I realize this is a fairly often talked about topic, but I just wanted people's opinions, frustrations, vented feelings, and outlooks.
I am from the West coast but found that nursing programs were too saturated and competition too stiff so I opted to move out of state and complete my ABSN. I moved to Kentucky and have less than 27 days until I graduate, but during my time here I found instructors and Nurses scoffing at the idea that I would find a job out in California, Oregon or Washington upon my return. I had no clue about the hardships so many new gradate RNs were facing to even land an opportunity or even find a job in acute care to apply to that didn't say New Grads not Acceptedâ€. I learned quickly the prospects of landing a job in my home state of California was unlikely, but was curious the reason as so many have said there's a nursing shortageâ€. Now I don't think that's a lie, as I have looked for jobs in California and Oregon, and there is most definitely no shortage, in any department, of job postings for RN's, but with the caveat that you must have 1 year of acute care experience in that specific unit.
The sad part is, how does one get this experience? There are new grad RN programs/residencies, but these are a joke. They seem to just be a cover for hospitals to be able to say they are new grad friendlyâ€, but their programs don't even make a dent. Many only have 10-20 spots for thousands of applicants. UCLA's program generally offers around 100-120 spots a year spaced among differing departments, but receives upwards of 5000+ applications, many of whom aren't even from the state to begin with. Other hospitals are similar; one article stated that six hospitals in the Daughters of Charity Health System in Los Angeles aims at hiring 10 new grads (at each hospital) and receives more than 1,000 applications for each position. In Oregon, Portland hospitals are also saturated with experienced nurses. OHSU has history of hiring freezes and only places the opportunity to apply to the new grad program for just seven to 10 days due to the high number of applicantsâ€, similar stories with Legacy Health. Washington hospitals continue the trend. This is leaving thousands of students to come out of school and have nowhere to go.
Another caveat is the new grad RN programs are only for those who have been out of school for a year, yet one study showed that 43-48% of newly licensed RNs still did not have jobs within 18 months after graduation. To me that is an insane number. So what happens to these people? They can no longer attempt to get hired through a new grad residency, but will also not be competitive (or even looked at) in the general nursing job pool which requires minimum 1 year (sometimes 2) in acute care. Much of the remaining percentage move to clinical/private settings, nursing homes, rehab clinics, corrections facilities, or have to take a different job all together (CNA, tech, waitress, etc), where they aren't getting acute care RN experience and once again aren't building their resume for the job they really wanted. To top it off, most have loans to pay off within 6 months of graduating, so some type of job is needed.
I stated earlier many nurses and professors here in the East South-Central US knew of the difficulties of new grads obtaining jobs out West, but also shared with me their confusion of so many travelers heading out that way, citing if they take so many travelers isn't there a shortage?â€. My reasoning was that travelers now must have at least 2 years experience and that looks very appealing to West coast hospitals, thus they would much rather take a seasoned nurse and pay them more (even if temporary), then spend the money and risk to train a new nurse.
I looked up articles on the issue but it was difficult to find any written after 2013. It seemed most projected this lack of new grad hires would be forced to end in just a few years, but 3 years later it seems no movement has been made. Many articles cite the recession as a cause. Because so many nurses returned to work who were set to retire, who had left after having children, etc there is now a saturation of experienced nurses and hospitals only want to replace them with experienced nurses. But is this forever possible? A quarter of nurses in the US are over 50, and that is a lot of nurses who at some point WILL have to retire due to age/health or leave due to improved economy. So when all of these nurses leave, will there be another shortage? Will there be a dumping of inexperienced nurses into the hospital setting because there is no other choice? One article predicted in 2020, it would all hit the fan as hundreds of thousands of nurses are set to turn 55-60 then.
My solution, I'm staying here in Kentucky at least another year. I landed a job I know I could never get in California as an ER nurse at a University trauma one hospital, and hopefully with a year of that under my belt, I can return home to my family and get a job. For others I'm not sure what the best course of action is.
What are your thoughts?
Are you a new grad who is frustrated and if so tell us about it (can be any part of the country as there may be other areas experiencing similar hurdles I don't know about)?
Are you a current RN who landed a job against all odds? What did you do differently?
Are you a seasoned RN who sees this issue and agrees, disagrees, or feels differently about it?
Any other comments, opinions, ideas, etc?