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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

New Jobs for New Grads

Published November 21, 2011 11:21 AM by Pam Tarapchak

So, is it a myth that new nursing grads can’t find jobs? According to some recent surveys, it just might be. A recent survey of nursing schools conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) tells a story of success for recent graduates. Among those receiving a nursing bachelor’s degree, 88 percent have received job offers within 4-6 months; for those earning a master’s, 92 percent.


A recent press release from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing highlights the possibility of brighter career futures for today’s nursing grads.


At the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON), informal surveys and questionnaires conducted among the 2010 Hopkins graduates show a similar percentage to AACN’s findings with 89 percent of responding graduates from all classes (bachelor’s, master’s, PhD and doctor of nursing practice) indicating they have found employment since graduation. Of the 11 percent not currently employed, nearly 10 percent indicated they were pursuing an advanced degree and were continuing their nursing studies full time.


Are these statistics the reality of today’s new grad? Have you had luck finding a new job after graduation? Or are you still sending out résumés and going on interviews? Tell us your story.



I graduated top of my class, received two scholarships for academic and clinical merit, tutored pre-reqs and nursing, worked in a brain injury facility while in school, and passed the NCLEX in the minimum number of questions to demonstrate proficiency.  Almost two years post graduation, I **STILL*** can't find a job.  There is NO shortage.  I warn everyone to avoid nursing.  It isn't worth the investment to work so hard and get NOTHING from it.  I'm lucky my husband makes a good living.

Melissa February 26, 2015 9:48 PM
Los Angeles CA

The nursing field is beyond flooded, if there is a nursing shortage can someone please direct me to this location. My fellow classmates have branched out to Texas, North Carolina, and Arizona in search of jobs.   I graduated with a BS in nursing in May 2010 and unfortunately STILL NO RN JOB (along with about 25% of my nursing graduating class).  I am in Georgia and I have filled out over 100+ applications (no exaggeration). No one hires new graduates because of lack of experience. You can't gain "working" experience because they don't want to pay to train and they don't want to take the legal risk.

Don't get me wrong there are some RN positions available AFTER you get about 2 years of experience under your belt or a specialty (mostly "as needed" or odd shifts like overnight or only weekends but hey @ least it's a job).  I suppose the 1000+ clinical hours required and optional volunteer work during nursing school meant nothing. To train a new graduate is expensive and just like every other company, budget cuts prevents such training.  I was fortunate enough to get my job back as a certified pharmacy technician at Walgreens (the job I had BEFORE I started nursing school).  

Bottom line: If nursing is your passion, go for it it's an eye-opening, challenging, and respectable occupation. But if your are looking for a guaranteed income you might want to try another field.  If I had to rely on my BSN degree and RN license I would still be out of work!!!.  :-(

Amber H, RN February 5, 2013 10:43 PM
Atlanta GA

Johns Hopkins has a financial interest in spreading this propaganda--if everyone learns about the nursing job shortage, their applications are going to drop off like a duck getting its head shot off. The more students, the more tuition. The more applications, the more application fees. It's not a mystery that Johns Hopkins nursing school markets itself like any other for-profit business--I still get their spam email telling me to come down for their information sessions. They're not above falsifying information. I've been out of nursing school for nine months. 600 resumes sent all over the United States, one job interview. No offer. My story is that I'm seriously considering looking for work in the Philippines because that's where hospitals are getting their nurses from. Not from American nursing schools, but from overseas.

Susan Thornton, Tx - Houston January 10, 2013 1:38 AM

I graduated with an ASN in 2008 and it took me 4 months to land a job. I had applied to every hospital and quite a few nursing homes, the furthest being a 90 minute drive. I was also applying to any department, any shift, part time, full time, or per diem just to get my foot in the door! My healthcare experience previously had been CNA work in the home, and in LTC facility (4years). My first job was in a LTC facility and I currently work in a pediatric office. I am currently pondering going back to nursing school for a BSN, but am starting to rethink this. I think there is no shortage of nurses. Not so sure I want to waste time or money?

Still pondering.

Heather, Pediatric - Rn, Office January 2, 2012 10:59 AM
Sanford ME

Not only new grads...I'm a BSN who re-entered the profession after a long time being out, but having gather lots of experiences outside nursing, and who did do a refresher with clinical...Still, it seems that unless who have work in an hospital in the last year, form home care to anything else, nobody is hiring you. I is very depressing and I feel that I re-invested all this time and energy for nothing.

