Philadelphia area job market?

  1. 1 Hi -- I'm new to this board. I've read a lot of contradictory things about the nursing job market in Philly. For example, I gather that it's terrible and new grads can't find jobs (see recent article in Philadelphia Weekly: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/ne...nts=1&showAll=), that it's hard to find jobs and really depends on who you know, and that hospital jobs may be hard for new grads, but that you can always find a position with a nursing home.

    I also hear contradictory things about the necessity of having a BSN. I hear that most positions at magnet hospitals now require a BSN, but I've also heard that most hospitals care more about the bachelor's degree than about whether it is a bachelor's in nursing.

    I'm taking steps to switch from a fundraising career to nursing. I've been taking prerequisites and hope to start the 2-year associates program at CCP in Fall 2010. I already have a BA and an MA, both in History. I'm hoping to do the nursing program at CCP, get my RN license, and start working as a nurse. Is that just hopelessly naive?

    Rather than post this on the PA Nursing Programs board, I'm approaching you PA nurses who are already out there, working or looking for work. For new nurses with previous bachelor's degrees, how important is it to start out with the BSN? What's the scoop on the job prospects in the Philly area, now and two years out?

    My next big step (the irreversible one) will be to leave my current job this summer. In this climate, that's scary. But I can't juggle this job and nursing clinicals at the same time.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I'm all ears...
  2. Visit  PhillyQuaker profile page

    About PhillyQuaker

    From 'Philadelphia'; Joined Dec '09; Posts: 7; Likes: 2.

    25 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  LoriNJ profile page
    0
    A lot of the accelerated 2nd degree programs are less than 2 years, you would be able to get a BSN in the same or less time since you already have a previous degree. Though the cost is a bit more. Have you researched both options?

    The job market in Philly right now is not so great, as previous posters have mentioned. Sorry I can't comment from the perspective you're looking for since I'm currently on the job hunt there with not much luck yet. Who knows how it will be in 2 years though! I'm interested to hear the perspective of current Philly nurses as well on your question...
  4. Visit  PhillyQuaker profile page
    1
    I started out looking at accelerated programs and BSN programs. I would talk with teaching faculty and they would all tell me the same thing -- "you already have a bachelor's degree and you have two small kids (infant & 4 yo). Why don't you do the associate's program at CCP and then get your RN license?"

    The instructor at the Drexel ACE Program session flat out told me that ACE was a bad fit unless I had enough childcare (and household support) to be away from my kids 6 days per week, that at most I might have half a day per week (on the weekend) for family time. That level of intensity won't work for my family, even though my partner is incredibly supportive.
    classykaren likes this.
  5. Visit  Dreamer-RN profile page
    0
    "For example, I gather that it's terrible and new grads can't find jobs (see recent article in Philadelphia Weekly: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/ne...nts=1&showAll=), that it's hard to find jobs and really depends on who you know, and that hospital jobs may be hard for new grads, but that you can always find a position with a nursing home."

    I'm a May 2009 BSN grad. The above is true except new grads are struggling to find jobs in nursing homes too. The Philly market is a very competitive market for new graduate nurses. There are several nursing schools in the area graduating a new class of nurses at least once per year. This saturates the local market. Given the current state of the economy and a saturated new grad job market, employers receive hundred(s) applicants for so few open new grad positions. Therefore, they can be more selective given they have a lot applicants to choose from. If I'm not mistaken, I think the Philly market was beginning to become competitive for new graduates sometime during 2008.

    Majority of my former class mates are still looking for jobs. The small number that found jobs relocated to other states and/or join the military. The few that got jobs in the local area were through networking with nurse manager(s) during their senior practicum or having worked as an extern at the hospital. I also witnessed those having worked as externs being turned away due to the hospital could not afford to hire new graduate nurses. It just seem like the luck of the draw for those who have externed, meaning worked at the right hospital that could afford to re-hire and train new graduate nurses. I was fortunate to have externed at the right hospital and did my best to make my application and interview competitive for the RN position I have now.

