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Veteran nurses give your opinion of the new grad job situation

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I'm a nursing student right now and I'm about a year away from graduating with my BSN. I see forum after forum about new grads who can't find jobs, and it worries me. :uhoh3:

So for all of you veteran nurses out there, I want an HONEST opinion:

We don't have many job opportunities. If we take non-hospital jobs (LTC, school nurse, etc.) will we be unmarketable in our future? I hear stories that if you take jobs where some nursing skills aren't used, that potential employers will feel like you've lost those skills. Honestly, I love the idea of becoming a school nurse, but who knows what my future holds. If one day I want to find a hospital job, will I be hire-able? Do you think that when the economy picks up that hospitals will be understanding of the fact that my cohort just had to take what they could get?

Thanks in advance!

opensesame

Specializes in acute/critical care. Has 11 years experience.

Get a job -- any job you can find. Any nursing experience at all is better than nothing to a nurse recruiter.

If you can't find a hospital position for 4-6-8 months or more, I can almost guarantee that LTC or clinic position is going to look better to any employer than you doing nothing for the last number of months. Plus, you'll be making a paycheck. Plus, you will get some experience, even if it isn't the experience you want.

School nursing is a good gig, actually, in my opinion, if that is your thing. The hours are good, you get to work with kids, you have summers off. If you want to spend your career in public health or pediatrics, working in a school would be a good start for either of these paths.

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

Well if you don't take something all that you learned will be lost. What you can do while doing something that is non-hospital is keep up with certifications and online learning upgrades to what interests you.

Good luck but watch out what you wish for; some hospitals are not cracked up to what you think will happen in terms of "being a real nurse".

opensesame

Specializes in acute/critical care. Has 11 years experience.

but watch out what you wish for; some hospitals are not cracked up to what you think will happen in terms of "being a real nurse".

Ain't that the truth. :twocents:

I'm a nursing student right now and I'm about a year away from graduating with my BSN. I see forum after forum about new grads who can't find jobs, and it worries me. :uhoh3:

So for all of you veteran nurses out there, I want an HONEST opinion:

We don't have many job opportunities. If we take non-hospital jobs (LTC, school nurse, etc.) will we be unmarketable in our future? I hear stories that if you take jobs where some nursing skills aren't used, that potential employers will feel like you've lost those skills. Honestly, I love the idea of becoming a school nurse, but who knows what my future holds. If one day I want to find a hospital job, will I be hire-able? Do you think that when the economy picks up that hospitals will be understanding of the fact that my cohort just had to take what they could get?

Thanks in advance!

Thanks for sharing. it's great

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himilayaneyes

Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

My advice is to first get that hospital job if you can and work it for at least a year to get your foundation b/c when you become a school nurse...it'll be you all alone...you have to know your stuff. And LTC is better than nothing...looks better to a recruiter than not working at all. If you worked at a hospital for a year, became a school nurse, you could still work per-diem for a hospital (after a yr of experience) or for a staffing agency to keep up your hospital skills in case you ever want to return to acute care. It's a tough job market out there right now...but not all new grads are suffering. I know some new grads that got jobs right after they passed NCLEX. You definitely have to sell yourself and get a job as a nurse intern or pca...it looks good to recruiters.

msn10

Specializes in cardiac, ICU, education. Has 18 years experience.

Will working in a hospital make you feel like you are a "real nurse?"

I get a little upset when I hear people say that RN's in nursing homes, LTC, and school nursing is not real nursing. Taking care of our oldest and our youngest to keep them out of the hospital is really important work.

I have worked in an ICU, cardiac floor, school, and an academic setting. I can tell you that you will get a whole different perspective outside the hospital.

Outside the hospital you will need to depend on your 'nursing skills' much more than in a hospital setting. In a hospital, you do more medical tasks/procedures, not necessarily more nursing. I could get on my soapbox of what nursing really is, but this is not the place. I am sure you can ask your community health instructor about that one.

