Fewer new nurses starting their careers in hospitals

Hemera | ThinkStock

Hemera | ThinkStock

Fewer new nurse grads are going to work in hospitals today compared to six years ago.

This finding comes from a new study conducted by the RN Work Project, which is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study looks at two groups of new nurses, the first newly licensed in 2004-2005 and the second licensed in 2010-2011.

Among new nurses in the 2010-2011 cohort, 77.4 percent began their nursing careers in hospitals. This is compared to 88.8 percent of the 2004-2005 cohort, according to a release about the study. Other major differences include the percentage that worked in the ICU (18 percent in 2004-2005, 11.6 percent in 2010-2011) and the percentage working in Magnet hospitals (10.3 percent in 2004-2005, 13.5 percent in 2010-2011).

Additional findings reflect that the economy was in better shape when the 2004-2005 group graduated than it was six years later. More nurses from the later group reported that they weren’t able to find jobs–31.1 percent from that group, compared to 11.8 percent in the earlier group.

The 2010-2011 group was also more likely to be enrolled in a formal education program–16.6 percent compared to 11.4 percent in the earlier cohort.

“There have been several changes in the years between when these nurses passed their licensing exams, and those changes appear to have had an important impact on nurses’ behaviors and goals,” said Christine T. Kovner, PhD, RN, FAAN in the release.

“It’s possible that the increase in newly licensed RNs holding BSNs and who are enrolled in formal education programs is a function of the recommendation that 80 percent of nurses have BSNs by the year 2020 in the Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. There is also anecdotal evidence that hospitals are preferentially hiring RNs with BSNs,” Kovner said.

New nurses, do these findings match up with what you’ve experienced while looking for work? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below.

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3 Responses to Fewer new nurses starting their careers in hospitals

  1. nursejayne

    I am a recent Registered Nurse graduate and have personally experienced what this article explains first hand. I received my license in November 2013 and now going on 4 months later, have had a hard time getting a position which fits me into the category of new nurses unable to find jobs. Reason to believe that most hospitals are only accepting BSN applicants and are requiring a minimum of 6months to a year of prior RN experience. Without the experience I am not qualified. I continue to apply daily hoping the right position to come along eventually where I can gain my nursing experience.

    • Reggaemama777

      I am also a recent graduate and newly licensed as of Feb 2014. I am so frustrated. I have applied to several hospitals for several positions, mostly med-surg, and have not even been able to obtain an interview. I don’t know what i am doing wrong. I have been an LPN for the last 6 years, and prior to that, was a CNA for over 20. I’m not sure if that is hindering my chances or not? How can a new grad acquire the experience if they won’t give you a chance?

  2. nursejl

    I received my RN license in 2008 but had an ASN degree and applied to many hospitals in the Boston area, many of which required a BSN degree and 1 year of experience. I went back to school and received my BSN in 2009 and applied to/visited practically every hospital in the Boston area and the SAME thing that was told to me over and over again was, “you must have one year of med-surg experience”. It was so frustrating. How was I supposed to receive that experience if I’m not even given a chance? Finally after almost year of trying, I finally opened up to other opportunities and applied to long term care facilities and received a job very quickly. It wasn’t my dream job but something was better than nothing. Also many nurses there were new grads like myself who experienced something similar to me. It’s been over 3 years since I’ve worked there I haven’t reapplied to any hospital RN positions…nervous about being rejected again because the experience I have isn’t good enough but yes finding a job as a new nurse was DEFINITELY very challenging for me and I believe the statistics presented in this article to be accurate.