    If I'm not mistaken, I think many big name Philly hospitals prefer BSN graduates especially hospital systems that are Magnet and/or trying to achieve Magnet status. I know of one hospital that only hires experienced and new graduate RNs that have BSN degrees.

    I have no crystal ball to predict what may occur two years for now, but your best bet is to plan for a competitive job market and have plans in place in case the Philly job market remains unchanged.

    With regards to comment received from the Drexel instructor, I would ask current new 2009 graduates and/or those who have no more than one year experience for pointers on the current Philly market. I think the Drexel instructor is not a good resource for this info (assuming he/she has not tried to search for an RN job late 2008 through 2009). The market significantly changed when I started nursing school about two years ago. Some instructors remain clueless about this fact. At that time, there were many new grad RN positions postings.
  6. Visit  lovenandj, RN profile page
    0
    As an ADN RN with a previous BA, I can say that my BA has made zero difference in helping me find a job. I found something finally after 5 months, in psych. It is true that many LTC facilities also are looking for experienced nurses only.

    And yes, many major and community hospitals are saying BSN required (not just Bachelors). I'd say that those of my classmates that have found jobs in acute care, have done so through their previous affiliation with a hospital as an extern/aide, and that previous affiliation can get you around the BSN requirement for outsiders. I wasn't so lucky, in that I did work as an aide while in school, but I wasn't able to find a position within the hospital.

    My advice would be to work while in school as a tech or extern, but at a MAJOR hospital, that way the chances after graduating of them finding a place for you is much greater. That was my mistake I believe (I worked for a smaller community hospital).
  7. Visit  AugustRain profile page
    0
    I'm a new grad and I think that if you can go for the BSN, it would give you an edge in a tight job market. Drexel isn't the only accelerated BSN program in Philly, there are others that are slightly longer and may allow for a little more balance in your family life (though nursing school is intense and time consuming, regardless of which school or degree route you choose).

    I agree that networking is important in finding a job. The schedule in my ABSN program didn't leave us time to do externships, and as someone else mentioned, some hospitals can't afford to move their current externs up to full time RN positions right now (though some are offering part-time). Volunteering is also a great way to make connections, you can do it throughout pre-reqs and cut back your hours during nursing school.

    That being said, I graduated in September, passed NCLEX in early October, and had job offers in November. A number of my classmates also received offers around the same time. I don't know if it's a sign that things are opening up, or if we were all just very lucky at once. A few people had jobs lined up by the time we graduated, but it wasn't the norm.

    Hopefully, things will have improved by the time you graduate, but based on the current situation, I wouldn't expect unlimited options as a new grad. Even now, it's not that it's impossible to get a job, but it is competitive and does take time.
  8. Visit  Tua15395 profile page
    0
    To Augustrain,

    Are the job offers in the philly area?
  9. Visit  AugustRain profile page
    0
    Quote from Tua15395
    To Augustrain,

    Are the job offers in the philly area?
    Yes, three in Philly and one closer to Pittsburgh.
    Last edit by AugustRain on Dec 8, '09 : Reason: typo
  10. Visit  LoriNJ profile page
    0
    Wow Augustrain, congrats on all your success! Would you mind sharing with us who are still searching in this tough market what you did in your hunt to be so successful? Thanks!
  11. Visit  AugustRain profile page
    1
    Thanks LoriNJ

    Most of what I did is probably the same thing that all the other new grads are doing - lots of applications (and lots of rejections!). Every week, I made a plan for new apps, follow ups, and research. I got in touch with any contacts I could think of, but only one resulted in an interview in PA.

    For every online app, I also either dropped off a resume & cover letter in person (if the hospitals allowed it), or mailed them in a full size resume envelope. I called each hospital's HR dept and got the name of the recruiter and found out when to follow up. I was pretty persistent, but by letting them know ahead of time that I would be calling/e-mailing, and finding out their preference, it made it a little less stalker-ish And I started to find out that people had actually read my resume (which sometimes lead to a lovely "no new grads" rejection).

