Some new nurses are graduating from nursing school this year and having difficulty finding work. Many may be questioning their career choice. It’s up to us seasoned nurses to encourage these new nurses to hang in there for the long haul.
So, as the economy continues to sputter, new nurses may be facing great difficulty in finding sufficient work–or any work at all, for that matter. Not finding work quickly and easily after graduating from nursing school can be demoralizing to the new grad, especially when compared to other times when nursing students were often hired for jobs before they even graduated.
Baby Boomer Demand
Meanwhile, we’re all aware that the Baby Boomers are now beginning to retire in droves, and there’s no doubt that the need for nurses and other health care professionals is certain to grow in the coming decade. This retiring generation will demand increases and changes in the health care sector. In response to that demand, hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities and other health care providers will no doubt attempt to meet the challenge of this enormous generation’s aging and eventual infirmity.
The Supreme Court and Health Care Growth
Adding fuel to the health care fire, the upholding of the majority of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) by the Supreme Court in the face of numerous legal challenges to its constitutionality sows the seeds of a likely expansion of Medicare, Medicaid and other programs in a number of states.
What Does This Mean for New Nurses?
In my opinion, new nurses graduating in 2012 face a challenge, including trying to find gainful employment at a time when jobs are more scarce in a struggling economic climate. This presents a daunting situation for many new nurses.
In addition to simply finding work, new nurses also need to consider the long-term employment outlook for their chosen career. Based on the predictions vis-a-vis the increasing health-related needs of aging Baby Boomers over the next one or two decades, the long-range outlook is quite positive for nurses and their professional colleagues. Boomers will need home care, chronic condition management, hospice, rehab, long term care, elective and non-elective surgery, as well as acute care for non-chronic conditions, and it’s nurses–the backbone of the industry–who will provide the majority of this hands-on care.
Patience is a Virtue
If new nurses cannot find work quickly, the fear is that a significant number of them may abandon their new profession and seek further education (often a good bet in bad economic times) or revert to a previous career track in lieu of nursing. While this course of action is understandable, it is indeed a loss for the nursing profession–and for the larger health care community–since these nurses will certainly be needed as the industry expands in response to demand.
It’s my hope that new grads will hang in there, find whatever work they can, seek additional nursing education, and realize that increased demand for their services is just around the corner. We need our new nurses, and we welcome them into the fold even as their short-term prospects look dim. Let’s help them focus on the future and the inevitable rise of nursing to meet the challenges of the coming decades.
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