Question for Current Nurses!

  1. Hi everyone,

    I have been reading through allnurses forums for several months now and was unable to find any current thoughts on a big question I have for all of you already in the nursing field. I have been considering going back to nursing school (I currently have a BA + 6 years of work experience in a different field) for awhile now - I love everything the field has to offer from patient care, to flexibility, the hospital environment, and subject material. I have spent a lot of time shadowing different people in the medical community and feel that nursing is the place where I would like to work the most. However, I am concerned about job prospects. I have heard/read a lot about nursing schools being jammed up (due to teacher/school shortage) and I can't quite get a feel for whether or not nurses are being hired now (most of the past posts on this topic date around 2009/09 but I am interested in the current market). I'm sure it is place dependent, but most of my friends in the field started working as nurses 6-10 years ago. I am curious about how difficult it is/was for any of you to find jobs and if any of you had difficulty getting into nursing school. There seems to be a lot of conflicting news out there concerning nursing unemployment rates/job forecasting. I am absolutely interested in this field for the right reasons, and am not considering changing paths depending on placement, but I would like to get a more realistic feel for the time-frame/expectations starting out in this field (I am specifically interested in Emergency Medicine but welcome all thoughts and replies in all fields!). Thank you in advance for any/all thoughts!
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    About mountainbird

    Joined: Jul '12; Posts: 7; Likes: 1


  3. by   Asystole RN
    You may not be hired into the specialty, floor, or facility that you would like but there are jobs. The time surrounding 2009 was a very difficult time for nurses, as it was for everyone.

    One thing you can be assure of is that nurses will always fair better, or at least as well, as any other profession. You can wait to have your broken vacuum fixed, you can't wait to have your broken leg fixed.
  4. by   Esme12
    jobs are tough. there is no shortage. check out the first year after graduation first year after nursing licensure and no nursing shortages google search results for no nursing shortage esme

    an article by on eof the an staff no nursing shortage at the present time
    No Nursing Shortage At The Present Time

    unfortunately, contrary to what is being advertised...... there is at present no shortage. many new grads cannot find jobs and the seasoned nurses laid off because of "downsizing" are not being hired because of their "high" rate of pay.

    no popcorn necessary......the articles speak for themselves.

    the big lie

    without a doubt, the main source of frustration experienced by recently graduated and licensed but still unemployed nurses is what could be called "the big lie."in other words, the television commercials that encourage young people to become nurses -- and then abandon them for months (or years) without employment; and the educators who tell them that the associate's degree is perfectly adequate to guarantee employment, that they will have their pick of jobs when they graduate, and that there is plenty of time to get a bsn later on. who knows whether it is greed, ignorance, or wishful thinking that underlies the fairy tales told to nursing students about their future job prospects? whatever the motivation, the disillusionment of our new grads is palpable. the jobs they expected after all of their hard work just haven't materialized, and some grads are getting pretty desperate.

    will work for experience
    the strongest motivator for the working population is money, but for some newly licensed registered nurses, getting valuable clinical experience seems to be taking precedence over the paycheck. without that experience, the financial future of these nurses will remain precarious because they will be unable to find jobs.
    "i am willing to take a 50% pay cut or even work for free so i can get the darned experience," said one frustrated new graduate who has been unable to break out of the unending cycle of "no job without experience, and no experience without a job."
    she was not alone. other readers wrote:...........for the rest of the article, medscape requires registration but it is free.

    medscape: medscape access

    has the nursing shortage disappeared?
    it's that time of year again. graduating nursing students are preparing to take the nclex and are looking for their first jobs. this year, many are finding those first jobs in short supply. reports are rampant of new graduates being unable to find open positions in their specialty of choice, and even more shockingly, many are finding it tough to find any openings at all.
    these new rns entered school with the promise that nursing is a recession-proof career. they were told the nursing shortage would guarantee them employment whenever and wherever they wanted.

    so what happened? has the nursing shortage—that we've heard about incessantly for years—suddenly gone away?

    the short term answer is clearly yes, although in the long term, unfortunately, the shortage will still be there.

    the recession has brought a temporary reprieve to the shortage. nurses who were close to retirement have seen their 401(k) portfolios plummet and their potential retirement income decline. they are postponing retirement a few more years until the economy—and their portfolios—pick up.

    many nurses have seen their spouses and partners lose their jobs and have increased their hours to make ends meet for their families. some who left the profession to care for children or for other reasons have rejoined the workforce for similar reasons.
    in addition, many hospitals are not hiring. the recession brought hiring freezes to healthcare facilities across the country, and many are still in effect. help wanted ads for healthcare professionals dropped by 18,400 listings in july, even as the overall economy saw a modest increase of 139,200 in online job listings.

