How to Get Your First Nursing Job » Nursing Jobs Blog – Nurses Insights at Nursing

How to Get Your First Nursing Job

March 6th, 2009  |  The Blog

It’s a Catch 22: You can’t get a job as a specialty nurse without experience, but how are you supposed to get nursing experience without a job. Sound familiar? Here are three tips that will help you find your dream job.

Tip One: Start Building Your Resume When You Are In Nursing School.

Hospitals traditionally like growing their own nurses to fill spots in their nursing rosters. Three year diploma schools started that trend years ago, and it continues in today’s workplace. Older, more experienced nurses aren’t leaving their jobs because of the economy, so there are fewer jobs for nurses coming up the ranks. That means that nursing students who know what unit they want to work on when they graduate need to go and talk to the unit’s head nurse now. Let them know that you want to work for them when you graduate and ask them what you need to do right now to start preparing for a position on the unit. They might help you get a job as a nurse’s aid on their unit, and make sure that you get some work hours that don’t conflict with your school schedule. Get to know people on the unit, and choose a mentor that can teach you things that you’ll never learn out of a book.

Tip Two: Work PRN Until a Full Time Position Opens Up

Older nurses approaching retirement age are staying in the workforce longer because of the of the faltering economy, which means there are fewer fulltime jobs available for new nurses entering the job market. The best thing to do is sign up to work PRN in a lot of different places. This will help you get the number of work hours you need each week in order to survive in addition to opening a lot of doors for you later on down the line. Fulltime positions are usually offered to part timers first when those positions become available. Working PRN in many different areas also gives you extra job experience, which translates into a richer and fuller resume.

Tip Three: Have a Friend Introduce You To Their Boss

My father was a smart man. He always said, “It’s not always what you know that will get you ahead in life. It’s who you know that counts.” No truer words were ever spoken when it comes to the nursing profession. My last three jobs came to me by word of mouth. The jobs weren’t posted. I just put some feelers out and my friends came back with some leads. They talked to a few people who set me up with a couple of interviews. Nursing is a small world, especially in the area where I grew up. Use your resources and start networking. There isn’t anything wrong with using a few connections when you’re looking for a job.

Do you have any job-hunting stories you want to share? Come to Nursing Voices and tell us about it. We’re waiting to hear from you.

Terri Polick
About Terri Polick
Terri Polick has been a nurse for thirty years, and is a published author living in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. She is currently working as a freelance writer, and is a frequent contributor to Nursing Spectrum Magazine. Terri works at a local community hospital as a psychiatric nurse.

84 Responses to “How to Get Your First Nursing Job”

  • Newbie RN said on April 11th, 2009 at 1:28 am

    I graduated last year from nursing school and did not have any trouble finding a job. The largest teaching hospital in my area has a program for new nurses and it welcomes new nurses on a surprising number of units. Working as a care partner while you are in nursing school is one way to get a foot in the door. I didn’t do that but I still didn’t have any trouble getting three job offers after I graduated.

  • jinkee said on June 8th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    i graduated few months ago and took the board exams last week in which the results would be released at the early weeks of august. so right now i was thinking about what to do while waiting for the results,right now i want to at least have experience doing nursing stuffs but i don’t know how to start.

  • abdullah selmi said on July 17th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    please asisst me if you can

  • Rachel said on August 26th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Hello, I am also a new RN with a previous career/previous bachelor degree. The nursing shortage is geographical and does not apply to the Northern New Jersey/New York City area. I have had a very difficult time getting my resume seen let alone an interview. Yes, everyone wants a minimum one year experience and all I need is a way in. Although, I have encountered some open positions for nights, I do not feel I would manage that into my life very well. What do employers do when a nurse wants to transition into days? Would I be stuck with night shifts forever or is there a seniority plan within hospitals? Please help?

  • Tuttle said on August 31st, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    In response to Newbie RN – No one had trouble getting a job as a new nurse LAST year. This year however, none of us new grads can get one. All the hospitals have hiring freezes for new grads, and if they are hiring, it is for “experienced RNs only” and even those jobs are few. I am sick of hearing about a nursing shortage and that we need to encourage more people to enter the nursing profession. We have thousands of RNs who went to college to help fill this shortage, only to be turned away at the hospital doors because we are new grads – they don’t want us. I am starting to think I wasted my time by becoming an RN.

  • Keshana said on September 1st, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    In response to Tuttle–I graduated May 09′ as an RN as well and I’m experiencing the the same thing your are right now. I live right outside of New Orleans, and have been told on several occasions, “we are looking for experienced RNs”. Then, I hear talk of a shortage of nurses, I can’t understand how, most of my nursing class has to drive about an hour or two away for work. I’m still not working yet after all the hard work I put into nursing school. How can they expect you to get experience if you can get into the field? As if they didn’t start out as RN new grads. Its very upsetting to know that you go through all that schooling with nothing in return.

