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New Grad RN CAN'T FIND WORK!! What should I do?



I graduated with my BSN in May of 2010 and passed my boards in September. I have applied to OVER 30 positions without being picky at all. I've applied to hospitals up to an hour away from where I live, all departments, all shifts, part-time etc... I looked into nursing homes and prison positions as well and there just aren't any opportunities out there. Anything I apply for requires experience as you all know, what an awful catch-22!!

While I wait patiently and keep on applying do you have any recommendations as to what I should be occupying myself with? I need some sort of income because my loans are going to start billing me. What should I do? I'm contemplating applying for holiday temp retail work because i just CANNOT find anything health related... but is this something I should do? Will it effect how future hospitals reviewing my apps will view me?

HELP! I need something to do while I wait for an RN job to hopefully turn up. Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? HELP!

There is nothing wrong with doing holiday retail work to pay the bills. You might fare better though if you get a job as a restaurant server. No employer is going to hold it against you because you took steps to survive. While you are working at anything you can get, you can still continue to look for Nursing Jobs. Something will come up eventually. Good luck.

Thanks for the reply/good wishes. It's definitely frustrating having to apply for minimum wage work when I have a 4 year degree with a professional license, but with this economy thats what many people are having to do I guess.

I'm just very concerned that the longer I go without an actual RN job the worse its going to look to future employers... I graduated over 5 months ago... I'm getting more and more concerned that I won't get hired. I live in CT and it's really bad here for new grads.

Are hospitals going to want a new grad that hasn't had any nurse-related work to speak of months and months after graduation? If I can't find a position and this continues into next year how will that look? .... I don't know, this is ROUGH. NO ONE in nursing school prepared us for this...

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 11 years experience.

Are hospitals going to want a new grad that hasn't had any nurse-related work to speak of months and months after graduation? If I can't find a position and this continues into next year how will that look? .... I don't know, this is ROUGH. NO ONE in nursing school prepared us for this...
I think this is a valid concern. I have seen new grad postings that specifically require the candidate to have graduated within the previous 12 months and have heard stories from others of same.

A few of my classmates from Aug 2009 are still looking for work and a couple are still doing unpaid internships as licensed RNs through a local community college... basically, providing free NOC-shift services local hospitals in the hopes that they can get noticed when hiring resumes.

Ugh, I am in the same situation, so I am feeling your frustration. I too graduated in May and passed boards in September. I've applied to 70+ jobs. No interviews so far. I'm considering getting a job in a restaurant/bar or something. It's disappointing for sure.

Yeah, its beyond frustrating... I've started looking out of state but its not something I really want to have to do. There are NO new grad opportunities in CT or the surrounding states...

Hard times all around I guess.

I applied to hospitals, with the impression I was competing with new nurse graduates, later to be rejected and told the positions were being filled with more experienced individuals. wHaaaaa! I finally was offered a nurse position with a Nursing home with 151 beds (huge). It has many specialty units, including an "intermediate Unit", in which I am working on. My suggestion is to continue sending out the resumes, and even look at LTC. A nursing home may be the start you need.

I've been looking into nursing homes. I've looked at over 30 and only found one opening which I applied for... not looking promising. I've really been the opposite of picky..... hospitals, rehab facilities, nursing homes, prisons, etc.

Can't catch a break.

Aubrey, Im in the same boat..Ive applied to about 40 positions so far, and no luck...yet. I also live in a very competive city. Basicly, I still apply at hospital oppertoonities--but lets face it, there not hiring new grads. I know you said you applied at LTC& prisons etc, which opens up more oppertoonites but you might want to try what Im doing...opt for a lower position. Even though I have an RN degree, Im now applying for LPN and MA positions.--try to take what you can get in the medical field. Hopefully, Ill hear something back by trying that approach but if that doesnt work...I'll apply for CNA jobs---I need some kind of income, & thats always a for sure thing that lets you stay in the medical field. Its a hard pill to swallow & im bitter about it, but any job is a job, right now!


Specializes in CCU, L&D, Home Care, Research, Holistic. Has 30 years experience.

Where do you two live?

I have seen listings on the NYC Health Department Web site that talk about a nurse internship program. It is certainly not what you are looking for but it may fill a need at the present time.

I'm so sorry you are having this poor success in finding work. Have you talked to your school? Is there anything they can suggest?

One thing that you could do as well, volunteer when you are not actively working or as one suggestion said, take holiday work with a retail store. Volunteer at a hospital, then it does two things. first it gets you out of yourself and second you are where you see what is going on and you might find yourself in the right place at the right time. If the staff knows that you have your degree and are willing to volunteer just to be near the action, that goes a long way, and they get to know you. It also looks great on a resume'.

