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Career Coach

Tough Job Market for New Grad NPs

Published March 11, 2010 8:50 AM by Renee Dahring
I'm not going to lie to you, it's a tough market for new grads this year. I don't take any pleasure in telling you this, so please don't shoot the messenger.

Why are new grads having a tougher time finding work? It's a combination of several factors that are creating the perfect storm. One is that many experienced NPs are either losing their jobs or having their hours cut back due to funding issues. This means more applicants for each job.

These established NPs are also being more flexible, they are willing to drive farther and look at options they may have dismissed a few months ago. New grads come out of school rather idealistic about what they can expect from their first job. This can be off-putting to an employer already anxious in this economy. New grads should focus instead on what they bring to the table and keep all options open.

It's very possible we may be graduating more NPs than the market can absorb right now. I have heard NP leaders say that as long as there are patients who need care, there can never be too many NPs. In a broad philosophical sense that is true, but unless someone is going to pay you to care for those patients, it becomes a moot point.

The good news is that the market usually corrects the "oversupply" problem. We've seen this happen in nursing many times. In an odd twist the down economy may help too because many RNs may choose to delay graduate school until their finances are in a better place.

What can you do if you are a new grad? Spend this time creating a solid job search plan, think about what skills you can emphasize and why an employer might want to hire you. Take the time to do some soul searching about what type of position you might be willing to take as your first job. Be realistic in your job "wish list." Sit down and craft a really good cover letter and resume. I can't stress enough the importance making a great first impression on paper.


Do you have a question for the NP Career Coach? E-mail her at


Would you recommend applying for positions/aggressively networking for my first FNP job now? I graduate in December & don't want to be too far ahead or behind the job-hunt curve.

Natasha July 31, 2012 3:49 PM
Fredericksburg VA

New graduate ACNP 12/10.  Accepted a position with a gastroenterologist who agreed to give me 2-3 month orientation but expected me to start seeing patients the 1st day I went in to supposedly shadow him and get a feel for his practice-was paying me as an independent contractor until my official start date.  After 4 days he told me I was not up to his standards even though I admitted to him in the interview that I had never worked in GI and would need to be trained(and he agreed to do so).  As an RN my last 8-9 years of nursing has been in cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery/medical mgmt so GI was a learning curve for me when you got beyond nausea/vomiting/constipation.  I am now unemployed and having to begin my job search all over because my potential employer reninged on his agreement for an orientation period.

Margaret, NP May 23, 2011 3:36 PM
Sugar Land TX

Hi Kate,

I love Stuart Florida!  I have some good friends living there.  Regarding the new job.  Be careful not to set yourself up for a bad experience.  Ask that an orientation period be included in your contract - if they not willing I would reassess the offer.  I have heard too many horror stories from new grads that were thrown to the wolves!  

Renee Dahring, Career Coach April 5, 2010 1:19 PM

I have an open position in Kalamazoo County, MI accepting new graduates and willing to train. If you know anyone interested, have them email me a CV - - I would be glad to help

Glen, Midlevel Staffing - CEO, MRI March 31, 2010 10:25 AM
Kalamazoo MI


KATIE , fnp March 29, 2010 12:07 PM
stuart FL

Unfortunately, I am one of those individuals that this article is referring to. I graduated in May of 2009 and am still fervently searching! An issue that hindered my search initially was due to of lack of funds to actually apply for the national certification exam and also for state licensing. I didn't plan for the hit of economic bad luck that occured right at graduation and hadn't especially set aside the monies for both of those expenses, so, I had to wait for a few months for things to clear up and save so that I could actually sit for the exam and become a full-fledged NP! As a result, my ability to even start my job search was hindered by several months. So, if someone who is reading this is getting ready to graduate, learn from my mistake and plan financially ahead so that you don't get unnecessarily lost in the race!

Angela , Family Medicine - Nurse Practitoner March 27, 2010 12:20 PM
Fort Lauderdale FL

Please do your part to bring your knowledge of renal diseases, the guidelines around CKD stages 1-5, renal replacement therapies, etc.  I have witnessed many nephrologists hiring new NP grads who do not have any nephrology experienced.  Often it is frustrating for both b/c the nephrologist doesn't have the time to mentor to the degree necessary and the NP has a hard time with the steep learning curve.

Tey obtaining the reference list for the CNN certification exam.  Those are the best books to read, etc.

Good luck in your endeavor.  Nephrology can be a rewarding place to practice and is a great way to use NPs.

Darlene, Nehrology/Transplant - NP, Kaiser March 25, 2010 6:53 PM
San Francisco CA

I graduated in August of 09, and finallly now in March found a job in Nephrology. The Md's are willing to train me, and I am looking forward to finally practicing. I would have not considered a specialty since I have no experience as a NP, but this actualy works to my advantage, since I can be guided the way it is most helpful for this practice, and the owner is very progressive and really values NPs. I will be their first NP they hire. I hope I do not disappoint myself, the patients, or the doctors.

Heike Huchler, Nephrology - FNP, Orion Medical March 25, 2010 5:28 PM
Miami FL

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