  • Tuttle said on September 1st, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I agree with you Keshana. The other thing that bothers me is that many hospitals would rather live with their nursing shortage, over work their current nurses to the brink of a nervous break down, and put patients at risk instead of hiring some new grads to fill in the gaps. Well, we can only hope it gets better. I know there will be jobs for us eventually, but my fear is being out of nursing school so long that I forget the skills I learned. Remember what it was like going back to clinical rotations after a semester break?

  • Megan said on September 21st, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I used a nurse staffing agency to find my first nursing job and couldn’t be happier with my placement.

  • Arti Singh said on September 28th, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Here is a suggestion to all of you people who had no problem getting jobs and offers and couldn’t be happier. How about you actually tell us the name of the agency or the hospital that you are so happy with so some of us can get a job as well. I see you very cleverly managed to omit that from your responses.
    I agree with the rest of the people that have posted things here. I keep hearing about this shortage. I even used to work as a patient care technician/nursing assistant while I was in nursing school. I was very clearly told that my previous jobs do not count as nursing experience and that the hospital needs experienced nurses. I also remember one of my mentors at clinical rotations telling me that they prefer new grad because the older nurses are very set in their ways and very difficult to teach. Also they bring with them some unhealthy work practices. You can avoid all these problems with the new grads and yet I am still looking for work. I am exhausted and disheartened. I always had two jobs before I got my license now I don’t have even one. All I have is a degree which at this point is serving no purpose at all. My heart goes out to all of you and I pray for your success, I will also pray for those that are “happily employed” that maybe God will give them some sense to do something more useful and actually help others rather than stick their nose up in the air.

  • michelle said on November 19th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I am having the same trouble getting into the hospital, but I am finding that the skilled nursing facilities are hiring. You will be able to get on there, because they have a hard time getting rn’s. Its better than nothing.

  • sam said on December 7th, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I am also having a hard time finding a job, I graduated last year and I moved to Alabama and I have applied for about 20 jobs and they all said I don’t have exprience if they don’t hire me how could i get exprience I really thought after I graduated from nursing school I would not have a problem finding a job was I wrong. It’s the worst feeling not being able to find a job.

  • Rhonda said on January 13th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    You all need to grow up! It is not that the “old nurses” are hard to teach and set in their ways. It’s not that you need experience. The fact is that most hospitals have instituted a hiring freeze and are promoting from within. I have been looking for a job for over a year and have moved from the North to the South and still nothing. However I am being told that it’s not a lack of experience but that the hospitals are trying to develop the staff that they have already invested time and money in training. It makes sense to me. It’s tough everywhere. Maybe though, try volunteering where u want to work. Get to know the Manager and staff and work yourself into a job that way. I have seen it done and am trying it myself.

  • Frank said on January 21st, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    OK. I have been reading all of your posting recently from everyone. Frankly, im sick and tried of people saying that they can’t find a job. If the hospital is requiring you to have job experience, then go and get some by volunteering. You can almost walk up too any hospital now and tell them that you want to volunteer.
    I could understand that some areas don’t have the room for volunteer staff. But honestly, what person would turn down free labor. In return you can put on your resume that you have worked in a hospital setting, and got experience that way. The internet is also helpful for new RN grads. Try looking at Internships in any hospitals in your area. If you guys are complaining for no placement of job because of no experience. That is a poor excuse to me. If you really want to be in this field, it is survival of the fittest. You also have to network yourself, and make yourself stand out. Do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door. Sorry to be so forward, but that is my thought on everyone’s comment.

  • Kristi said on January 25th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Lots goes through my mind when I read these postings but the first is in response to Frank. First of all experience and RN experience are 2 different things. I have 5 years LPN experience in nursing and I am now sitting like a duck like the rest of these poor nurses looking for a job. So volunteering isn’t the answer. As for everyone else, we must keep our chins up and push on. Being strong and focused will eventually get us what we need/want….Jobs.

  • riza said on March 4th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    i am feeling the heat too, i wish somebody could help me out i really need a job. i live in plano area in TX, and no hospitals seems to be hiring new grads. its really fustrating to go through nursing school only for hospitals not to give new grads oppourtunity to excel. even the intern positions i applied and they turned me down. help somebody!!!!

  • Lynn said on March 17th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I am curious if the RN’s are BSN or ASN that are not able to find jobs? I have heard that recently lots of hospital are trying to get Charter Status and in order to do so they must have a certain number of BSN educated nurses on staff in order to get Charter status.

  • Tia said on April 9th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    EXCUSE my spelling but here goes…I have been an actress for 10 years total, and 7 years before starting nursing school. What we are all experiencing is what actors go through all year every year. It stinks and it is a game of survival of the fitest! Everyone who is getting a job is keeping it real quiet because they don’t want YOU to dim their star baby! Same with actors!! I can tell you right now that the only way I have been able to sit and chat with recruiters is persistence (I know how to “stalk” hospitals because its been my life to stalk casting agents)…and NAME throwing… They have all said the same thing. I will share this with you!