My first position after obtaining my BSN was at a Home Health Agency. Since I did not have "their experience level", they put me to work, making less, but, working, at least. The other RNs had to do the supervisory visits etc., they did not mind. I started getting the much needed experience and it did get better.

I know that you will do well. Good luck.

@ NYLady.... I live in CT and I went to school in RI. I haven't spoken to anyone at the university since I graduated, and even if I did I doubt they would have much advice on the issue. Most hospital websites have information about their new grad programs/residencies but if you dig deeper you'll find that they aren't offering positions at this time, or only have several openings.... several openings vs hundreds of applicants isn't too promising. Most hospitals in my area either stopped doing the programs because of budgeting or had to make MAJOR cuts in the # of positions offered.

I've tried getting into places volunteering but because of liability/insurance issues no one is willing to let me near patients. Most volunteer work is done in ER waiting rooms, or other less involved areas (ie: gift shop, dining services, pharmacy etc)

We'll see what happens. I'm applying to positions way out of the area and hopefully something will turn up. There just isn't a place for new grads these days for some reason... everytime I see a commercial on TV advertising nursing schools and listing all the positives including 'steady career fresh out of school' I get mad lol... People have NO IDEA what the reality is

I currently live...well, in the middle of nowhere, NY! I would say my closest "cities" are Middletown and Kingston, and, like you, I graduated in May of this year, took my boards at the end of July, got my paper from NY with my number on it in August...and have been beating doors ever since. The real kicker is that I was an LPN before I went back to school for my RN, but it's as if it never happened now...that experience counts for nothing.

I have, as of today, filed 172 applications since August 4th - hospitals, home care, nursing homes, public health, flu clinics, you name it. I have had 3 interviews, and one of them was in Albany, which is unreasonable to commute to for any period of time. I have a stack of 68 turndown letters, many of which telling me either that I am underqualified or having returned my resume with "No Grad Nurses" highlighted in yellow on the response letter (thanks, Orange Regional!). My favorite are the LPN jobs I've applied for where I'm told I'm OVERQUALIFIED.

Being that I still have to make ends meet, I have been working at the local grocery store for $8.90 an hour as a clerk. I am beyond dismayed that I kicked and clawed my way through nursing school, passed my boards with flying colors, and now can't even get an interview. When I went to apply for unemployment, the clerk all but laughed when I told her I was an RN and said, "Honey, have you tried writing a resume". Oh my gosh, evil woman, what a unique concept - I never would have thought to! **sarcasm**

In short, it's sucking bigtime for all of us. If you come across any solutions, let me know.


Specializes in Orthopaedics, Med/Surg Acute Care.

May I offer some suggestions that you may or may not have thought of?

1) Subscribe to local nursing journals like Nursing Spectrum where they have the jobs section in the back pages.

2) Do go back to your school and check into their Career Development Dept. Bring your resume and cover letter. You might need to tweek them to get you in the door for an interview.

3) Make sure when you apply for a job it is a specific position on a specific unit. I made the mistake once of applying for "any nursing" job and the application just got filed away and never really seen. So this might mean several applications to the same hospital but for different units. Always attach (stapled!) your cover letter and resume to the application and address the cover letter to the nurse manager of the specific unit you are applying for. They are the ones setting up the interviews usually, not HR.

4) Go to any job career fairs. You never know what you might find or who you might network wtih.

5) Do volunteer at the hospital you want to work in even if it is in the gift shop. Once inside you will hear about job postings that isn't posted to the outside world yet, plus you are networking in the hospital you want to work at.

I know this is a lot of work but once you have a nursing job the pay will be more rewarding than being a waitress (no offense to any waitresses!) plus you will be doing what you want to be doing and trained to be doing!

I am sorry that you all are having such a difficult time. I actually told one of my colleagues that I do feel dismayed at the number of ads for nurses and that due to the current economic situation there truly are no positions available.

The facility I work for is on a hiring freeze, as well. So, when I have applications come in I have to write or call and tell them that presently I do not have a position for anyone, seasoned or new.

There are many people that just do not have a clue. I wanted to get my Geriatric Nurse Practitioner license. However, where I live, would be a huge mistake, not only in time, but, in money. The doctors/facilities in the area where I live, just do not have any respect for them and will use a PA over a nurse with more education. I told my husband, if I were younger and could/would be able to make a move that would use my skills, then I would. So... my advice is prayer and keep on keeping on. Hopefully, you will be in the right place and the right time. Do not get discouraged. Nursing can be a wonderful career.