    looking out for our new nurse grads

    be a nurse if you can
    a popular website about the nursing profession claims, "there has never been a better time to be a nurse." "be" a nurse? perhaps, but "become" a nurse? perhaps, that is less certain. in spite of continuing to rank among the best careers and best jobs in america, the nursing profession is struggling to welcome its newest members with open arms and paychecks.

    not too long ago, the threat of a growing nursing shortage prompted thousands of prospective students to choose nursing as a career, and nursing schools rapidly filled to capacity. nursing was frequently referred to as a "recession-proof" career, and the outlook for finding a job after graduation was rosy.

    experience and employment: the vicious cycle
    now, the bloom, as they say, is off the rose. it seems that many of our new grads are stuck in that perennial dilemma: they can't get a job without experience, and they can't get experience without a job. this situation was not anticipated by thousands of nursing students who were told, often repeatedly, that a global nursing shortage practically guaranteed employment for them.

    consider, for example, the situation faced by new graduates in california. a survey of hospitals by the california institute for nursing & health care found that as many as 40% of new graduates may not be able to find jobs in california hospitals, because only 65% of the state's potential employers were hiring new graduates and generally planned to hire fewer new graduates than in previous years. overwhelming numbers of new graduates submitted applications for the few available positions for new graduates.

    what happened to the jobs?

    most experts blame the crumbling economy for ruining the job prospects of new graduate nurses around the country, but as usual these days, the truth is more complex.

    uneven distribution. the demand for nurses was supposed to exceed the supply by the year 2010. the question of whether we truly have a nursing shortage right now is a fair one. the answer, it seems, is "it depends." apparently, it depends on where you live and where you are willing to work. neither the distribution or supply of nurses, or the demand, is uniform. some geographic (mostly rural) areas have a shortage of nurses, whereas some urban locations are witnessing an oversupply of nurses. new graduates seeking jobs in these regions will face a very competitive job market.

    economic recession. the shrinking job pool is widely believed to be a consequence of the declining us economy. temporarily at least, economic pressures and job losses in all industries have induced thousands of experienced but aging nurses to forego retirement and even increase their working hours to support their families. according to buerhaus, more than 75% of new nursing jobs between 2001 and 2008 were filled by nurses over the age of 50.[

    combined with a lower hospital census (as a result of fewer elective procedures and loss of health insurance coverage), this has led to downsizing, hiring freezes, and even hospital closures. when the cash flow diminishes, hospitals traditionally look to cut the nursing budget, the highest cost center in the hospital. the most expensive item in that budget is orienting and training the new graduate. transitional programs for new graduates, such as internships and residency programs, have been sharply curtailed, and many hospitals stopped interviewing new grads altogether. it doesn't help that newly licensed nurses have a reputation for having the highest turnover rates. as many as 26% of new nurses leave their first nursing employer within 2 years.

    shifting settings of care. healthcare is largely moving out of the hospital and into community-based settings. job growth for rns is expected but not necessarily in the hospital. significant job growth will occur in nursing homes, long-term care, home health, and even physicians' offices. acute care hospital job growth will be the slowed. again medscape requires registration

    i am not stepping on your dream. praemonitus praemunitus : forewarned is forearmed
  5. by   mountainbird
    Thank you for your replies. It sounds relatively tough to find jobs, but that they are out there. What areas of the country do you guys practice in? I'm curious if anyone has any insight into whether job prospects are better in the east/west/etc.

    Esme12 - Thank you for all of the great links and info. The myth or exaggeration of a nation wide nursing shortage is about what I was expecting. I noticed that you have been a nurse in the emergency/critical specialties. I'm curious if you are in an urban or rural setting? Flight nursing is an interest and long term goal of mine. I would love to hear more about your path if/when you have a chance.
  6. by   CookiePB
    I agree, there are jobs to be had, but don't count on getting your first choice as a new grad. You'll open up more opportunities with experience.
  7. by   Tarabara
    I think you're very smart to get a realistic picture of what you're facing. I went straight through nursing school after high school because I knew I wanted to be a nurse at a young age. I thought I was doing the right thing, going to college then I'd get a job in that field. I had no idea about other jobs in health care such as CNA or anything like that until i had already started nursing school. Luckily I was able to get an externship and got a job through that. My advice would be to volunteer at a hospital and work as a tech, CNA, etc or do an externship at a hospital in your area before and during school. This will greatly improve your chances of being hired once you graduate. (that and an open mind willing to take other areas besides emergency at first) It is a tough market right now, and Im not gonna lie, it was really stressful trying to get a job (even with the connection I had through my externship). However, I would never tell anyone to not be a nurse because of that. As other's have said, its a tough job market period right now, not just nursing. So go for it!
  8. by   tokebi
    Hi mountainbird,

    I live in Los Angeles area, and just graduated last month. As for how difficult it is to get into a nursing school, I think it varies widely depending on which school. ADN programs from community colleges aren't academically selective but extremely impacted and long waiting lists. Accelerated BSN or direct-entry MSN programs in major universities are very competitive but may offer better job prospects. Online universities like West Coast or Phoenix are easy to get in but expensive and questionable quality.