    Before my interviews, I did a lot of research on the hospitals & prepared myself for questions they might ask, as well as questions to ask them. I just tried to show the hospitals what I could offer them, that I was enthusiastic, flexible, willing to learn, and not looking to run when my year was up. When offering me a job, the recruiter told me that I had interviewed very well, which definitely helped.

    I also brought a folder of information to leave with each interviewer, including my resume, references, copies of certifications, and sample work. Before I left, I made sure to get business cards, and sent thank yous to everyone involved (contacts, recruiters, interviewers) and reiterated my interest in the position.

    Like pretty much everyone else, I also applied out of state and got two offers, so those required even more phone calls, e-mails, and a road trip.

    I know job hunting is exhausting and frustrating and there's probably always some element of luck involved, but I hope that everyone is able to find something soon and stay sane in the process.
    nanagose likes this.
  12. Visit  hiddencatRN profile page
    0
    Quote from PhillyQuaker
    Hi -- I'm new to this board. I've read a lot of contradictory things about the nursing job market in Philly. For example, I gather that it's terrible and new grads can't find jobs (see recent article in Philadelphia Weekly: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/ne...nts=1&showAll=), that it's hard to find jobs and really depends on who you know, and that hospital jobs may be hard for new grads, but that you can always find a position with a nursing home.

    I also hear contradictory things about the necessity of having a BSN. I hear that most positions at magnet hospitals now require a BSN, but I've also heard that most hospitals care more about the bachelor's degree than about whether it is a bachelor's in nursing.

    I'm taking steps to switch from a fundraising career to nursing. I've been taking prerequisites and hope to start the 2-year associates program at CCP in Fall 2010. I already have a BA and an MA, both in History. I'm hoping to do the nursing program at CCP, get my RN license, and start working as a nurse. Is that just hopelessly naive?

    Rather than post this on the PA Nursing Programs board, I'm approaching you PA nurses who are already out there, working or looking for work. For new nurses with previous bachelor's degrees, how important is it to start out with the BSN? What's the scoop on the job prospects in the Philly area, now and two years out?

    My next big step (the irreversible one) will be to leave my current job this summer. In this climate, that's scary. But I can't juggle this job and nursing clinicals at the same time.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I'm all ears...
    I just finished my first quarter at Drexel. It hasn't been that bad yet, but things are going to get busier next quarter with 3 clinicals a week. Not sure what the instructor was talking about with the 6 days a week thing- it's 5 days a week, and then your time outside class will depend on what your personal studying needs are and commute time to clinicals. First quarter we haven't been required to go to the site the night before for our patient assignments, but that might change next quarter. I do agree that you would need excellent childcare for when you're in class/clinical. I don't have kids though so I can't really speak to how the program would work (or not) for you specifically.

    The cost difference between CCP and Drexel is HUGE as I'm sure you're aware I was also accepted to CCP and it was not an easy decision to make because of the finances (I still think going to CCP would have been more fiscally responsible, but I don't think I had 2 more years of school in me and my husband definitely didn't have 2 more years of being the sole household provider).

    I tutor at CCP and one of my coworkers graduated from their program last Spring. He did have some trouble finding a job, but IIRC he did have one by the end of the summer in a LTC facility. The UPenn health system hires BSN only (at least at HUP and Presby, I think there might be one facility that still hires ADNs). I've heard really good things about West Chester's nursing program which would get you a BSN in 18 months and as a state school is more affordable than the private programs.

    CCP is a good nursing school though, so if that's where you're set on going, I wouldn't worry too much.