Aubrey...I just talked to a nurse recruiter and she told me that she cant hire a RN as a CNA for liablity reasons...so theres goes that idea for us....but Im not sure if thats applies to a RN working as a LPN--Im still going to apply to those jobs. I agree with the volunteer opertoonities..this is what a hospital volunteer basicly said" you can volunteer to improve your interpersonal skills, but it wont actually count as RN experince for your resume ( cant perform skills) & she actually suggested I make sure to gain experience through paid work and not waste my time.....im sure you knew that, like you stated. The only volunteer work that might be a good idea is if working side by side a nurse ( like 1 time oppertoonity & make small talk to gain an "in") but I wouldnt waste too much of your time.

Im glad we have this forum to support each other!


Specializes in CCU, L&D, Home Care, Research, Holistic. Has 30 years experience.

I just found a job for Junior Public Health Nurse (School Nurse) with the NYC Dept of Health. Here is the link to the page on which I saw it. Give it a try and see what you think.


Whatever you do, don't expect Volunteer work, NA, LPN experience to count as anything...toward an RN job. It just doesn't.


Specializes in LTC.

Just wanted to offer some info to some of the posters: to LadyAscheRN, I am in a similar situation, grad in May 2010, 3.5 GPA, departmental honors, Sigma Theta Tau and have yet to have even one interview. Aside from applying to hospitals as far away as NYC, have also applied to homecare, nursing homes, etc ad nauseam. NADA. ZIP. However, I know colleagues of mine who grad with me and who are now working at Orange Regional. How they got into that position was that they were already there as CNA's. This practice is also happening locally where I live in some hospitals. The market is so flooded with new grads that these places have decided not to hire "outsiders" at all, no matter how good their credentials. The thinking is that if someone has worked for you for 3 years as an aide and gone to nursing school that you will hire them. As an aside, and I have this on good info, aides who are currently nursing students are being told, "don't expect we will hire you as an RN if your grades are poor, just because you already have your foot in the door". But that is exactly what they are doing. So, I would take your rather rude rejection letter from Orange Regional (highlighted, no less) in conjunction with the fact that they ARE hiring prior CNA's to become RN's that they are following that practice. It is now no longer LPN to RN. It is now CNA to RN. Ridiculous!

Also, I applied to the NYS Prison system (they came to a job fair at my school just prior to graduation and said they were looking for per diem nurses). I called first and they said they had a "waiver" for a per diem nurse. When asked what that meant, they explained that the position had not been funded yet. They were supposed to mail me an application, which of course they never did. I expect, given the current state of affairs in Albany, that that position will never be funded.

My school just as with, I suspect, so many others does not give help to find a job. They have a general career center and those people will help with resumes but have absolutely zero connections to any outside employers. They are, for all intents and purposes, useless. After I graduated, I called and asked if they could review my resume to see if they thought I should add or delete anything. I sent a personal email to the lady who does that and never received a response either to my phone call or email. So, just like everything else, once they have been paid and you have graduated, then they really don't care.

I checked out the post by NYLady for a junior public health nurse position on the City's website. I don't know what she is talking about, but that posting very specifically says, Experience Required. So, I guess that one is definitely not for new, inexperienced grads either.

I get really tired of people telling me"good luck" and "you will find something". I wrote a letter to the National League for Nurses complaining about this whole situation and the response I got back was that I could go into nursing education as more educators were needed because of the demand for nurses !! (Boy, even if I had the credentials to do that or could get them without experience, which no one can) that is not a solution for the problem of nursing oversupply. Doing that, you are just fanning the fire more. Her second suggestion was that I move to South Dakota because they are hiring nurses there or that I move to a "more rural area". I already live in one. Interestingly, working on a reservation (which I would love to do, but according to the government website the max hiring age is 44, making me too old - interesting because that flies in the face of already existing Anti-Age Discrimination Legislation) is now done (in the main) using travel agency nurses or at least so I heard from these pages.

Of course, many of us have outstanding students loans that are about to demand their first payment, for those of us who graduated in May, next month.

I bet this whole thing will come to a head when we all start defaulting en masse and the taxpayers have to pick up the tab for the defaulted student loans of newly graduated nurses during the supposed GRAND NURSING SHORTAGE. Boy, will there be alot of angry taxpayers then! That is when it will get the public attention this whole situation needs.