    1) All the recruiters say that DR’s offices, nursing homes, outpatient clinics DO NOT COUNT AS EXPERIENCE. Is it better than working at old navy? I am sure! However you will still be at the BOTTOM of the pile when it comes to that hospital job

    2) They speak of horror stories about local hospitals in NY taking on new grads only to let them go after orientation!! There is one hospital that let go 40 new grads. We are competing with them on top of those who keep graduating!

    3) Got an associates nursing degree like me? Ha! They no longer are looking for us because of magnet status which brings the hospital money or whatever, however they only want nurses with BSN’s. It shows that they have more “professional” staff. Let me say this!! My ADN program is the hardest in the area!! Why why why did I suffer through?? Ahhhhhhhhh!!

    4) They will HIRE from WITHIN first. That’s right! so start applying for clerical jobs, NA jobs, JANITOR positions, kitchen workers, soup makers, I don’t know anything!!! That’s what I am doing!

    5)Certify your self with every friggin expensive certification you can so the “poor” hospital doesn’t have to pay for it. ACLS, PALS, ABCDEFG!!

    6) Have a plan B in store. I call mine T 2.0. Now I will become phlebotomy certified and try and get a job doing that along with clerical work at the hospital that I KNOW PEOPLE there already! Too bad my extremely brutal nursing program conveniently didn’t include this in their teaching! Who cares about blood borne illness spreading throughout the students!!haha JK!

    7) Travel if you can! If I travel my relationship wouldn’t survive and he has a good stable job so that’s out for now. If you can DO it, DO ITTTTT!! Join the gosh darn army if (you don’t mind going to Iraq). They WILL hire you in a second (if you make it out).

    8) Apply for any and all fellowships even if you can’t see your self working there! Currently I am going to apply for the O.R. fellowship where I know the recruiter and she has said its a possibility instead of NO! Maybe its my calling?? Who knows? The NR’s have all said it might be little easier to get into those than the star of the show med/surg! We can’t all be stars baby! He he heeeh

    9) School school school. If you have an associates go back right away for your bachelors! Make sure its a state school since I am sure you are all broke like me! They are cheaper and this way you can get federal aid up the WAZOO! There are two online programs in NY that are accredited. Empire state college and Dheli! I am currently waiting for my acceptance letter for Fall 10 to Empire.SOME recruiters will put you between the BSN and the ADN’s if you are IN a program. The middle is better that the bottom!!!!

    I like that number because it is so NOT final, like our careers, so I will stop there. This is all the advice I have gotten from NR’s and I share it with thee!! Good luck everyone and fight til the end but look good doing it!

  • Julie said on April 12th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Really great advice Tia — I’ve been working on documentary films for the last 12 years, and the last five as a freelancer. I’ve always found work via word of mouth. But this is so different. I’ve got a loads of degrees, a couple of bachelors in other things and a masters. But with my associates in nursing, I’m not even getting the time of day from recruiters or anyone for that matter. I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. This is getting ridiculous. I’m going to start the nursing home circuit, as that may be my only hope at getting actual experience.

    I just graduated in December, and as far as I know only a handful of my classmates are working as nurses, and mostly it’s because they knew someone who walked their resume up to the nurse manager. I don’t have those kind of connections, unfortunately.

    Good luck to all of us in this boat. I’m not totally broke, but realizing that I”m going to have to continue to put out to get all these certifications and start on my BSN in the meantime.

    Geez… even the army reserves needs 6 months experience before they’re accepting applications, I’ve been told. But then again, I’m a mid-career switcher, and am past the cut-off age, so they’d have to waive that on me.

    So good luck to everyone. I think we need it right now.

  • Berg said on April 27th, 2010 at 9:31 am

    here in the PHILIPPINES, Nurses must need to undergo Voluntary service as a nurse, without any assurance to be hired. Only to those who has the connection working in the hospital were absolutely get the position without undergoing voluntary service. another worst thing is that, we need to pay the institution for the training service they offer…

  • R said on June 4th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Tia that was hillarious! Thanks for the info . I am in Tampa Fl, going through the same. I graduated in May awaiting my sit pass. I was originally looking for a GN spot but wow they were gone ….So I am just going to focus on the NCLEX. Good luck to all and do not get discouraged we worked to hard to just give up, it is all about timing!

  • R said on June 4th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Also, a friend of a friend who is an RN…(LOL)stated to get as many certifications as possible….

  • Cathie said on June 7th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I am starting school at HCC in tampa August. Wow, I am overwhelmed that it is so hard to find a job after graduation.

  • Cindy said on June 28th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Try looking as a Dialysis nurse. They train RN’s/GN’s

  • ML said on July 26th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    I am having a tough time finding a job after graduating a year ago with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. The hospitals want you to have experience, BUT, you cannot get experience until you have a job. It is extremely frustrating and humiliating. I WANT to work; I NEED to work – as a Nurse. As R said – we worked too hard to just give up but as time marches on it becomes very discouraging.

