggesting that this is true of all
new grads, or even most
, but I heard repeatedly
from nursing administration folks in hospitals all over my state, large and small, rural and urban, that they were sick of new grads showing up with an attitude that the hospital should be grateful to get them, and, if they don't get offered a job right away, in their preferred specialty, on their preferred shift, they're being mistreated somehow.
Now, this was back before the economy tanked, so I'm sure the sense of entitlement is gone with the wind by now. But, unfortunately, a few (I'm hoping only a few
) "bad apples" have created a bad situation for all new grads for some time to come. Many healthcare employers feel like they've been badly burned by new grads, and they're not going to get over that quickly. We were starting to see "New grads need not apply" notices on hospital websites even before
the economy tanked, and, now, because of that, employers are in a position where they absolutely don't have to hire new grads if they don't want to. And since this phenomenon started before the economy tanked, and was not directly associated with it, I don't think we can assume it will change just because the economy improves.
I'm not blaming any individual new grads for the situation; I mostly blame the nursing education community for this. It's a shame that the students are the ones who end up holding the bag. However, as already noted, we're all big boys and girls, and we all make choices and live with the consequences. No one is being forced to choose nursing for a career, and it is the responsibility of individuals to make sure they're making informed choices about school and career.