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So is there really a nursing shortage?

Nurses   (52,808 Views 160 Comments)
by VegGal VegGal, BSN, RN (Member)

VegGal is a BSN, RN and works as a RN.

3,321 Visitors; 135 Posts

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770 Visitors; 16 Posts

My region seems pretty much like what others are saying here.

We have plenty of new grads looking for beginner-level jobs ... most of whom have no desire to stay in the long enough to become worth the expense of training them for high level acute care. They just want 1 or 2 years of experience before moving on to something else. The constant training (and turnover) of new grads increases the stress of units considerably. (Typical med/surg nurse/patient ratio is 3:1, sometimes 4:1)

What we need are people who want to specialize in acute care and who can handle the stress that acute care involves -- and who will stay in acute care long enough to become proficient care givers and front-line leaders.

Seriously!? 3:1 and 4:1 for med-surg? When I worked med-surg we had a 6:1 or a 7:1 with one tech covering the front of the unit, and the other covering the back half. With those kinds of ratios I never would have left.

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madwife2002 has 26 years experience and works as a Director of Nursing Services.

1 Follower; 74 Articles; 120,069 Visitors; 4,777 Posts

No nursing shortage just a shortage of good nurses

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13,269 Visitors; 1,403 Posts

I'm an ICU nurse, and it was my first position in nursing. I'm actively looking for a position in my town (I drive an hour to work) and I can't get an interview. Mind you i've only been there for almost a year and I'm motivated to find other work because of distance driven and scheduling issues (I might get 1-4 day off block per month....) but they aren't even considering me with my experience. I'm probably going to have to take a telemetry position and then step back into ICU or ED. Aside from a short orientation to a unit, I already have the critical care components down, but don't have that magical 2 years experience that they're all looking for (and that the stupid applicant tracking systems look for).

The problem might not be that you don't have the magical 2 years of experience it might be that you don't have one year of experience and you are looking to leave your first job, the one that invested time and money in training you, in less than one year. That doesn't read well to another ICU that knows it will need to invest time and money into you because you aren't a well-experienced nurse and they don't know if you'll want to leave them too before the investment pays off.

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NotYourMamasRN has 6 years experience.

5,230 Visitors; 317 Posts

In my experience, it is based on specialty and locality. The state I live in now has very different needs from the last state I lived in.

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vanessaem has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN.

3,878 Visitors; 147 Posts

Hospitals used to routinely hire new grads; although they invested significant amounts of time and money in new grads before they became functioning assets to the hospital, they felt that this was a piece of the "social contract," if you will -- it was their responsibility to do so, and their investment in the new grads would pay off over time. Over the last 15 - 20 years, hospitals that used to welcome, support, and nurture new grads found that they hired new grads only to have many (not all!) of them turn around and leave in a year or so, long before the hospital came close to recouping its initial investment in orientation costs, and that many (not all!) new graduates started having an entitled attitude that new grads did not have in the past; many acted like they were doing the hospital some kind of favor for agreeing to work for them. The turnover rate for new grads is higher now than it's ever been; two years used to be (not that long ago!) considered the minimum acceptable amount of time to stay in a job to be a responsible employee and avoid the "job-hopper" tag; now people routinely say that the appropriate amount of time is one year, and people post here all the time about wanting to leave a job after six months or less, and plenty of people here encourage them to do just that. A lot of hospitals feel they have been badly burned by new grads too many times, and are becoming increasingly reluctant to take a chance on them. Many of them would rather be short-staffed than hire new grads. This is a situation which previous cohorts of new grads in recent years have created.

I see what you're saying but this is not always the case. Many hospitals just don't want to spend the money to train people without even thinking about whether or not they will leave or not. And lets face it, people these days are not willing nor do they need to stay in work environments they're not happy with. Perhaps if hospitals knew how to treat their staff and made the necessary resources available to them, they would not leave. Not to mention hospitals, like any other business, is all too willing to cut staff whenever they feel like doing so. Unfortunately, they would rather save themselves money at the expense of their patients and staff.

new graduates started having an entitled attitude that new grads did not have in the past; many acted like they were doing the hospital some kind of favor for agreeing to work for them

I've never come a across any new grads like this. Honestly, most I knew or know find it an honor to be hired because jobs for them are so scarce these days unless you have connections. I basically had to go across country for work because I couldn't get anything in my home state or surrounding states. New grads get a bad rap and I think it's uncalled for. People have to start somewhere and we were all new grads at one time. Plus, not everyone is living with mom and dad and have steady financial support. These people have to work.

When people start retiring or leave the profession, we're going to be left with fewer and fewer staff to meet the needs of patients and minimal staff makes for an unsafe work environment. "Experienced" nurses are being spread too thin and are overworked. Again, I'm not sure about the past but today's unwillingness or reluctance to hire new grads has more to do with plain old not wanting to spend the money and not because of ungrateful new grads leaving. Hospitals are cutting back everwhere and on everything.

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BSN_to_ICU works as a Registered Nurse.

959 Visitors; 32 Posts

As other poster said, it definitely depends on the area. At the university in my area, their latest statistics on hire rates were 112 out of the 115 graduating BSN class for May 2016 had secured a job BEFORE graduation. I know many of these students who secured jobs in the NICU, ICU, pediatrics, PICU, ER, etc., etc.

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4,052 Visitors; 69 Posts

But, I, on the other hand, applaud the Millennial generation. They are not willing to put up with the crap their elders traditionally have. They see what loyalty and faithful long-term employment will get you, nothing at all. They are not going to stay around when moving on will net more. They are smart; they are advancing their education sooner and moving on faster. Gotta hand it to em

Absolutely correct! The millennial nurses stay 2 years tops then they are gone. Either to better paying jobs elsewhere or back to school. Very smart!