  • Jenniebear said on August 3rd, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I am in the same boat with these other ADN’s. It is so frustrating and I feel as though I have just wasted a lot of time and effort! I have considered volunteering, but for how long would this go on? I still have a family and bills..can’t do that forever! I am not considering the military. Don’t know how else to get the experience I need…

  • Leia said on August 6th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I graduated from Philadelphia with my BSN and moved to Florida to look for RN jobs and have found no such luck. Since then I have gotten my ACLS and am looking into and EKG course and maybe others. These hospitals want at least ONE year of LICENSED EXPERIENCE, so to all of those who say volunteer.. it doesn’t count because we can’t give medications, diagnose, treat.. nothing when we are not working under our license!! That’s the experience they want! I know of a few GN programs around but they have no jobs available and some hospitals are on a hiring freeze. Hopefully it will turn around for all of us. Unill then we need to keep strong and moving forward!!!

  • Dolly Knickerbocker said on August 13th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I went back to school to go into nursing. I have an AS in nursing and a BA in anthropology, with lots of customer service experience. I passed my NCLEX in September 2009. I’ve tried everything to get the coveted hospital job. Finally in March 2010 I finally got a job in a nursing home/rehabilitation center. This is not what I want to nursing school for. I’m studying for the ACLS and just keep applying, and keep networking. Something has hit. I feel the same frustration that you do and will pray that we get jobs.

  • certified nursing assistant program said on August 18th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Something I suggest to those getting ready to start school is to consider beginning with a CNA program. Then start working as a CNA while taking classes to become a RN. This is a good way to start getting some experience.

  • chelita said on September 7th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    I graduated in May, 2010 with my ASN and have been working as a nurse extern care assistant for the past 10 months at Miami Children’s Hospital and I STILL can’t get a job. I’ve had three interviews there with no job offers. I’m a hardworker and get a long great with kids, I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I love working there and its heartbreaking that they won’t take me in as an RN. I’ve had no call backs from any other places and I’m seriously reaching my breaking point. I know i’m only 4 months out of school but a lot of students I graduated with already have jobs…my self esteem is oficially down in the dumps.

  • wanda said on October 4th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I was an LPN for 12 years and got more hospital experience than now with my RN for 4 years. What I am finding is that because my experience has been in nursing homes for the past 8 years hospitals won’t touch me. I have also found that hospitals and nursing homes give preferential treatment to new graduates because they can be “molded”, another way of sayin new nurses are generally more eager to please and are more willing to be worked to death. The world of nursing is a constant battle and you have to be strong to survive in it. People looking from the outside into our world think nurses are so sweet and sensitive when it is the opposite. Petty thinking, nepotism, and downright wrongness will sometimes keep you from not getting that job you are absolutely perfect for. I have considered leaving the field, but I have been doing this so long, it is in my blood. I love caring for people and it brings me great satisfaction to see my patients eyes light up at the sight of me because they know when I come on shift, they will get the best care I can possibly give. We nurses have a special place in heaven, cause we go through pure hell on earth.

  • Jean said on October 16th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    My experience with trying to get a new grad job here in Cincinnati is identical to everyone who has posted here. Graduating with an ADN in June, I passed my NCLEX in July and have applied for approximately 150 jobs (hospitals & nursing homes) and haven’t been able to get one single interview. I had a BS in Biology and was working PRN as an LPN in hospice throughout RN school. I’m now doing my BSN and I’ve listed this on my resume—still nothing! I really wish someone early in my nursing school adventure would have told me how awful the whole profession is….I could have switched to RT or OT and saved myself so much frustration and depression.

  • geewiz said on November 2nd, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I do not understand why anyone would post something negative toward the people on this site looking for support. Survival of the fittest? What are you talking about?! If you are not here to be supportive or give tips it would be appreciated if you would go elsewhere. I have applied at hopsitals, volunteer opportunities, CNA positions, non-liscensed positions, howe care, doctors offices, you name it. There are actually no less than 14 other interviews for one spot; even for a volunteer position. I feel beaten down and frustrated beyond belief. All I can say to anyone out there in the same position is to try to keep yourself together and be there for those you need to lean on while you continue to beat the street. Something will change. With the housingmarket slowly rebounding and the economy stabalizing, something will shift.

  • keith524 said on November 6th, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Prayer is the key that unlocks the door. This is a great place to vent, but we need to talk to GOD!

  • ging said on November 10th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I am having the same problem. They are hiring new grads over me (28 years of experience)in nursing homes. I don’t know about hospitals but I have applied and heard nothing. My ex husband died because he could not find a job. I am about to go into another field. I am sick of this.

  • Tina said on November 17th, 2010 at 3:29 pm


  • Tina said on November 17th, 2010 at 3:30 pm


  • Victoria said on November 22nd, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I graduated with my BSN this past spring and have had a lot of problems finding a job. I was an LPN in the Army for nearly 10 years. My husband is currently in the military and we moved right after I graduated. Coming to a new area, it has been very difficult, even though I live about 25 miles outside of Atlanta. I have applied at every hospital within my reach and have faxed resumes to doctors offices in my area. I am currently looking for volunteer positions and was told by the hospital there is a three month wait for that. I am going to write some proposals for medical offices that have same day surgery to work as an intern to gain experience. I don’t know what else to do. I am not giving up, but am starting to get a bit discouraged. If any of you have any other ideas, please let me know!