    My understanding is that only a BSN is a BSN and that previous BAs only matter if you're looking at certain Master's programs that will take your RN and BA and not require a BSN completion program.
  13. Visit  jeremy52 profile page
    1
    There should be ALOT of jobs becoming available at Jefferson. Opening a 14 bed ICU in late January. Many newer nurses moving from telemetry positions to ICU's. Also, I would recommend to anyone wanting to continue from ADN to BSN to look at TESC.edu. The classes are completely online, my collegues are jealous of myself and another nurse who are in the program and no clinicals! I really cannot say enough good about Thomas Edison State College. For instance, I went to talk to Penn nursing about grad school and they felt that TESC was a competitive school. Hang in there, I went to Duke university hospital for my first year b/c the same thing was happening to me in NYC. Please feel free to message me for thoughts, insights or information.
    Jeremy
    scarcity21 likes this.
  14. Visit  aliyarn profile page
    0
    I finished Drexel's ACE program in September, have a 2.5 year-old, a husband, and a lot of family support. My first degree was in Bio, and I did a postbac way back in 2001 with the goal of going to med school, so the clinical and pathophys aspects of nursing school were pretty familiar. Even with my background and support, Drexel's program was hell. It's not so much the material as the structure of the program itself. And the Drexel faculty member was just being honest, believe me. Once Second Quarter starts, you are in clinical 3 days a week, class 2 days a week; you've one day off (aside from Sunday) with the possibility of Saturday clinicals (which are more painful than they should be); your day off might be Thursday, when your kids are in school or daycare, leaving only Sunday as family time/prep for the week/spend time with the spouse (or sig other)/ catch up on bills/ etc, etc.... Most likely the weekday that you are off will be your prep day for Adult clinical, or a study day.

    Then there's the issue of evening clinicals (~3-9pm), for which you need adequate childcare coverage. Remember that no matter how much support you have, no one is really as willing to put up with your kid's idiosyncrasies as much as you are; it's really easy to burn out a babysitter, spouse, mom, sister .... I've gone through them all. And you still need to go to the dentists, dr's offices, the bank, etc, all those places that are open only during the "business hours" when you are in class or clinical.

    I would consistently have clinical sites an hour or more away from either my home or Drexel's campus (Drexel does not have a dedicated hospital, only an association with Hahnemann, so clinical sites are competed for with other nursing schools in the area), and with (sometimes) mandatory prep times, this often meant getting up at 4am or earlier to get to a site by 6am to prep and start at 7am. With rush hour and studying, and the dinner-bath-bed routine, I was lucky if I really interacted with my kid for 45 minutes a day. If you have 3 kids, that's 15 minutes per kid! If this is going to be an issue, make it a consideration in deciding where to go. I kind of ignored the issue until it bit me on arse, and it almost tanked me. Anyone *can* make it work, but there's no shame in deciding that another path is better for you.

    If I had to do it over, I would probably have still done the accelerated BSN, but a longer program with graduate credits (like Jeff's - I ultimately want an MSN); faster isn't always better. If you feel like CCP's program is a good fit for you and for your goals, go for it. There are plenty of RN-BSN bridge programs that you can complete (if you want the BSN later - not everyone does; my mom has an ADN from CCP, and is perfectly happy being grandfathered in at UPenn), and if the pace and price are more to your liking, do it.

    As for job prospects, they aren't great, simply because previous experience is not nursing experience. But, I have gotten feedback from recruiters (before and after finishing ACE), that all else being equal, hiring a 2nd degree new grad is preferable to hiring a 1st degree new grad RN, just because we have more experience in being employees, working with others, etc - chalk it up to life experience. Also, we tend to be more sure that this is what we want to do, because we've done other things. Some recruiters are really into that. Jobs are out there, though - most of my fellow ACErs with jobs moved outside of philly, but some of us are from here and are sticking it out. Most postings are looking for experienced nurses, and many city hospitals reject new grads out-of-hand. All the recruiters I have talked to are optimistic about the future market in this area, recommending that new grads get some experience in as high-acuity a role as possible, such as a tele floor in a LTC facility. I think that you'd be in a better position in two years than right now, so I would definitely encourage moving forward in nursing, whether with your ADN or BSN.


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