Posts tagged ‘Registered nurse’

January 31, 2013

Why nursing graduates can’t find jobs

by Grace

New nursing graduates are finding it difficult to land their first jobs, but over the longer term nursing may prove to be a stable career choice.

Employers want experienced nurses.

Since the recession, health care has been the single biggest sector for job growth, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get hired.

Registered nurses fresh out of school are coming across thousands of job postings with an impossible requirement: “no new grads.”

A survey by the National Student Nurse’s Association showed 36% of newly licensed RNs graduating in 2011 were not working as registered nurses four months after graduation.

Blame the recession that has caused experienced nurses to hold on to their jobs, “clogging the market” and making it harder for new graduates.

The recession is to blame, says Peter Buerhaus, a registered nurse and economist who teaches at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. In a paper he co-authored in theNew England Journal of Medicine last year, he shows an interesting phenomenon happens in the demographics of the nursing workforce when the economy is weak.

About 90% of nurses are women, 60% are married, and roughly a quarter are over 50 years old. It’s typical for many nurses to take time off to raise children in their 30s, and given the long days spent working on their feet, many often retire in their late 50s.

Prior to the recession, about 73,000 nurses left the profession each year due to childbearing, retirement, burning out or death.

But when the recession hit, spouses lost jobs, 401(k)s lost money, and facing financial uncertainty, fewer nurses chose to leave work, Buerhaus said.

“Many of those nurses are still in the workforce, and they’re not leaving because we don’t see a convincing jobs recovery yet,” Buerhaus said. “They’re clogging the market and making it harder for these new RNs to get a job.”

Enrollment in nursing programs has doubled over ten years.

At the same time, enrollment in nursing colleges has exploded in recent years. In the 2010-2011 school year, 169,000 people were enrolled in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs. That’s more than double the 78,000 students from a decade earlier, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

There just aren’t enough jobs to go around for all these new grads.

Over the long term, nursing jobs are expected to be plentiful, but many of the jobs will continue to be located outside of hospitals. So the new graduate today may have to build her experience by working in  home health care, PRN assignments, nursing homes, or rural area hospitals, even if those are not her first choices.  Later on with more experience under her belt she will have more options to choose a more desirable job.

Related: Cautious outlook for nursing jobs (Cost of College)

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August 24, 2012

Cautious outlook for nursing jobs

by Grace

In recent years nursing has been considered a safe career choice, with the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report predicting that employment of registered nurses will jump 26 percent from 2010 to 2020″.  But a closer look might make prospective nurses less optimistic about a rosy job scenario.

Thirty-six percent of nursing graduates in the class of 2011 had not secured positions as registered nurses (RNs) as of last fall, according to a survey conducted by the National Student Nurses’ Association in September. Respondents claimed that employers are seeking more experienced RNs, older nurses are slowing turnover by taking longer to retire, and new graduates are inundating the market.

Nurses graduating with bachelor’s degrees and diplomas fared slightly better in finding jobs.

Locally, recent layoffs at several hospitals have included nursing staff.  Earlier this month about 80 layoffs affected physicians, nurses, managers and support staff at Mount Vernon Hospital and Sound Shore Medical Center.  The reasons cited for the cuts were changes in the health care environment, particularly in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement policies, along with providing more than $30 million in uncompensated care to under- and uninsured in our service area.”  Meanwhile, within the last year nearly 700 employees at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla have lost their jobs.

The growth in outpatient care has affected the need for nurses in hospitals, but suggests that different types of employment opportunities may expand.

… Outpatient care and other less traditional settings, on the other hand, have a need for nurses with innovation, creativity and command of their field.

It’s possible that nurses in these settings may find more difficult working conditions.

My advice to a young person considering nursing as a career:

  • Don’t assume that optimistic job growth predictions will pan out as projected.
  • Get a bachelor’s degree or a diploma*.
  • Investigate the many types of jobs that nurses are doing, both in traditional and non-traditional settings.

* Diploma programs are the oldest and most traditional type of nursing education in the United States. These programs are two to three years in duration and provide nursing education primarily in the hospital setting. Graduates of these programs receive a diploma as opposed to a college degree. Most diploma programs are now affiliated with colleges or universities that grant college credit for certain courses. 

Last year I spoke with a student of a diploma program associated with a highly regarded New Jersey hospital.  She was extremely gratified that she had been offered a job by that hospital, which apparently does not automatically happen in every case.

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