  • Victoria said on November 22nd, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    well never mind…I see I am not the only one. I have applied for PCT jobs too (they won’t hire you for that or anything else below your license). I am considering grad school, but really feel like I don’t have the experience for that.

  • Mia said on November 24th, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Who can help us? I think this is (wrong place at the wrong time). Shortage of nursing, hospitals has ?freeze? on new hires????? Ok, when they clear that ?freeze? thousands of nurses are going to be out of the school for one or more year, then what ?freeze? on those who are out of school and nursing job for over a year?

  • Jewel said on December 20th, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Hmm all this talk is getting me a tad bit worried.
    Currently I am going for my AAS degree in New York. Should I go for my BSN after? SHould I start volunteering now?

  • Shanell said on December 21st, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Im getting worried too..I got into a 12 month lpn program that starts in a few weeks. Its expensive and I dont want to spend all that money a month only to not get a job. Ive been considering joining the army and having them pay for my schooling. Or doing a CNA program, work and get my foot in the door that way.
    My best friend graduated with a BSN and it took her a few months but she got her job through a nursing association that she had joined while in school.

  • NurseJackie said on January 14th, 2011 at 6:09 am

    This has got to be theee most depressing site that I have EVER been on. I just signed my life away for a 50K program for the next 2 years and I just NOW find this site. I tried to search the internet for nursing jobs in California, WA, UT, NV, OR, AZ..they all state: “…1 year of Acute Care is required” and “EXPERIENCED RN NEEDED”. Just like everyone else on this board, I am frustrated by just reading these posts and I feel like I just wasted my time and money but there’s nothing that I can do about it because I am in my 2nd quarter and I don’t want to default on my loans. I spent the last 10 years organizing my life and the lives of my kids and husband just so I can go back to nursing school in hopes that I will have a job when I graduate. This really sucks BIG B@&!%$.

  • NurseLaura said on February 1st, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I graduated with my BSN in December of 2009. I have been applying ofr jobs since August of the year in hopes of getting a job before I graduated. It is now Feb 2011. I still do not have a job. I even had 6 interviews for one position and did not get it. For many of the positions I have interviewed for there are at least 30 GNs being interviewed. I don’t understand where the nursing shortage comes in to place when hospitals won’t hire.

  • lori coggin said on February 5th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I graduated as a LPN in August of 2008. I too have been looking for 2 years. I also am a CNA. I have not had any job offers and only a few interviews! I too wished I had known how hard it would be!

  • Carissa said on March 7th, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I graduated in 2009 with my AAS and have a prior BA in education. We moved shortly after grad and I acquired the license in the new state. I have applied for hundreds of jobs and am beginning to feel like I am not qualified since school is so long ago! What can I do? I need to work for financial reasons and am running out of ideas to get a nursing job. There is a nursing school here that cranks out nurses and breaking in is difficult with hosp on hiring freezes. Should I get BSN or is that throwing more money away?

  • Carissa said on March 7th, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Not that I can move or anything, but does anyone know where there is a nursing shortage??

  • John said on March 7th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I graduated in Dec. 2010. We moved to Denver b/c my wife got a great admin RN job here. I thought I would be able to find something since there are so many hospitals.Wow was I wrong. A few of thehospitals have”not hiring new grads” on every job. I have applied for about 30+ jobs in a week. I was turned down for one job within an hour. I have since been turned down for several other ones. I have previous EMS experience. I went to paramedic school also. Every website says the same thing – no new grad jobs. I am just going to go back to school and get my masters. I wounder if I will still have this problem with a higher degree. I will probably be an unemployed Nurse with a masters degree. Yeah I think it is stupid for hospitals not to hire new nurses. The current nurses won’t be around as long. Some new grads will also get fed up and do something else. All of this will contribute to the “nursing shortage”. Its a very short sighted view.

  • Anita said on March 20th, 2011 at 11:29 am

    John, I graduated in Dec. 2010 too, with a BSN. I also have another bachelor degree. I worked so hard in school and maintained my GPA 3.7 with Dean’s list honors. I also worked as a NA while I was in school, just to get some experience to make my resume look better. I got my RN license in Feb. Looking for jobs EVERY DAY and GOT NOTHING! I am so sick of looking for jobs and feel so frustrating that all my hard work in school didn’t get me anything. Now I am out of job because I couldn’t work as a NA under my RN license. It’s just RIDICULOUS!

  • Experienced RN said on March 23rd, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    It appears that many facilities do not want to put money into the new grad. They prefer to let the university hospitals with residency programs transition the new nurse into practice, then take advantage of their knowledge and experience down the line.

    Have any of the recruiters who are posting only experienced nurses need apply ever actually interviewed one? Rarely…working nurses who are pleased with their hard won seniority, salaries, benefits and location are not looking to change positions and start over in may cases.

