January 06, 2016 | | Comments 0
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What to know about New Nurses: Unemployment

The healthcare industry is facing a shortage of nurses as members of the baby boomer generation retire and the industry expands. The upcoming decades are going to be reliant on new nurses to fill the gaps left by their predecessors. As a manager, what do you know about the people that will make up your staff in upcoming years?  

An experienced RN doesn’t need to worry much about finding work. In 2015, the unemployment rate for RNs was a measly 2%, with the industry expected to increase 19% by 2022.

While this is great news, most of these jobs are going to nurses coming out of retirement. During the recession, many nurses came back to work as pensions lost money and family members lost jobs. The fear of financial instability also convinced many nurses who were close to retirement to keep working.

Like many high-stress fields, healthcare facilities prefer employees with prior work experience. Small mistakes like a forgotten medication or unwritten note can have devastating consequences for patients and managers like to know their staff knows the ropes and can work under pressure.

While the preference for experienced nurses is understandable, many facilities won’t even consider applications from nurses fresh out of school. The RN Work Project found that even though RNs consistently have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the county, unemployment rates for newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) roughly tripled between 2005 and 2011, jumping from 15% to 31%.

While job prospects for NLRNs are expected to improve in a few years, many recent graduates are still having trouble finding work. Which is crazy considering how many healthcare facilities are understaffed and that larger nursing staffs have proven health benefits for patients.

In the end, it comes down to if being terminally short staffed is better than hiring a few college grads to pick up slack. Taking the phrase “no new graduates,” out of your job posting will greatly broaden your field of potential applicants, can give a new nurse a much needed chance and ease the burden on your existing staff.

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Filed Under: Career developmentNew nurses

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Brian Ward About the Author: Brian Ward is an Associate Editor at HCPro working on nurse management.

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