Putting in an IV every few hours doesn't make you a "real nurse." Even going from one floor in a hospital to another can be a big transition if all the drugs and procedures are different. If you can juggle all the patients in an LTC or a thousand+ children in a school, you can go back to a hospital setting. The interpersonal skills you develop are priceless.

If you think school nursing is where you would like to be, then go for it. Almost half of all nurses practice outside the hospital setting and are very happy to do so.

Sarah010101

Specializes in Med-Surg.

This is a really interesting topic. I will be graduating in under 2 years. I am very excited but prepared for the worst. I figure how many hospitals are in the province of BC... times the number of provinces... that is a lot of hospitals... and i am prepared to apply to every single one :)

I have heard that layoffs and job hiring freezes have happened in the past. Along with that the issue of LPNs taking over RN jobs. I think that we need a balance of both professions as they have a different scope of practice. But from what I have heard from older nurses, This has all happened before... healthcare will get worse.. and then it will get better... :)

I am interested to see what others have to say

My personal opinion from talking to a lot of new grads is to get experience now. Find a student nursing position in a hospital somewhere. "Student Nurse" position is basically the same as a Nurses Aid but usually get paid a little more. If you work as a "Student Nurse" or a Nurses Aid, you then get your foot in the door. I have talked to a few new grads and they have found jobs because they worked in that unit while they were in school. A lot of student nurse positions are very flexible with your school schedule. I worked as a "Student Nurse" and they hired me in that unit on the spot when I graduated.

Mike A. Fungin RN

Specializes in Trauma ICU, Peds ICU.

We don't have many job opportunities. If we take non-hospital jobs (LTC, school nurse, etc.) will we be unmarketable in our future? .... Do you think that when the economy picks up that hospitals will be understanding of the fact that my cohort just had to take what they could get?

I think that if LTC positions are all that is available to you right now, it would be foolish to turn one down because it might make you "unmarketable" in the future. I can't imaging that being unemployed will serve you any better.

That said, the availability of nursing positions is a cyclical thing. It's got to pick back up again sometime, and when it does there are going to be a lot of people in the same boat you are. I've got to think that hospitals are going to have to adjust their expectations with so many of you in the applicant pool.

If one day I want to find a hospital job, will I be hire-able?

Let me illustrate to you something about the futility of worry in any given situation.

* If you can in fact change the situation, there is no need to worry.

* If there is nothing that you can do to change the situation, then there is still no need to worry.

Concentrate on graduating, everything will turn out just fine in the not too distant future job market.

NurseCard, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

I have worked in the acute medical hospital setting, and I will do my darndest to never have to set foot inside one again, unless I'm sick or a family member is sick! :)

There are so many opportunities out there for nurses... really... it's endless. Don't think that just because you aren't working in a hospital setting, you aren't a nurse!!! The experience really is overrated.

Acute care experience is important, but for now, they aren't hiring new grads, which I find deplorable. They are going to run into a heap of trouble someday when there aren't enough experienced nurses on the floors to manage this huge gaggle of inexperienced nurses that will SOMEDAY be replacing everyone.

But I am shocked when I run into a student nurse (and they're still in the hospitals getting their training) will act uppity about taking a position in long term care -- I'm sorry, but this IS nursing, too -- in fact, it's an excellent place to just practice dealing with the "People" side of nursing, to develop time management skills, learn medications, manage transfers, etc.

Bathing, feeding, cleaning patients is HALF of what nursing is -- you mean to tell me we don't do these things in LTC?

If I was a hiring manager, I'd be much more impressed by the grad that took the LTC job to get experience over the new grad who did flu shots or some other such thing.

I feel "nursing" is so much more about people skills and relating to them more than any other medical procedure. It's about counseling, educating, giving hope -- you can do this in many other settings besides acute care.

