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Job Prospects for New Nurse Practitioners

Published March 12, 2009 9:37 AM by Renee Dahring

Every spring the University of Minnesota holds a conference for nurse practitioner students who are about to graduate. The topics addressed are various issues that students face as they are transitioning from student into practice.

Our company, Advanced Practice Solutions, always has a presence at this conference. We enjoy meeting and welcoming the next generation of nurse practitioners into practice. Since both Lynn and I attended this same conference when we were students, it reminds us of the excitement and anxiety that we felt as we were about to graduate.

Each year the job outlook for new grads changes, last year as we talked to the students we were somewhat amazed to learn that many, if not most, had job offers pending. In fact, there were more than a few students who were entertaining not just multiple offers, but multiple GOOD offers. Salaries and benefits were up, and new grads were starting near the higher ends of pay scales.

What a difference a year makes! As we suspected, the job prospects for new grads is not quite as sunny as in 2008. This year it was the exception to find a student who had a job waiting for them after graduation, but instead we had lines of students waiting eagerly to hear our take on the current market. Salary surveys are helpful tools, but they are retrospective in nature and as they say "past performance cannot predict future results." Those of us doing recruiting are on the front lines and see the trends in "real time" as they emerge.

So what advice were we able to tell these soon-to-be new NP's?

  • Yes, we can confirm the market for new grads has tightened up since last year, and you shouldn't expect record setting salaries, but there are plenty of good jobs out there.
  • Please keep an open mind about specialty practice, we are seeing somewhat of a decrease in family practice openings for new grads but specialty practices now seem to be very open to looking at a new grad practitioner.
  • Be reasonable and fair when it comes to your salary requirements, we don't believe practitioners should be working below market but demanding in a recession to start at the top of the pay scale is not going to be an effective strategy.
  • Be in it for the long haul because being prepared, working hard and getting some experience are still good investments.


Hi Brenda, don't get discouraged.  Have you considered finding a mentor (perhaps a former preceptor) who is willing to let you continue your clinical hours?  You may have to sacrifice a few hours a week for no pay but it will give you additional clinical experience and show that you are very motivated to learn. Also you have great RN experience and I would not hesitate to emphasize that on your resume and in interviews.  Renee

Renee Dahring March 20, 2009 9:08 AM


I am a new Women's Health Nurse Practitioner-BC. I graduated in Dec 2008. I have not found a job. I live in Alabama and they are a bit behind in utilizing NPs in the OB/GYN setting.

One job I applied for said they really preferred someone with experience... How do you get that if you are a new graduate and  have never been given a chance to work as one? I have `20 yrs as a RN in Maternal-Child.



Brenda March 12, 2009 7:49 PM

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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