Guylaine Kinney December 9, 2011 10:50 AM

I graduated from a BSN program in May of 2010. Like everyone else, I was at the top of my nursing class. Involved in NSNA and in the Honors Program with a good GPA obtaining my RN License within months of graduating. I applied everywhere. I worked in a hospital for 2 years in Maternity and had years of experience working with the public. None of the hospitals were hiring, not even the hospital I worked for. So I decided to take a job in a doctors office hoping the experience would get me a foot in the door. At the time, I was one of the only students in my class to get a RN job and I was happy with what I got. Friends of mine, moved to other states and some got hired in the hospitals they were already working in after several months. Everyone else is stuck working in community health like me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do. I just want to love what I do and use all the skills I worked so hard for to use. I live in the Boston Area, with the best hospitals around. You'd think they would take on the initiative to teach new grads. Instead they advised us to apply to new grad programs around the country, get a 2 yr contract, and come back after you have the experience. I can't uproot my life like that. It's unjust that people are getting hired because "they know someone." It should be based on merit. As a patient, I don't want a nurse taking care of me because she 'knows someone' rather because she/he excels at what they do. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2015 when the shortage get's to an all time high. All this frustration of not finding a job in the hospital settings have made a lot of new grads reassess if they made the right choice. People are leaving the field of nursing because it's too difficult to find a job they want and are sick of settling in jobs that provide little personal growth. Sure, new grads are getting hired but in part time positions with no benefits. It would be interesting to see a survey of new grads in the last 3 years and their content at where they are in their professional careers! I'm a year out, have RN experience, in a community setting, and apply daily to hospital positions with no avail. As time passes, it's getting more and more difficult to find a position as there are more new grads applying for the same hospital positions. I have called several recruiters and they always ask, what type of experience do I have and I tell them. Their response is, "well we don't have a new grad position right now, just keep applying and if something opens and we're interested we will call you for an interview." I just want to shout, "I'm not a new grad anymore! Doesn't my time in the community count for anything?!"In the meantime, everyone is so naive as to the nursing shortage. No one understands that there isn't a nursing shortage for new grads just for experienced RN's. Ninety five percent of positing require 1-2 years of experience in the I ask as every new grad in the same predicament does, "how do you think I'm going to get the experience if you don't hire me!"

Neli, Community - RN December 6, 2011 2:15 PM
Boston MA

To those affected by the most recent RN shortage that began in the late 1990s, research by workforce

December 5, 2011 6:08 PM

I was a nurse for over 17 years in the NB nursery at a small hospital in rural tx(wharton county) . I left there because i felt it was not a safe place to work and i value my rn license.  my boss was not a very nice person.I had to do what i had to do so i quit without giving two weeks notice. I have been looking for a job for 1.5 yrs.  I do not believe there is a nursing shortage I believe there a lot of lazy people out there that do not want to take the time to train.  I have had some interviews but was told i did not have enough experience.  I have an ADN degree and thinking about going to get my BSN.  I am very eager to learn and would like a job in women's services, I also have a few months of orientation in L@D, am able to circulate and recover C-S pts. The last place I worked did not do computer charting.

melisa, nb nursery/postpartum - registered nurse, agency November 30, 2011 8:12 PM
east bernard TX

Hi! I finished my Bachelor's degree in Nursing from the Philippines  on March, 2007, I had my work experience there in my country as an RN I passed the NY State Board of Nursing last November, 2009. Got my CPR certificate here and malpractice insurance as mandatory requirement. I've been here in New York for more than 8 months already and I keep sending resume online and give a lot of resume during the job fair that I attended for twice held in NY this year 2011 and sent some other places/agency my resume but until nobody hire me because they need 2-3 years experience as an RN here.  I feel like new RN is not welcome to work here and am so desperate and upset after studying so hard, prepare myself before I come here as an Immigrant.

Gina , RN November 27, 2011 10:59 AM
Jamaica NY

    I graduated in May 2011. I was President of my Student Nurses Association and have an ADN degree. I don't consider myself a "typical New Grad" as I have 20 yrs experience in EMS and have worked for over 15 years in my current hospital as a lab tech. Needless to say, even though my hospital reimbursed my tuition and with my long history here...I still haven't been granted even an interview. There have been multiple open nursing positions at my hospital. I have applied to all of them.  All the nurses here know who I am and know I am an RN. They would hire me on the spot but it's out of their hands as they have no say anymore in the hiring process.

    My job at the hospital has been very good to me and I don't feel the pressure to get a nursing job to support my family, but still, it's been over 6 mos. I also have worked as a substitute school nurse for my community. Everyday I get on-line posts of current openings in my area, but most of them are for travel nurse assignments and/or require a 3-5 yr. experience.

    The article stated that about 50% +/- have a job within 3-6 months after graduation.....this also means that 50% don't have a job.

Joan November 26, 2011 1:46 AM
York ME

It is NOT A MYTH.  I graduated in May 2011 with an ASN.  My GPA was 3.93, I was secretary of the Nursing Club and President of the Pinning Committee.  I am 37 years old, and already hold a BS in an unrelated field.  I was leaving an industry that had seen better days and had fewer openings all the time.  I was looking for a field where I could both help people and where there was plenty of opportunity.  Like many people, I believed the talk of a "nursing shortage".  Six months after graduation and the only employment I have found is as a substitute school nurse (which I only found through a very lucky bit of networking).  While very grateful for this opportunity, I also feel that I am woefully underemployed.  I have applied at every hospital and LTC facility within a 2-hour drive of my home that will take my resume (many will not take it without experience and/or a BSN).  I have visited every career fair in the area where I often wait on very long lines only to be told that they aren't accepting applications from someone with my lack of experience and/or degree.  I have networked with anyone I know in the healthcare field.  It seems that many of my classmates who I have met with jobs as RNs worked at the facility ahead of time.  There are also several who are working as substitute school nurses or with community agencies.  At this moment, I really feel I was sold a bill of goods.  But I continue to hope and will soon begin pouring more student loans into a BSN program.  Hopefully, I won't be throwing good money after bad.

