Graduate Nurse Job Market: Job Market Tips for Graduate Nurses

Be on the lookout for our Annual Best Agency Survey! Coming in October.

By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

April 9, 2014



Graduate Nurse Job Market

Sponsored by: Aya Healthcare

New Grads Having Difficulty Obtaining Employment
“New Grads need not apply”

Are you a new nurse? Are you finding it difficult to obtain a position with your new hard earned nursing license?  Most employers want you to have that one year experience, but if everyone wants it who is going to give it? What do you do when your a New Graduate Nurse without a Job?

The nursing shortages that we experienced back in the early 2000’s had the result of hundreds of new nursing programs being instituted all over the nation.  This has eased the nursing shortage in some areas but has also caused a new problem for nursing graduates…NO LOCAL JOBS.  A hospital requires a certain ratio of experienced nurses to new nurses in order to maintain safe patient care.  This means that many of these cities where we’ve seen an increase in nursing programs are now experiencing a lack of job openings for the graduating nurses.

Per a recent discussion via our Facebook group one of our contributing recruiters sums it up:

“Think about it this way, if a nursing school in one area and a class of 200 new grads just graduated, there are 2 hospitals in town that accept 2 new grads per graduation cycle… It is not going to work for all 200 to get a job locally. They (new grad nurses) will have to be willing to leave home for the experience and that means applying to jobs ALL across the country. Get the experience and then try to get back home.” – Holly Fenn @ Fusion Medical Staffing 

So how does the new grad find employment?
As Holly stated above, it might be necessary to look beyond your ‘home’ locale. I was visiting a travel nurse friend back in 2011 in Minot ND, there were a large amount of new nurses working there that weren’t from Minot. These nurses were new nurses (under 1 year) and had contracted to work at Minot as a new nurse. Many were only there to obtain their initial nursing experience due to the issues we’ve discussed. Of those that were nearing the end of their contracts, many already had full time positions lined up in their home area and were eagerly anticipating getting back home.

One of our Facebook group members relates to her personal experiences;  Brenna, who has been a nurse for five years and traveling for the past two years states;

“I remember that out of nursing school… I remember applying to EVERYWHERE and it was discouraging. I took what I could get. Kept in contact with the preceptor I had during my last clinical, she was an amazing reference and when the hospital (that I did my senior practicum at) offered a new grad program my preceptor helped me get into it! Then I started on an inpatient oncology floor. Once again, not what I desired to do but I took anything I could get to start building my base. I had a great 2 years as an Onc nurse and learned so much!”  Brenna recommends that you “keep in contact with your clinical instructors and try to get to know the managers during your clinicals, that way they can put a face to the name when you apply and might have an idea of your work ethic. Volunteer at a hospital during nursing school and get to know the staff.. I know there isn’t much spare time during school but with volunteering you can go as much or little as fits with your schedule and you become a familiar face. Good luck!” – Brenna, RN

So what should the new graduate take away from this? Hopefully a willingness to expand beyond your current location and desires and branch out to get the initial experiences needed.

  • Take the opportunities your college may offer for externships/internships. This is all about building the relationships with the staff, management and opens doors for future employment opportunities. 
  • Work PRN at a local agency or hospital.  In many instances once you’ve worked in a facility and proven yourself, the admin can and sometimes will ‘make’ an opening for you if they feel that you would be a valued employee.
  • Work a ‘contract’ in another state.  Not necessarily as a travel nurse but it’s very similar and in most cases, the hospital will provide you a relocation package in return for a signed commitment to work for them for a specified length of time.
  • Connect with the college career services personnel early and see what opportunities might be available that will assist in full time work after graduation.  Many colleges have agreements with the local hospitals for internships, CNA positions, etc that will be a benefit once you have graduated and are ready to fully hit the workplace.

We hope you found these tips for graduate nurses helpful.  Do you have any tips to share for graduate nurses?  Comment them below.

Sponsored by: Aya Healthcare

Since 2001, Aya Healthcare has been facilitating great travel nursing experiences. Aya Healthcare is committed to the highest clinical standards and has been Joint Commission certified since 2006.  Aya Healthcare  travel nurses are featured on MTV’s Scrubbing In. The company previously received national media attention for 13 weeks, a travel nursing reality show it released in 2006. 13 weeks won the media award from the American Academy of Nursing.  Aya Healthcare is dedicated  to providing exceptional service to every travel nurse, on every assignment and offers unique perks like airport pick up in Sacramento for nurses going to the California Nursing Board.  Aya Healthcare is one of the largest travel nursing companies in the country and currently has travelers on assignment in 47 states.

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