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770 Visitors; 16 Posts

Hospitals used to routinely hire new grads; although they invested significant amounts of time and money in new grads before they became functioning assets to the hospital, they felt that this was a piece of the "social contract," if you will -- it was their responsibility to do so, and their investment in the new grads would pay off over time. Over the last 15 - 20 years, hospitals that used to welcome, support, and nurture new grads found that they hired new grads only to have many (not all!) of them turn around and leave in a year or so, long before the hospital came close to recouping its initial investment in orientation costs, and that many (not all!) new graduates started having an entitled attitude that new grads did not have in the past; many acted like they were doing the hospital some kind of favor for agreeing to work for them. The turnover rate for new grads is higher now than it's ever been; two years used to be (not that long ago!) considered the minimum acceptable amount of time to stay in a job to be a responsible employee and avoid the "job-hopper" tag; now people routinely say that the appropriate amount of time is one year, and people post here all the time about wanting to leave a job after six months or less, and plenty of people here encourage them to do just that. A lot of hospitals feel they have been badly burned by new grads too many times, and are becoming increasingly reluctant to take a chance on them. Many of them would rather be short-staffed than hire new grads. This is a situation which previous cohorts of new grads in recent years have created.

I'm sure nobody has actually done the research, but if this is true doesn't that just mean that hospitals are cost-sharing new grad training? I mean if hospital A hires new grads and hospital B hires new grads, and after a couple months all the new grads leave both hospitals A and B, and then apply for jobs at the other hospital doesn't it just all come out in the wash? When you hire an experienced nurse from elsewhere you are hiring a nurse that some institution paid to train. Those experienced nurses also bring their old unit cultures and practice habits, for better or worse, with them when they come. At least with a new grad they're a relatively blank slate. I think hospitals are at least contributing to this phenomenon by trying to poach experienced nurses off of each other. Maybe a new nurse really wanted to work in a particular care setting at hospitals A, but they could only get a job as an experienced nurse there, so they settled for the new grad program at hospital B. Does that mean that nurse shouldn't pursue their dreams?

I agree that leaving prior to at least a year during your first hospital job is pretty rude and may reflect poorly on a new grad, but I can see why some new grads do it. In nearly all American industries these days there is no more agreement between management and the workforce. Companies do what's best for their bottom lines, and nurses do too.

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217 Visitors; 2 Posts

I am a nurse in Southern California and we do have a nursing shortage on certain units. All the new grads went to ER/ICU/DOU. Our med/surg needs staff and always have. Part of it is location, most come here get the experience needed for resumes at other locations. It is hard to justify paying for someone to orient when they are from out of town, knowing they will be gone in less than a year. New grads need to be willing to go where the jobs are. This may mean relocating and staying for a while. If they are willing to fight for a position and show interest it may just lead to a position they will like and learn from.

With regard to the Millennials they are great workers that think outside of the box most times. They have shown me new perspectives in nursing. However we do need 2 employees to count as one when compared to the Gen X and Baby Boomers. They only work their 3 shifts and occasionally work extra. They are generally happier in their personal lives compared to many of my co-workers. We old timers can learn from them and they from us.

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2,002 Visitors; 124 Posts

This again? My honest opinion:

1. There is a shortage of nurses willing to work for $15/hr and no benefits, there is no shortage of nurses that will work for a decent wage, benefits and working conditions. I don't think I've gone to work in the last couple years when the first words out of someones mouth weren't "its crazy and we're short staffed tonite"

2. As far as new grads finding work, I truly don't believe nursing school teaches a person how to be an RN, it teaches one to pass the NCLEX which as percentage rate is how schools are rated. I believe if nursing education actually trained work ready RN's that would alleviate much of the glut of new grads unable to find work.

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1,068 Visitors; 22 Posts

Forgive me if this was already mentioned as I didn't read all the comments but I wanted to offer my two cents:

I was reading the HRSA report of the projected surplus in 2025 (which was written last year) and noticed that they originally predicted the projected 2025 shortage in 2001...before the market crashed.

I was in an awesome sales position after graduating with my business degree and probably would have never left that position. But after the crash I was out of a job and had mouths to feed so I went back to school and took a chance at being an RN. I new school would only take 2 years to obtain my ADN and everyone was raving about "how much money nurses make". :roflmao:

The point of this is to say that I was forced to switch career paths and took a gamble on nursing and I know I wasn't the only one who made the same decision as a result of the market crash. Fortunately, it worked out to be the BEST DECISION I have ever made. I loved working in the ICU so much that I went back to school to become an FNP and I absolutely love it.

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remorej works as a BSN.

768 Visitors; 29 Posts

I'm from a province in Canada (Manitoba). I've recently graduated with my BSN and passed the nclex this past month. I did my senior in an acute nephrology ward (very busy floor and had other specialty pts such as ortho, step down, even telemetry!! lol) but I got to experience a lot such as Gomco suctioning, chest drainage systems, and NG insertions! I made the executive decision not to work while studying for the nclex. Since passing, I've applied to numerous positions in my city, and out of province (Alberta). I haven't received a call back from any hospital positions... only northern nursing (I guess cause it's not a highly sought after position) and LTC. I'm pretty young and don't want to lose my skills but the problem is I haven't had a call back from acute floors so I'm afraid I may have to look at LTC to start :(. Positions in the city seem difficult to attain.

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