How many nursing students secure jobs in the US?


My sister is about to enter nursing school, and my gut feeling is that it is a bad idea. The number of people taking the national certification exam is increasing every year, and I doubt whether turnover can keep pace with the number of nursing students graduating. There are numerous examples of students who have failed to secure jobs a year after graduating and more.

On what basis are current nursing students confident they'll secure a job? Is any data available that states the percentage of students graduating that get jobs? There are way too many females entering nursing that I know personally for this to be as bright a prospect as the schools make it out to be.


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This questions probably gets asked a lot, and the answer is always the same. It depends on where you live and what type of job you are willing to work at. Where I lived in NY market was saturated. But where I live here in PA, graduates at my school are basically guaranteed a job. Will she be willing to take a less than ideal job to get experience under her belt. There are a growing number of elderly in our country so assisted living places/ long term care jobs are more readily available. Would she be willing to be a travel nurse or move to get a job. It also depends on the connections she develops while in clinicals, if she gets in with the right people, speaks to hiring managers, takes advantages of summer internships it will be much easier to get a job.

Its not a blanket yes or no question, there are a lot of factors


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As for me personally, I looked up the passing rate of NCLEX at my school, actually would browse for nursing jobs in my area to see what was available and called two of the local hospitals to see if they hired new grads ALL BEFORE enrolling in school. Due diligence.

Before you can really advise your sister as to whether or not nursing school is a good idea you'll need a bit more information, and she'll have to become an educated consumer. First, by "nursing school", do you mean she wants to be an LPN or an RN? If she wants to be an RN, is she looking at an Associate's degree or a Bachelor's degree? Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and those can vary with each local market. Is she looking to stay in the area, or is she free to move to another city or state for a job? Choice of school is also important. Can she get into a public, non-profit school (community college, state university, etc.), or is she looking at one of the more expensive "for profit", private schools? In some areas you can become an LPN for under $5,000 at a community college, and at the other end of the spectrum you could spend as much as $200,000 for a BSN from an elite private university to become an RN. In every case, be sure that the school is accredited and approved by your state's Board of Nursing. Also check their NCLEX pass rates. The closer they are to 100%, the better. Anything under 85% -- RUN! Have they been in business for many years, graduating 100 nurses a year, or did they just graduate their second or third class of 5 students? Do they have a state-of-the-art sim lab?...and where are their clinicals done? Also look at their consumer disclosures of how many of their new grads are finding jobs. They may tell you that everything is just rainbows and unicorns for new grads, but when all is said and done they are in the business of filling seats and keeping professors employed.

Hard numbers are difficult to find, but if you accept some general estimates of the market there are about 170,000 new nurses coming out of school in the U.S. each year, but only about 120,000 job openings. While this doesn't bode well for new nurses being able to find jobs easily, new nurses DO find jobs at all levels. It just takes a whole lot more work and more time than it used to. The old days of nurse recruiters hanging around the schools with free pizza are over.

A quick look at your local market will give you some idea of just how competitive it might be for a newly-minted nurse. Pull up the web sites of your local hospitals and click over to their "careers" link. Look at not only the number of jobs posted, but look at the qualifications for each job. Many postings will have a requirement for a certain number of years of certain types of experience, and some may even say "no new grads, please". Look at the education requirements. If they say "BSN preferred" it doesn't mean that they won't hire an ADN, but with all the competition out there it may be tough to get an interview without a BSN. Also check some of the popular job web sites like to see what your particular market looks like. Be a bit careful about these as many of these postings will be from nurse recruiting firms or travel nurse agencies looking to build their resume files.

Is nursing school a good idea or a bad idea? Only your sister will be able to figure that out. But she needs to go into it with her eyes wide open.

Just my $0.02. Your mileage may vary.


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Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience.
Just my $0.02. Your mileage may vary.

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Specializes in ICU/ Surgery/ Nursing Education. Has 9 years experience.

I can understand being protective, but a gut feeling just doesn't make me excited. Doing research in her area might be a better move. All areas are different but in my area there are many jobs. It may not be the first job that everyone would want, but there are openings. Every one of my classmates have a job within 30 days from the time they passed the NCLEX. I had a job offer before I graduated. One week and one day from my NCLEX exam I was walking the floor on my unit.

So would she want to relocate for a job? There are so many possible jobs for nurses these days. I would suggest research of her area before jumping.

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

"There are way too many females entering nursing that I know personally for this to be as bright a prospect as the schools make it out to be."

Could you please explain why there might be 'too many females' entering nursing?


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Maybe you could have a bit more faith in the decisions your sister has made? The choice to venture in this field isn't a fickle one many would agree, especially if this is something she's aspired to for quite some time.