    It is regrettable that the profession may lose 2+ years of new grads to non-nursing positions they must take to support themselves and their families and pay off student loans which are due. When the economy improves, these nurses will still be out of luck as they will have been away from the “nursing” too long.

    Wishing all are still searching,success in the hunt.

  • Ruth Doran said on March 30th, 2011 at 10:58 am

    To the person that said all you have to do is volunteer to get experience and then you can get a job. I volunteered 2 years in a hospital in the emergency room. I graduated last year and still no job.

  • Stella said on April 3rd, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Please help me i need a job am a nurse,with two years experience.tank you.

  • Stephanie said on April 4th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Been looking, applying, been to 8 job interviews & NOTHING!, i have just started applying for regular jobs now, just to make it!, very frustrating when you have experience as a nurse on a surgery floor also, what do they want these days??, somebody tell me please, i either have too much experience or not enough….

  • Tonia said on April 7th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    This is such a sad situation! Hope deferred, sickens the heart!

  • Stephanie said on April 8th, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I am gonna keep praying & eventually God will put me where he wants me to be in my nursing career, i have been a nurse for 16 years, & altho I’ve never had this much of a problem getting a job… eventually… i know a door will open, its all in Gods hands anyway…

  • John said on April 14th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Tell everyone you know don’t go to nursing school!!! Nobody will hire you. I wish I knew. 150+ job apps 5 states not one interview. I have started applying to non nursing jobs. I can’t wait around forever. I will probably never work as a nurse. What a waste of time.

  • Johnie said on May 3rd, 2011 at 11:18 am

    am a certified nurse assistant been working for 9 years and 8 months. and can,t find a job in nursing or no one is hiring me after putting in a lot application no one call now i been off work for about a year and some months i don,t wanna lose my c.n.a licences. i need a job.

  • Amy said on May 3rd, 2011 at 11:34 am

    It is a tough market out there, I just finished my BSN and I have another bachelor’s degree and it is next to impossible to find a job. Even University residency programs are ridiculously tough to get into, the one new grad program I applied to has 35 open spots and typically gets around 500 applications. So even with a killer GPA, Deans list, awards and memberships to all kinds of nursing associations, my chances are slim. I went into nursing for my second degree for the job security and abundance of jobs, I wish I knew then what I know now.

  • Rachel said on May 4th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Reading all these comments is making me kind of nervous. I’m currently in a BSN program but after reading all this, it’s making me wonder if I’m wasting my time. I’ll be praying for all of you that you will all find that perfect job. Don’t give up!

  • Mify said on May 23rd, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Being a foreign trained nurse is even the worst of the situation.i have been working for four years ,have a BSN and specialized in wound care before we relocated to the US.worked as a Tech while waitng to sit for Nclex exam exam,no recruiter wants you as they will always say they want american RN experience.I wont give up, must get a job soon

  • rise&overcomeRn said on May 30th, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Look… as nurses we will be dealing with challenges throughout our career. If you try to expand your thinking outside of the box, you’ll be able to count your blessing much easier. Believe me, I’m in the struggle to find an acute care position as well. I too chose to become an RN for the abundance of opportunity. Of course we couldn’t predict how the economy was going to effect us. Yet, as they say, most things that are good in life aren’t easy to obtain. Yeah I’ve been on the same emotional rollercoaster as many of you have. Really, I have no choice but to stay positive and work harder with making my impression on recruiters and managers. I graduated in December 2010 my ADN and have went directly into my BSN program. Eventhough I may need to put off my 2nd quarter to put all of my focus and energy into job hunting, I know that complaining about the economy and hiring freeze leans my attitude in the wrong way. I’ve learned to approach the dilemma with a fierce drive fueled by a persevering attitude. Fortunately, I passed a panel interview for a 12 week transition to practice this summer. Med/surg/ortho. It’s basically an unpaid internship leaving me still on the hunt. I pray something good will result, but if not, my outlook MUST remain optimistic. as for the comment opposing the “survival of the fittest” remark, yes it can be perceived as negative. Still, there’s much that can be accomplished with that type of mind state. good luck everyone. God bless!

  • Maria said on June 17th, 2011 at 3:28 am

    I recently graduated with an AAS degree in Dec 2010. I have applied to many hospitals in NJ without success. I have since started applying to nursing homes and home care agencies. I received one interview and was offered a per diem position with a home care agency that specializes in pediatric home care. So I am looking forward to gaining some experience there. In the meantime, I am currently volunteering for a clinic, looking to pursue my bachelors, getting as many certifications as I can afford (contact hrs will benefit when renewing nursing license, plus it looks good on resume), and just trying to remain hopeful…

