New grads need not apply: Demand for nurses passes newcomers by

Nurses are in high demand in the healthcare industry--but only if they have experience, according to an article in Comstock's.

Acute care hospitals want nurses with at least two years of experience, Robyn Nelson, dean of the College of Nursing for West Coast University in Irvine, California, told Comstock's. As a result, recent grads have had little success finding jobs. 

"You can't staff a hospital with all brand new graduates," Nelson told the publication.

It's not uncommon for recent graduates to wait six months or more to be hired for a job in a local hospital, the article reports. Some graduates have left for other states or areas with less competition. It's a "Catch-22," Carrie Guerra, a recent Sierra College nursing graduate, told the publication. "You can't go anywhere to get experience because no one will hire you without experience."

Indeed, nursing jobs are frequently cited as among the most in-demand professions, but the reality is more complex, FierceHealthcare previously reported. The ease of obtaining a job varies by region, with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reporting that in 2013, nursing schools in the South had a 68 percent job offer rate for graduates, compared to 59 percent in the Midwest, 50 percent in the Northeast and 47 percent in the West.

On the education side, one way to fix the skills gap is connecting students to industry resources sooner, Comstock's reports. Some new programs train potential nurses through simulations and externships at major healthcare organizations. For example, the Los Rios Community College District partnered with Sutter Health to develop an accelerated nursing program, according to the article. Sutter invested $17 million to launch the program, which allows nursing students at Sacramento City College and American River College to receive hands-on experience at the Sutter Center for Health Professions.

As the demand for nurses increases amid rising patient numbers, aging baby boomers and more individuals covered under healthcare reform, the United States will need to produce 1.1 million new RNs by 2022 to fill jobs and replace retirees, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Therefore, hospitals and healthcare facilities must do their best to recruit and retain good nurses by creating an atmosphere that appreciates nurses and offers advancement opportunities.

To learn more:
- read the article 

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