July 9, 2010
According to USA Today, a Vanderbilt University 2009 analysis predicted that the U.S. will be short 260,000 nurses by 2025. LA Daily News reports that by 2020 more than six million Californians will be 65 years old or older. With the current average age of registered nurses at 40, this means that California needs to graduate 10,000 RNs a year to avoid a shortage.
Everyone has been hearing that there is a national nursing shortage, yet many newly graduated registered nurses are finding it difficult to find a job. "When we all started nursing school, we thought, 'We're going to get sign-on bonuses and a job right away'. Now that we've graduated, we get responses back from hospitals that say we're not taking new graduates," says Courtney Hansen, a 27-year-old graduate from Moorpark College.
In order to combat the shortage, nursing schools began increasing their class sizes. USA Today reports that Arizona alone had 2,805 graduates in 2009, which was more than double the number of grads in 2002.
Two or three years ago, new RNs received multiple job offers. Times have changed, however, as experienced nurses are postponing retirement or re-entering the profession to make ends meet in today's grim economy. Furthermore, LA Daily News adds that in the 1990s hospitals drastically cut back to cope with rising health care costs and shorter patient stays. As a result, many RNs lost their jobs while work hours and case loads increased.
Today, hospitals and health systems are cutting back on new graduate hires, explains Deloras Jones, the executive director of the California Institute for Nursing & Healthcare. DeAnn McEwen, RN and member of the California Nurses Association's board of directors says, "New grads are having a hard time finding jobs...but it's not because they are not needed." As proof of this, Mike Dacumos, a 2009 nursing grad, told the Glendale News-Press that many of his old classmates still have not found jobs because potential employers do not have funding for new grads.
The problem seems to be regional, however. Rosanne Curtis, dean of the Nursing Department at Mount St. Mary's College says, "There are places in the country that are hiring nurses." USA Today states that new grads will have to be flexible about location and shifts. Janet Allan, dean of the University of Maryland nursing school, says, "Our students are getting jobs, it's just that they're not getting their first or second choice."
For nurses who do not want to relocate, Jennifer Castaldo, assistant chief nursing officer for Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, recommends that students look for hospitals that provide scholarships or internships. Castaldo told the LA Daily News that her hospital pairs new graduates with veteran nurses "to cultivate new nurses".
New grads can also work with federally funded programs such as Verdugo Workforce Investment Board in Los Angeles, CA. According to the Glendale News-Press, the board pays half of the cost for hospitals to train new nurses for 12-16 weeks at one of four local hospitals. Armine Khudanyan graduated from Cal State Los Angeles in 2009 and, with the help of Verdugo, was able to land a job at Glendale Memorial Hospital. "Someone has to give you the chance to come in and learn. Then you can become an experienced nurse," she says.
Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff
"Despite shortages, nurses not finding work as quickly," dailynews.com, June 6, 2010, Susan Abram
"New RNs find job market tight," USAToday.com, July 9, 2010, Alison Young
"Not so fast, aspiring nurses," glendalenewspress.com, July 9, 2010, Bill Kisliuk