  • Frustrated in S. Florida said on June 21st, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    My wife recently graduated from nursing school with honors, we thought that she’s going to find a job quickly, we have a lot of “friends” in the medical field, 15,17,20,30 year nurses and some of my clients are in management at some hospitals…in the three years that she was in school the promises of …’oh dont you worry I’ll get you a job “…from our “friends” were led us to believe it’s going to be ok…however 3 mos after graduation and all promises were broken…you realy find out who your friends are in time of need or when the s***t hit the fan…well…we’re still looking and getting frustrated by the day,in three months we have to start paying over $40k in student loans..were still hopefull she will get hired soon…

  • gio said on July 4th, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Wow deep down I’ve always wanted to be an RN. Guess ill be doing chemical engineering…/:

  • Mom with a broken heart said on July 13th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    It been 1 1 /2 years, my daugheter haven’t find a job, for 4 years she dedicated her time 24/7 to school 100% dedicated, I see her pain in her face even she try no to show,my heart hurts, like the song, “and at the end it doesn’t really matter” !

  • Mom with a broken heart said on July 13th, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I hope one day someone five my daughter a chance her name is Nina.

  • martin said on July 18th, 2011 at 4:05 am

    I you are lookin` for a internship as a nurse, just check that opportunity.

  • carol said on July 21st, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I am just going back to Nursing school. I did one year of it over 10 years ago but I had some family problems which prevented me from finishing. Now I am giving it another try and hope it works out (cross my fingers). I started thinking about if I couldn’t get a job around my area, that I would try out looking for a job at the neighboring state. As long as its not too far by plane, train or automobile then I think I would consider moving.

  • nursingjobopportunities said on July 22nd, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Hi. I’m also a new Rn, and still I am looking for a job and it troubled me because i can’t find any job. can you help me? because of hundreds and thousands RN here in my country it really takes time to find a job.

  • Darla said on August 7th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    The world of nursing is a constant battle and you have to be strong to survive in it. People looking from the outside into our world think nurses are so sweet and sensitive when it is the opposite. Petty thinking, nepotism, and downright wrongness will sometimes keep you from not getting that job you are absolutely perfect for.

    The story is the same in social work. Add age discrimination to the list.

  • Michele said on August 8th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Im like most the New Grads I have read comments from, I quit my job to finish nursing school 18 months ago, graduated as RN in May passed NCLEX July and have been appling to everything I can find and no response yet. Called the agency and they do not have any Nursing jobs and the places that have a position like the one I had before I quit turned me down because “they can not utilize me as an RN” I understand because I will keep looking for RN position. This is not how I planned my post graduate life to be VERY frustrated! But will keep LOOKing!

  • Pam said on August 15th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    I spent a lot of money getting my R.N. license and all through school, I was told that I would never want for a job again. Not true, I filled out numerous applications and have only received one interview. Then it seemed as if they already had someone in mind for the position. Was this an aweful joke about there being a nursing shortage?

  • Z said on September 14th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    To all of us RN’s who are having a hard time looking for a job after the hard work we did in school and all that, I salute you! There can nothing be as frustrating as knowing that you have a degree and worked hard for it and then not find a job!Worst, nobody will give us a chance how in the world can we start and get some experience!
    Then, last week I finally got a job offered me good money and benefits and all that, in a nursing home, I was sooo excited I thought this is the answer to my long prayers!NO! I started working and the nurse that trained me was HORRIBLE! yelled at me, embarrassed me several times, talked behind my back and worst accused me of something that I did not do!I thought wrong I told myself I can not quit because I needed the job and the experience, but no after my 2 days working 12 hrs with no break and did all the best I can she did not appreciated all I did because I was a newbee, she even said “your a newbee, your suppose to cry!”, I don’t think I deserve any of that, experienced nurses are suppose to help other nurses not discourage them, sad..but I’ll keep on searching till I find something that will fulfill my long time dream..
    we all have to keep trying,I know all of us deserve something better…Goodluck!

  • Mis Lead In Kentucky said on October 12th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I am in Kentucky and I too am having a hard time finding a job. Graduated in May of 2011, I have passed the NCLEX and nothing – a lot of “sorry position is filled” and “Did Not Meet Minimum Qualifications”. I was told prior to being admitted to nursing school that I would have no problem finding a job. I feel mislead by my school & specifically the Nursing program. They only care if you pass the NCLEX so that they do not lose their accreditation! They need bodies to flow threw like cattle being sent out to be slaughtered – just so that they can keep their job. They (Nursing School) do not care if you get a job, they only care you pass the NCLEX. I feel my time in school was a total waste. I put myself through hell, deeper in debt and I cannot get a job, I am 40 yrs old and have zero medical experience. I can’t even say my clinicals were experience – maybe if I was trying to get a CNA job. All I come across is needs experience, needs experience. I would tell people thinking of going to nursing school to be an RN get a job as a tech anywhere you can while in school or get a different degree because EVERYBODY is pouring it down peoples throats “Go to school and be an RN” – there is an overabundance of new nurses because it is dangled in front of everyone and people are ONLY going to school because they are told it is good $$$ – so you have people out there working right now that do not really want to be a nurse – they just want he $$$ and people that would be a good nurse cannot get a job. Some say get a job at Nursing home. I will work retail before that. I did my preceptorship in the ED. I took care of many residents from nursing homes – the condition these poor people that were brought in from those places was horrendous. I am not snubbing my nose – my expectation of these places are I will not be trained correctly and will be thrown out there putting my license in jeopardy.

