Nurses Are Talking About: Jobs for New Grads

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS


December 12, 2011

In This Article

Take a Job, Any Job

The most frequent bit of advice given to job hunting nurses is: "Take whatever you can get until what you really want comes along." As one Medscape reader said:

"You, like me, will probably have to be willing to accept a nursing job other than acute care, at least at first. Just don't allow yourself to stagnate in that other position, whatever it may be."

When newly licensed nurses can't find hospital jobs, they often seek "less desirable" jobs in long-term care or a variety of outpatient settings to gain some experience, usually with the intent of working in these jobs only until a hospital position opens up. Unfortunately, the end result of this practice is that hospitals hesitate more than ever to hire new grads because of their tendency to leave their first positions not long after they have been trained.

"I graduated with a BSN, a 3.96 GPA, and tons of community service. I was sure that the scarcity of jobs wouldn't touch me...I was wrong! It took me 16 months to find a job and I had to settle for a psych nursing job in a prison. It isn't what I saw myself doing but it is a place to hang out till the market turns."

...And Do Your Time

Seasoned nurses love to tell new grads that they will have to suffer through the same trials that they once had to and "pay their dues," whether it's working the night shift or working somewhere that isn't really one's "dream job."

"When I was a young and green nurse, I had jobs I wasn't thrilled with but learned a lot. Everyone has to do their time."

"Look for a position anywhere in the country that has a need. A year elsewhere is a hassle but then you have the almighty experience you need. Hospitals want someone who has been indoctrinated 'in the real world.' When they have a choice of experience vs new grad, from a business sense they take experience. So find some small hospital in the boonies and do your time."

Relocating, particularly to areas that are still experiencing a relative shortage of nurses, is often suggested as another job-hunting strategy. As one recent grad said, "My classmates who found nursing jobs the quickest were those, like me, who were willing and able to relocate."

An experienced nurse said, "My advice is to expand your geographical search area as much as is possible for you, litter the world with your resume, be willing to take whatever is available, and take pride in being a nurse -- any kind of nurse. We are all equally important to the population we serve."

However, others have found that rural facilities aren't hiring either:

"There is just as much difficulty finding a job in rural areas as there is in urban. New grads are facing the same problem. Employers want experience. In rural America the job market is terrible. I'm at the point where I would tell anyone thinking about a career in nursing to think twice."


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