New grad vs. seasoned nurses

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This is a hard time for new grads.  There are not many jobs out there, and there are plenty of experienced nurses that are looking for a full time job or returning to the workforce making it is hard to even get an interview.  In Denver, there are so many nursing schools pumping out nurses, the market is completely saturated with nurses.

Recently, I had a position to fill.  I probably received 15 applications the first week before I finally cut it off and did not take anymore.  I had everything from nurses who just got their license a week before, to nurses with 15 years of med/surg experience, even a nurse with experience on this very unit wanting to return to the organization.

I finally weeded though all the applications down to six that I wanted to interview.  Of those six, I finally got it down to three that I wanted make my decision from.  One was the RN with 15 years of med/surg experience, the one with several years of experience on this unit and a new grad who did a clinical rotation on this unit.

After talking to other nurses on the unit who had worked with the one wanting to return, I found that she had a rather negative attitude when she was here.  The one with 15 years of experience scored very low in the assessment tool that the organization uses, in the areas of relationships (how she gets along with other team members) and positivity.  But the new grad was positive in her interview.  She wanted to move into a place where she could learn from the team and grow as a nurse.  She also scored well in those assessment categories that the other had score low in.

Can you guess who I picked?  I picked the new grad.  I felt that a positive attitude was more important to my team and unit than being able to rush somebody with experience though orientation to get them on the schedule.  I honestly feel that how that person will fit with the team and how they will help create a positive atmosphere was more important than the experience.

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Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed.Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university.Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.

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6 Responses to New grad vs. seasoned nurses

  1. Sean Dent

    Rob, do you give lessons? I have a few managers in mind who could use your wisdom.

  2. Claudette

    Thank you for the reminder that experience will come with time for any nurse but a person’s attitude generally is unchanged. I am an upbeat person and love being helpful any way that I can. As a new graduate nurse I have been the one not getting any return calls from potential interviewers. When I do get that interview I am going to mention that my positive, can-do attitude is invaluable to their facility. That may be what gives me the edge! Thanks again!

  3. Rebekah Child

    That reminds me of the Southwest Airlines motto for hiring (which I too incorporate because I am a HUGE fan of hiring new grads): Hire for attitude, train for skill. You can always teach how to start an IV, you can’t always teach how to have a great, enthusiastic, positive attitude!

  4. Vanessa Cid

    What an excellent post! Your account has been encouraging and refreshing for me as a new grad. I’ve often wondered how I could possibly compete with seasoned nurses and others with the advantage of experience. You’ve reminded me that even as a new grad, I still have much to offer—qualities such as teamwork, a positive attitude, and the willingness to learn–qualities that cannot necessarily be “learned” or obtained from years of experience. Thank you!

  5. Mary

    I saw this post and felt a little better. I am a new 2010 grad and Alabama where I’m from has more nursing schools than hospitals and within 3 days of a job posting many nurse mangers get 60 or more apps. I’m not even getting called for interviews. Some days its just disheartening.

  6. Placida Sison

    I was glad that the manager has chosen the right person in the job. A person with positive attitude and eagerness to learn is the best person to join the organization. She will be empowered to use the knowledge and skills she obtained from her school. I commend the manager. She has goos judgement and management skills.