I am in Alberta, Canada. Six months ago, there were advertisements on radio, tv and print asking nurses who had left the field to return because they were desperately needed to solve an imminent nursing shortage. The projection was that by 2012 30% or more of the existing nursing workforce would be retirement age. Add to that a 50% attrition rate amongst nursing graduates within the first 5 yrs of their career and you have a significant shortfall.
Then, magically, we have brought in a new Super Board, which has conglomerated the previous 9 (?) health regions into one, getting rid of many middle managers in the process but also implementing a hiring freeze where previously we were actively recruiting nurses from the Phillipines, and Canadian nurses to return from the US. The new CEO apparently feels there isn't a nursing shortage at all, and now all hiring and rehiring has to be approved through upper management. They say they will evaluate whether the shifts can be covered by existing staffing, or absorbed somehow. Right now, I am on my 6th of 7 shifts this week, for a total of 52 hrs, and most of my co-workers are working OT every week as well. At any time, you may be forced to work a double due to lack of staff to replace a sick call, or worse yet, a shift that just doesn't get filled and no one informs you until you are already at work that you are it for 16, or sometimes 24 hours.
But there's no shortage???? Yes, it's hard for new grads to find work, especially in their chosen areas, but if they are willing to take nights, work weekends, holidays, casual and LTC (yes I know, you all don't think it's really nursing) there are jobs available, or at least work is available. I have been out of school now for 5.5 years, and have resigned myself to working prn only, at least I have some control over my life, and no one can force me to come in on my day off. I decide.