Where should new grad move to get hired?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I just wanted to say I loved your book and advice column. I have heard numerous times from you and other respected users on here to relocate if you want the best chance of landing a job. Unfortunately, I am not sure which states/cities are the best places to relocate to. I looked online, but all of the lists are different. I am wondering which places have the highest need/hire the most for new grad nurses.

    Dear Wants to Relocate,

    Thank you for your kind words! New grads face a competitive hiring market, which is why I wrote my book (below) to show them how to stand out from all the other applicants. All from an insider's point of view as a hiring nurse leader in acute care for over 30 years .I know exactly what nurse managers are looking for.


    It's hard to generalize by state, because in some areas, it varies more by region than by state. For example, in California, in the large cities (San Francisco, San Diego) it is very difficult to find a job as a new grad. In the inland regions, it is much easier to land a job. Try North Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, among others.


    The job market is also fluid- due to acquisitions, takeovers and hiring freezes, opportunities vary. In general, look for rural and urban areas. Register on indeed.com to receive notifications of new grad jobs and residencies nationwide. Find out where your classmates landed jobs.


    The latest report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA ) says that some states are predicted to have a surplus of nurses in 2020 and some are predicted to have a shortage. Some of the states predicted to have a shortage are Alaska, California, Georgia, South Dakota, Texas, New Jersey.

    A final tip- when you do land a job, ask if they provide relocation assistance. Some hospitals do upon request.


    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth
    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
  2. Visit Nurse Beth profile page

    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,533; Likes: 4,542
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho

    4 Comments

  3. by   adventure_rn
    Great advice from Nurse Beth. In addition, in my experience, it's hardest to get jobs in hospitals and cities/regions that are highly desirable; conversely, it's easier to get jobs in hospitals and cities/regions that are less desirable.

    For instance, the new grad market in Seattle is pretty competitive. However, it's much easier to get a job if you go outside of the city to places in Washington state like Tacoma, Olympia, Vancouver, etc., since those cities are less desirable places to live. Similarly, it will be easier to get a job in Bakersfield, CA (less desirable) than San Francisco or LA, and it will be easier to get a job in a McAllen, TX (less desirable) than Austin, TX (more desirable). In addition, large cities (which are generally more desirable) tend to have lots of nursing schools and consequently a lot of new grads entering the job market. Smaller cities tend to have fewer nursing programs, and consequently fewer local new grads competing for the same jobs.

    It may help to look at community hospitals since they tend to be less desirable than large, tertiary-care academic centers. I work for a Level I Trauma Center hospital, and new grad jobs are very competitive; however, our hospital system also includes a local community hospital with a small ICU, several OR suites, a lower-acuity ED, and low-risk birth facilities, and it is much easier for new grads to get jobs since it is less prestigious, and therefore it is considered 'less desirable' from a learning standpoint (even though it's a great place to work).

    You can move to a random state looking for a job, but it seems that in most states (except highly desirable places like Hawaii) you can find opportunities in smaller cities, rural areas, and community hospitals.

    Quote from Nurse Beth
    The latest report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA ) says that some states are predicted to have a surplus of nurses in 2020 and some are predicted to have a shortage. Some of the states predicted to have a shortage are Alaska, California, Georgia, South Dakota, Texas, New Jersey.
    As a note, just because these states will have nursing shortages, that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be hiring new grads. Many places have a shortage of experienced nurses, but they have a huge surplus of new grads. Therefore, in places like California, you may not have a hard time getting a job with several years of specialty nursing experience, but new grad jobs are incredibly competitive.
  4. by   llg
    A few other things to consider (from someone who moved frequently as a young nurse to advance my career):

    1. Where do you have friends and family? It's a lot easier to be happy in a new location if you have some friends and family nearby. They can help you find a good place to live, get settled in, find a doctor, find a dentist, a car repair shop, etc. It's also great to have such people to share holidays with. It's unlikely you'll be able to go home to see your immediate family for every holiday. So it's nice to have some people to share a holiday meal with, see fireworks with on the 4th of July, etc.

    2. How easy will it be to travel back and forth between the new city where you will be living -- and what you consider "home" to be? If it is very far way, expensive, and inconvenient ... you'll not be making the trip very often. But if it is fairly easy, convenient, and inexpensive ... you'll be able to travel back and forth more often -- and the people there may even be interested in coming to see you occasionally!

    3. What is the workforce like in your new city? What is the local culture? Will you be meeting other people your age who might be interested in making friends? Is it a community that includes a lot of people who were not born and raised there? I once moved to a small city where literally everyone was born and raised there. There were very few "outsiders" like me. And in the evenings and on the weekends, everyone spent their time with their immediate families -- not socializing with friends. While I had great relationships with my coworkers, for them, when the workdays were over, they went home to their families and they were not interested in seeing anyone from work. It was a nice hospital, but rather lonely socially. (I've lived in other cities where outsiders were welcome and included in family gatherings, etc. and/or there were a lot of single people and other outsiders who socialized together.)

    4. Hospitals may be more hesitant to hire a new grad who has no personal connections to their town. Many have been burned by new grads moving to town just for the job. Once they get a year of experience and are able to get a job "back home," they quit and leave. So being able to talk about the friends and family you have living in that community helps the hospital feel more comfortable about investing in you.
  5. by   adventure_rn
    Quote from llg
    1. Where do you have friends and family? It's a lot easier to be happy in a new location if you have some friends and family nearby. They can help you find a good place to live, get settled in, find a doctor, find a dentist, a car repair shop, etc. It's also great to have such people to share holidays with. It's unlikely you'll be able to go home to see your immediate family for every holiday. So it's nice to have some people to share a holiday meal with, see fireworks with on the 4th of July, etc.
    Fabulous advice from llg, as always. I especially agree with her first point. You first year of nursing is very, very hard. You see distressed posts from new grads on AllNurses all. the. time. During your first year, it's completely normal to feel unsure of yourself, to feel overwhelmed, and to question if you're 'cut out' for nursing. It's way easier to cope with that anxiety and self-doubt with a support network in place; conversely, it's much harder to cope if you're homesick and feeling alone in an unfamiliar place.
  6. by   retirednotdead
    Wants to relocate
    There are areas in the country where you can get parts of your student loans forgiven. Check with the Department of Labor. Can't hurt.

close