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Report from the Job Search Frontlines

With most Spring graduations now finished, new nurses everywhere move forward with studying for the NCLEX-RN exam as their next step.  Maybe there's a little time off in there too that at least involves a few days of sleeping late after the intensity of nursing school!

For non-nurses reading this blog, the NCLEX-RN is the professional licensure exam diploma, associate degree, and bachelor's prepared nurse take to ensure they are safe to practice and deliver patient care.  Yes, all three levels of education take the same exam.  Why it works that way is a longer story for another day.

Meanwhile, anecdotal and utterly unscientific reports are coming in from former students of mine.  Here's what they're saying about the 2012 nursing job search.

1) Time: It's taking between four and six months to find an entry level job.  That time frame includes the time spent studying for NCLEX and waiting for permission to test to be processed.

2) Locations: Cities are still slower than rural areas.  Students willing to work in rural areas got jobs much faster than those committed to working in urban or suburban areas.

3) Floors: Hiring is going across the spectrum.  That means that yes, Emergency Departments, ICUs, and specialized units are taking new graduates, but the competition is fierce!  Second degree nursing students with previous work experience (even if it's not in healthcare) are far more likely to get hired into specialty units.

4) Shifts: Yes, night shift is still where new grads get to work most often.  

5) Recruiters: Some of the recruitment stories are, quite frankly, horrible.  Yes, human resources departments are overwhelmed with nursing job applications but there is really no excuse to treat someone rudely!  These potential applicants could also be referring patients to the facility for care.  This fact is more important for urban and suburban hospitals than rural ones where they are the only healthcare game in town.  Nonetheless, recruiters and VPs of nursing take note: How your HR recruiters treat applicants matters.  It leaves the first impression of the organization.

So new graduates, keep persevering out there.  A job is waiting for you.  Remember: It may not be your dream job right now but it could lead to it in the future!

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