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Rookie Wit & Wisdom
Changing My Attitude about My Unemployment

I know that it is frustrating trying to find a nursing job right now for new graduates. I've been looking for over a year now.

I graduated in 2007 with my BSN and passed the NCLEX. I had a few job offers before I graduated from school, but the effects of the economy eliminated those opportunities. I haven't been picky looking for opportunities. I have been applying for any and all positions (ward clerk, nurse aid, etc.) and in all avenues (home care, long-term care, doctor offices, hospital, etc). I have had a few interviews, but have learned that the jobs are going to experienced nurses.

I have had to deal with my frustration and depression over the fact that I left a great paying job to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse and now I cannot provide for my family (I have 2 young kids). It was tough going through nursing school full-time while caring for an infant, working in a part-time office job, and dealing with a spouse who was not supportive of me leaving a great paying job for nursing.

I have decided that I am going to change my attitude...I went into nursing because I want to help and care for others. I am sad that I am not able to use my nursing skills the way I would like to right now, but I decided that I will use this "down time" to focus on me and my family.

I am taking more classes in areas of nursing that I am interested (geriatrics and mental health). I am also going to take classes to learn a new language to improve my communication skills with potential patients. I am reading journal articles to keep up with new developments. I am also volunteering with Hospice - this is my therapy. By helping others I help myself. Working with Hospice I am learning how to appreciate life more as well as prepare myself for my future.

So this is how I am dealing with my struggle with finding work. Of course, I continue to apply for jobs when I learn of openings or opportunities. I know that someday someone will see that I can be a valuable member of a health team.

Until then I have to prepare myself so when the opportunity is there I will be ready for it. Good luck to all who are struggling to find work right now! Take care!

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14 Responses to “Changing My Attitude about My Unemployment”

  1. katie Says:

    where do you live? b/c here in Texas my graduating class (we graduate in april) aren’t having any difficulties finding jobs. And most of us want specialties such as NICU, ER, ICU, etc…

    Maybe you need to relocate.

  2. Katie Says:

    Seconding the above… I live in Michigan, which is the worst state for jobs at the moment and all of my classmates have found jobs right away (graduated in December). I found a hospital job 40 minutes away, and even though that’s kind of far, it’s a job and a good hospital.

  3. Shelby Says:

    I feel your pain. I live in IL and there are massive hiring freezes, lay-offs, dissolution of New Grad programs, budget cuts, etc…. u can only get a job if u have ur BSN, at least 3-5 yrs experience, and/or know someone whom can get u in. And most places are not able to train new grads or those whom don’t possess as much experience b/c they don’t have the budget and staff available for preceptorship. They need all the staff they currently have and can’t afford to take any off the floor to use as preceptors.

    Even school districts are laying off their certified school nurses. Elgin just laid-off 22.

    I graduated valedictorian of my class and have been laid-off twice since I graduated in May 2008. It’s rough.. even firefighters are being laid-off. The jobs ARE out there….. but there isn’t the BUDGET to fulfill the need.

    I’m praying that I find something soon!

  4. Shana Says:

    Here in D.C/MD/VA things have been awful… no one wants new grads anymore. I guess we are too expensive…

  5. Jen Says:

    I graduated in May 2008 and my class was able to get jobs in our chosen areas. They are saying the Milwaukee area is saturated but I am not seeing it.

  6. Melissa Says:

    Here in Minnesota we’ve had this problem since Christmas of 2008, each hospital in turn has gone through a couple rounds of layoffs, followed by hiring freezes. Human Resources offices have recorded messages saying they’re not accepting applications. Basically, we have to wait for the laid off nurses to be recalled, the new grad programs reinstated, and then make a mad dash for the positions! Some of my classmates are relocating to southern states for jobs, but that is not an option for me. Things will turn around, they always do, I just hope it’s soon! Good luck to you and your search!

  7. nursek Says:

    That is so unfortunate for you. We all know how hard nursing school was and how many sacrifices had to be made.
    I also graduated in 2007, from school in NJ. Most of my class had jobs solidified before graduation. Hospitals were offering so much in the way of scholarships and retention bonuses, and free specialty training to woo us over. All that has dried up now, in such a short time! But there still are per-diem jobs open everywhere, and the off-shifts in nursing homes. Have you tried looking there (esp. if you want to do geriatrics)?
    Maybe you should invest in a career counselor for resume review and interviewing techniques. The jobs are out there… don’t give up!

  8. Amy Says:

    Things in Connecticut are tough, we have so many nursing school graduates this time of year and not enough new graduate openings. Only about 1/3 of our class has a job right now. But last year they had the same problem but I think everybody had a job by the end of the year. I am hoping that will be the case again. It is frustrating, I already took the NCLEX and passed so now I have nothing to do except keep applying.

  9. Shonna Says:

    look for a job in surrounding cities, be willing to relocate

  10. Cindy Says:

    Nursing homes are always hiring!!!!

  11. materrano Says:

    I graduated in May of 2010 and only a hand few of us found jobs. These jobs were through the nurse residency program. It is hard for new grads to find jobs these days. Not because jobs aren’t out there; it is because they want experience.

  12. Courtney Says:

    I live in D.C/MD/VA and no one of course wants new grads. I got lucky and this homehealth agency wants to hire me. But Ive heard on that new grads have no business in home health. So what the hell are we supposed to do?? Anyone disagree with this logic? They want experience for med surge here too!! its ridiculous.

  13. Amanda Says:

    I live in the DC/MD/VA area as well. Just graduated in August and passed the NCLEX. I was lucky to get a flu clinic position for the next two months. After that who knows. I’ve been applying to nursing homes, jails, home care too. Courtney, I would take what you can get but I understand your concern with home care. I would be reluctant to begin there just because you don’t really have a mentor and I would worry I would mess up and put my license in jeopardy. Maybe I’m just being a nervous new nurse?

    Good luck! Repost and let me know where you find a job!!

  14. Nina Says:

    Hi Courtney,

    I understand your concerns about joining a home health agency as a new grad, since there will not be any other nurses there to see what you are seeing when you are seeing it. Hopefully you will become more comfortable as time goes on!

    I am in a similar position. I graduated in May and live in CT; I have been unable to find a nursing job in a hospital. I work per diem for a home health nursing agency/community staffing agency as an aid, and do get occasional community staffing nursing shifts through the agency. I find this to be very stressful, however, since there is never any orientation and I am always walking into a new situation where there is not another nurse around to help out. I can call our supervising nurse at the agency, but since we do community staffing at so many facilities she often has never been there. So far, I have worked at a detox step-down program, as a school nurse and as a 1:1 in a school. I was asked to go into a hospice home (six beds) this weekend, but felt that I had to say no since I am not confident enough in my clinical skills and not aware enough of what I would be dealing with in that facility…I want the experience (and the money!) but I also don’t want to hurt anybody or put my new, hard-earned license on the line!

    I would be interested to hear from other new grads or experienced nurses about the risks/benefits of working per diem like I am now. And, good luck to Courtney and all the other new grads trying to find jobs out there right now!

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