I recently switched to adult acute rehab -- at first I thought it would be a breeze as I was no longer on an acute care floor -- but I find it to be highly challenging. I have developed into a much more autonomous nurse, and stronger nurse, because I have more patients to manage and just more ADL's to manage. When I return to acute, I will be much more organized and independent than I was as a new grad in acute care.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

my unit hires new grads -- six months of orientation, six months off orientation and they're off to anesthesia school. they also hire some nurses with experience -- floor experience, icu experience, ltc experience -- for the most part, those nurses stay longer. i'm sure that part of that dynamic is that i work in a cvicu which seems to be a feeder unit for anesthesia school. i'm not sure if ccu, micu, sicu or nicu have the same issues.

a couple of years before i graduated from nursing school, there was a glut of nurses on the market. new grads were taking ltc jobs, and when i graduated many of them were looking to move into acute care. nursing is cyclical. there are shortages and there are gluts. i understand that it's not coming across as helpful when i say that to a new grad, and i'm not trying to be obtuse here. i think the market is starting to change and there will be more acute care positions opening up. when that happens, the rns who have worked outside of acute care will be experienced nurses when they apply (if they apply) to acute care institutions and the new grads will be new grads.

you can learn how to be a nurse in home health care, school nursing, corrections, long term care or occupational health -- whatever job you can get now. there are things you may not be learning -- how to slam in an ng, iv and a foley in ten minutes flat or titrating vasoactive drips -- but there are things you will be learning: how to be a good employee and part of a team, how to talk to patients, families and physicians, what parts of the job you're in you really like and what parts you don't. you will learn skills that you would never learn in acute care, and some of those skills will set you apart from those of us who have always worked in the hospital. you'll be in a better position to choose your next job in order to maximize the aspects of nursing you do like and minimize the parts you don't. you'll also have a proven track record -- if you bounce from job to job looking for the perfect schedule, the perfect preceptor or the perfect anything, that will be a track record. and if you stick with a job you dislike for a year or two and learn all you can, that will be a track record as well. from what i'm hearing about the job market now, new grads don't have the luxury of being picky if they need the paycheck. you take what you can get, make the most of it, learn all you can and figure out how you're going to turn what you're doing now into what you want to do.

i am truly glad i'm not a new grad today. i became a nurse partly because i wanted the jobs to look for me, not the other way around. but as a 55 year old nurse with over thirty years of experience and a decent paycheck reflecting those years of experience, i know i'm not nearly as marketable or as portable as i always have been. ageism exists in nursing, and it's an ugly thing. i chose the job i have, but i know i'm stuck in it until i retire unless i get very lucky -- or very unlucky. the economy is affecting nurses at both ends of the experience continuum, you're not as alone as you might think. many employers seeing your resume in front of them (new grad, bottom of the pay scale) and mine (three decades of experience, top of the pay scale) may pick you just to save money. in fact, i know nurses who have been forced out of their jobs after decades of service on some trumped up charge so that management can hire two new grads for the same money. it happens, and it's devastating. with only a few years until retirement, it's rather late to be changing careers.

Thanks for your responses, everyone! I really appreciate the advice.

I didn't mean to come off as being against working outside the hospital. To me, everyone with an LVN or RN after their name is a "real nurse." But one of the many things that attracted me to nursing is its flexibility. I was just worried that, if I started out as a school nurse or in LTC, that I'd be stuck there if I ever wanted a change (not that I'm planning on changing, I just like having open doors!)

I have CNA experience in home health and in a critical care step-down unit, I've begun volunteering weekly at an elementary school with the school nurse, and I've applied to an externship in a CVICU. Hopefully that will bump my chances of having a job right out of school. :bugeyes:

OT: Ruby Vee, it's funny that you talk about ageism in nursing, because I've been hearing about the exact same thing, but on the other end of the spectrum. A few weeks ago, I overheard some nurse managers talking about how they won't hire anyone in their twenties (that's me :crying2:) because we're all flaky/attached to our cell phones. And there are TONS of forums on this subject here on AllNurses. That's not me and I really hope that potential employers will call my references (my nurses frequently commented on how hard I worked as a CNA) before choosing not to hire me because of my age. I guess thirties and forties are the ages to be for getting nursing jobs. :p

Edited by RachH