    As for getting a job, California is terrible for new grads, as are most big cities. Maybe rural areas have better opportunities? I don't know. I certainly don't see any nursing shortage anywhere here. A friend of mine who graduated from an A-BSN program could not find a job in CA for several months and finally found one in Florida. I could not even land an interview at a couple of places and finally got into a new grad program -- not in my intended area but nonetheless very happy and grateful. Several people from my cohort who got the specialties they wanted either made really good impressions during clinicals or been working there, or good recommendations from insiders. The inverse isn't true, however: A colleague was phenomenal in her clinical and loved by the unit staff but did not get the job due to internal politics. Jobs are there but often only after relentless searches, willingness to move, and willingness to accept any areas. I heard that 90% of the past students from my program (DE-MSN) got a job within a year of graduation.

    I can't say I know a lot about the job situation, but this is my observation from where I'm at.

    I wish you luck!
  9. by   mountainbird
    Tarabara - Thanks for the advice! I will definitely look into externships/tech work while I finish up a few prerequisites and start the application process. Congrats on finding a job!

    Tokebi - I have mainly been looking at Accelerated BSN programs. My knowledge of direct-entry MSN programs is limited, but definitely something I will look into. I'm excited there are so many possibilities. I'm curious what kind of new grad program you are in - a nurse internship, nurse residency, or some other kind of program? What specialty did you end up trying? I am completely open to any kind of nursing job/specialty. Ultimately, I would like to end up in ER/ICU at a Trauma I hospital, but my understanding is that the learning curve is enormous and that learning to be a good nurse is more important than the specialty (especially in the beginning). I'm sorry to hear that CA is such a tough job market right now. I used to live there, and still miss it everyday! Congrats on finishing nursing school and finding a job in such a tough setting. And thank you for sharing your story - the advice is so appreciated!
  10. by   tigerlogic
    ABSN programs are competitive-- some with higher avg GPAs than med schools in the same place-- but not impossible to get into on a first try. I'm a CNA in a hospital and starting a ABSN in the fall and everyone gives me these wide eyes of THAT EXPERIENCE WILL HELP YOU SO MUCH. Fingers crossed. My CNA instructor claimed that schools and jobs were less competitive in the middle of the country compared to the coasts. Good luck.
  11. by   MJeanRN
    I just graduated in May 2012, and was about 1 of 5 in our class of 67 that actually had a job before graduation. Where I live, there are around 6 colleges that graduate nurses every year. The problem is, that it's not a huge city, and there are only 3 major hospitals in the city. So, needless to say, the market is over-saturated every year, making it extremely difficult for nurses to find jobs. I would advise you to research whether or not this happens in your area, or whether or not you would be willing to relocate if need be. That said, there are several programs that offer an accelerated RN programs for individuals with bachelor's degrees, and there are associate degree programs that you can complete in 2 years. Just make sure you check with your local hospitals to see if they give preference to BSN's over ADN's, this may also help you make your decision as to which program to complete.
  12. by   classicdame
    you might have to be willing to move. Rural hospitals are generally in need of nurses.
  13. by   CorazonDeOro
    Everyone (except maybe 1 or 2 people) in my May 2011 ADN class had jobs within 6 months of graduation/NCLEX. I am in metro Detroit. I worked on my floor as a NA and then an Extern and was hired immediately after passing my boards. My manager likes new grads and hired about 7 all at once. I had the same fears you did but getting in to a hospital while in school helps tremendously. I also had a BA in another field but took the ADN route due to cost. I am currently finishing my BSN online at a local university. I only need 12 classes.
  14. by   One1
    It all depends on where you are, what school you go to, how your grades are, your impressions in clinicals, your healthcare experience, etc. My advice would be to keep your grades as stellar as possible, choose a nursing school with a very good reputation that has clinicals in many major facilities in town (clincals = connections). Regard every clinical as a networking opportunity, stand out, let the charges know (without brownnosing) if you are interested in that speciality or facility. If possible (and it is possible, even with ABSN programs) work part-time in a healthcare position while in school, again preferrably in the specialty or at least facility you hope to work in one day. Then try to get your senior practicum in the specialty or facility of your choice and show them that you are worth hiring. In my opinion, senior practicum is one extended job interview. It is possible to get hired quickly as a new grad into the specialty of your choice but don't set your heart on it, be open to start somewhere else, maybe another floor in your preferred facility, and don't take rejection personally. Good luck.