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If we as nurse educators examine responses to the Medscape article "Looking Out for Our New Grads,"1 a rather bleak picture emerges. Current concerns of new graduates of both BSN and ADN programs include the obvious: the inability to secure a job in nursing. New graduates also express frustration related to being told by potential employers that they need experience but then are told that these facilities are not willing to hire them and provide that experience. There is also a confusing incongruity between reality and what nursing graduates report being told by faculty, the public, and the media regarding availability of jobs in nursing.


Nursing graduates are concerned that not getting experience will impact future employability. Some went so far as to express willingness to "work for free" to gain needed experience. The new graduates also are worried that without work experience, they are going to lose the skills they developed in nursing school or that those skills will be quickly outdated. New graduates state that they are willing to work in nontraditional settings, such as ambulatory care, long-term care, or with elderly patients. However, other barriers to employment arise when even these positions require nurses with 1 to 2 years of medical-surgical experience. Many BSN graduates expressed a negative attitude to their educational path. Comments related to the high cost of baccalaureate education when the graduate is faced with not being able to find a job. Moreover, the choice of a military career was reported to be less feasible than in the past.


Relocation allows some nursing graduates to obtain desired positions. However, employers in rural healthcare facilities want nurses with experience. Employment in nontraditional areas of healthcare often does not provide new graduates with adequate orientation or support for the nurse to further develop his/her skills. Once again, we see the importance of nurse residency programs in preparing and retaining new graduates.


As nurse educators, we are obligated to be aware of these issues. Perhaps, we also need to openly address these problems with our students and assist students in strategies to increase their chances for employment.


1. Stokowski L. Looking out for our new grads. Medscape Nurses: News. June 17, 2011. Available at: Accessed January 16, 2011. [Context Link]


Source: Stokowski L. Nurses are talking about: jobs for new grads. Medscape Nurses: News. December 12, 2011. Available at: Accessed January 13, 2012.


Submitted by: Robin E. Pattillo, PhD, RN, CNL, News Editor at