Tough Times for New Grads

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Tough Times for New Grads

Lack of experience is often the culprit

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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There has been so much news about the shortage of nurses that it’s hard to believe that nursing graduates are having a difficult time finding employment. However, according to a report by the California Institute for Nursing & Health Care, nearly half of all the state’s new nursing graduates did not have a job in healthcare, even after 18 months. The report, conducted last fall, surveyed 1,500 recent graduates.

The Report’s Findings:

• Forty-three percent of new graduates were unable to find a nursing job within 18 months of obtaining their licenses. The figures for 2010 were similar.

• Of the graduates who were unsuccessful in finding healthcare work, almost all — 92 percent — said it was because they lacked experience.

• A whopping 42 percent said they were told that prospective employers preferred to hire nurses with bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

• Of the new nurses who did find employment, most — 70 percent — indicated that they were employed within six months of graduation.


1.    Newer graduates were unwilling to relocate to work in rural and suburban areas.

2.    There remains a reluctance among older nurses to retire at the normally anticipated time.

3.    An aging workforce and healthcare reform initiatives will eventually increase demand for nursing care, and California’s shortage of nurses is likely to grow.

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