Kristie November 25, 2011 10:26 PM

Graduated from Columbia University with a BSN in May, took the NCLEX a few weeks later.  Started looking for a job in September (was in school of Master's classes during the summer) and still haven't found a job.  I've gone to every hospital in all 5 boroughs only to be told to either apply online or leave a resume.  I've gone to open houses and career fairs and still nothing.  I have interviewed twice early back in the summer but I think my mistake was telling them I was still in school (NP).  I have since taken a leave of absence from school but the job market has gotten even more competitive (and saturated) with the August and September new grads.

I do have interviews coming up so hopefully something will pan out.  Good luck to all of us!!

Debbie November 25, 2011 10:12 PM
New York NY

I got my real nursing job 4 months after passing my NCLEX-RN. I am an Associate's Degree holder at 20 years old. I have applied to all the major hospitals around me. Went to an open house, drove everywhere and applied in person. All failed except the one I have now which I would not even have if I didn't have the friend that recommended me and spoke highly of me. It's tough getting a job when you just recently graduated with only clinical rotations as your experience. Mostly facilities look for someone with at least one year experience and have a BSN. Basically all that I have applied to told me that they're gonna call me if they want to interview me or if there's an open position and that they would keep my application and resume in file for 6mos or 1 year for future job openings. That's pretty frustrating! A month after I passed my NCLEX I actually emailed this home care agency asking if they have any open positions. Gave a copy of resume and wrote that I would appreciate to hear any advice. They called me for an interview and offered me a job. Not exactly what you call an RN job. But it's a start I guess. Me who has nothing in mind but to just get a job because I know it's tough out there said yes immediately. All I did was a Meals on Wheels assessment and medication management. That was mainly my job. It was a fixed pay no matter how short or long I spent with doing those. What's worse is that I did not get paid with my mileage and I had to set up appoinments in order to make sure I get and start an assessment with this clients. I took a sideline job because with that "home care" job I got I was basically spending more than I earned. My car always broke down because I have to drive all over the county and sometimes I go to these scary neighborhoods. My sideline job basically was a home health aid/CNA job that I did with an RN. The lady basically made me do everything for her in 2 hours. One time I had to lift her King size bed just because she wanted a change. And I didn't get paid much either.

All in all what I'm really trying to say is, that if you are a new grad whether you got ADN or BSN it is very competetitve out there and really hard to get that first dream job. You are almost left with the choice to just take whatever you can get and it's not as rewarding as you wanted it to be OR just go to a state and move away from your family and loved ones just to get the job where they are willing to hire new grads. An exception is when you have connections that could actually get you a job. I am grateful that I finally got a job now far from my two jobs before but it kinda get to me that the only reason I got it was 'cause I know someone.

IT IS NOT A MYTH THAT NEW NURSING GRADS CAN'T FIND JOBS!!! Most of the time we DON'T RECEIVE job offers. We basically have to literally hunt for it and sometimes beg or again take what you can get which usually should not be the case...

Natarove, Sub-acute, Long Term, Assisted Living, Rehab - RN, Care One November 24, 2011 3:09 AM
Wayne NJ

After my ASN program in Westchester County, NY, I started looking for work as an RN before I’d even sat for the NCLEX, thinking I’d get a foot in “a” door now.  That didn’t help: all I ever got was an invitation to fax or email my resume in, that they weren’t hiring now, but that they’d be in touch.  Fast forward five months after passing the NCLEX, I still couldn’t get anyone to sit down with me and interview me, let alone hire me.  My frustration was made worse given how diligently I sought out a job, yet never got passed the dismissive “We’ll be in touch” – when they spoke to me at all.  Repeated follow-up calls and letters, repeated visits, thank you letters for so much as a shred of information about possibilities of being hired – no amount of schmoozing got me anything at all.  I was ready to relocate to other cities because the circle of my job search on the map kept getting bigger and bigger every single day.  Finally while visiting a friend in Rhode Island, I walked into a nursing home almost as a goof, and asked whether they were hiring, which lo and behold got me into the nursing director’s office right away – and I was offered a job the next day, provided I could avail myself of a Rhode Island license.  To this day I’m still working there, happy to have finally gotten the ball rolling.  Except the only way I was able to move here was because of a well-timed divorce!  

Hasn't been easy...

Stephan Poirier, rehab/nursing home - RN, Apple Rehab - Watch Hill Manor November 23, 2011 5:22 PM
Westerly RI

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