Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify the findings of the two studies.
Nurses certified in 2004-2005 believed there were more job opportunities and they were more likely to find jobs than nurses who graduated in 2010-2011, a comparison study of the two groups found.
Researchers from New York University and the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo) working on the RN Network Project compared surveys from two sets of nurses that graduated six years apart and found nurses licensed in 2010-2011 were less likely to work in a hospital than those licensed in 2004-2005, and were more likely to work part-time.
While most newly licensed nurses begin their nursing careers in hospitals, the number of nurses that reported working in a hospital dropped from 88.8 percent in the 2004-2005 class to 77.4 percent among those certified in 2010-2011, according to an announcement about the study from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
In some cases there are limited openings for recent graduates, researcher Christine Kovner, Ph.D., R.N., an NYU nursing professor, and her team deduced.
"Those nurses who we thought would retire have not done so," which could be due to factors like the economic downturn or simply a tendency among baby boomers to work longer, Kovner wrote in an email to Washington Square News.
Many nurses choose to stay in the job market because of the poor economy, with many recent retirees staying on to work per diem, according to the WSN article.
"We are still living in a world where the Great Recession has a huge decrease on healthcare demand," study co-author Carol Brewer, Ph.D., R.N., a nursing professor at SUNY-Buffalo, told the publication.
However, full-time nurses who move into part-time positions will allow newly licensed nurses to get a foot in the door, leaving current student optimistic about the future of their profession.
Fifty-nine percent of new graduates from bachelor's nursing programs had job offers at the time of graduation, and 89 percent of new bachelor's degree graduates had a nursing jobs within four to six months of graduation, FierceHealthcare previously reported.