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  • sharon said on November 18th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Thx for helping me to save yrs and $s for a field I aleady have yrs of medical experience and a background in the field. I will apply for a discarge on my loan that was a lie in the long term. I hope you can also. they told us the same lies 20 yrs a go. good luck you all. join another country (Arabia, Australia) its an issue as a traveling nurse as they have “experience” also, but believe me, they have been lying (schools, ext.) for a VERY long time….no matter WHAT icing you have.

  • Alexandra said on November 30th, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Hi everyone, I am a nursing student and I graduate in May with my BSN. I am very worried about not being able to find a job after graduation. I talked to a few of my teachers about this and they told me that even though the job application says “one year of experience required” that you should still apply. If no experienced nurses come to fill the position they will HAVE to hire a new grad! Just stay positive and keep going!

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  • Nikee said on December 26th, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    As I have read some of these responses, I can understand how frustrating it might be to get a job as a nurse. However as pre-nursing student as well as the others who have not graduated yet, I find it disappointing to see such a defeatest and misleading attitude towards getting a job as a nurse. I have been hearing this for a long time and I can only think that people have not considered the variations of each situation that make it look like nobody is hiring nurses. Experience and education have kind of been factored in, but what about networking, patient interaction experience, specialty areas etc. I was at another site where a woman said she couldn’t find a job but said she had seen postings to work nights but she didn’t want to. LOL I’m not trying to be facetious but how much effort are people putting it. These are like any other jobs you apply for, some jobs will just fall into some people’s lap while others have to work a little harder to get their foot in the door. In some areas/regions/states/locations, sitting at home hitting the submit button to jobs 30 times a day might not be enough, for others you may get sought out by recruiters without even trying. To me it’s a highly skilled profession and for some that wanted to get into the field because it’s in demand and you can make money and for others it is a passion. That is probably the difference in how jobs will perceive your resume, application packets your history and your experience. So what am I trying to say in all this rubbish..LOL I hope the newbies will be able to come along and not get discouraged. Do not alter or deter your plans based on someone elses experiences you never know what you will be blessed with. And for others. PLEASE try not to have a defeatest attitude. Keep trying keep applying keep networking it it’s your passion to service people, it will be pouring out of every inch of you from the time you apply to these jobs to when you get an interview. I can only imagine what the recruiters are getting on the other end. Keep your heads up guys I’m sure some of you by now have given up and some of you have gotten your big break for hanging in there.

  • big e said on December 27th, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    This is a complete joke! There is no new jobs out there for new grads! I have seen the books for hospitals and they want to use the nursing students as free labor! This is the big trick on us and it has to end someway. People please do not pay to precept. This only makes them laugh and you cant use the experince on a resume. Drop out of nursing school now cuz it might be til 2018 until you see a job. I know I sound crazy but this is the truth. I am sorry for what the system has done to you but I suggest you stop paying all your bills and tell the system to eat crow. These people who run the hospitals do not care about you nor your personal sacrifice to get to where your at. If your currently in nursing school, spread the word to drop out and find something different. Therapy and LVN are still doing well. The whole LVN scare was a B.S. tactic to pump up the nursing schools. If they have no students then they have to hire. No free labor.

  • nlytwyn14 said on January 6th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I am currently located in Houston,Texas and am about to graduate from an ADN program, all my friends and people I know who made it through an ADN program or BSN have landed jobs. May not of been the exact position they wanted or the shifts they dreamed of working, but they did get jobs *(in hospitals). I just landed an LVN position with no experience. It wasnt easy and took a lot of work to find the job im at now, but you have to talk with people in you know who you went to school with or who may be in the health care field, and see if they can help get you in. Internships are great at well, thats where most grads find jobs. In this career, YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT. You will land that job you want, maybe not right away, but I believe if you stay positive, good things will come.

  • nyc rnstudent said on January 9th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    My prayers are with all of you. I experienced the same issues you have here in nyc. I am an LPN with 7 months home care exp and studying for my AAS RN. Beginning to feel this was all a LIE. Schools are a business, and like all businesses, they are in business to make $$$$. I have applied to every hospital, nursing home, rehab center, and home care agency. i was fortunate to get a job with NY Health Care, Inc.(, contact: Sylvia Aulita, as a visiting nurse, but it has since dried up thanks to Medicare cuts.I applied to Kings Harbor Multicare Center (, 718-320-0400), which DOES hire new grad LPNs and RNs, but be prepared to receive the worst schedules, the least respect,a 60:1 patient nurse ratio, and no support to go back to school for your BSN, MSN, etc….an earlier post suggested becoming a care tech( with phlebotomy, EKG, etc) and/or applying for intern/externships. That’s my game plan for now, praying that it works. Much success to us all.

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