Nurse Leaders: Step Up

Congratulations to the graduating nursing classes of 2012!

I wondered what the job market would be like for my new colleagues, so I started looking at the openings for registered nurses on the west coast.

Three metropolitan areas: Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.

There are a lot of nurses needed!

Emergency, labor and delivery, peri-operative, med-surg, critical care, case management, hospice, home health…there is no shortage of available jobs!

There is, however, a definite shortage of of nursing leaders who are willing to step up and invest in the next generation of nursing.

I’m not talking about nurse educators or clinical nurses on the front lines who are willing to precept students, although granted, we need more of them.

I’m talking about nurse leaders in the field. Nursing managers. The ones who have the hiring power. The ones who can choose to hire newly licensed Registered Nurses.

Where are you?

And why aren’t you hiring newly graduated registered nurses?

When I heard new graduates talk about how hard it was to find a job, I thought it was because there were no open positions in acute care hospitals. That they were precious, and few and far between.


My searches would bring up 10 or more open positions in hospital after hospital, but here was the clincher: experience required. Experience preferred. One, two, three years.

And so the position sits open, when newly licensed RNs are praying for work.

Everyone can’t pass off the development of our next generation of colleagues to “someone else”. Everyone can’t just figure all these new nurses will go and get their experience “somewhere else”.

Nurse managers are supposed to be nurse leaders. Doesn’t it make sense to lead the future of the profession and invest in the future of your department by hiring and developing new graduate nurses?

What does it say about our profession that our newest colleagues are hurting for work while positions sit open because no one is willing to hire them?

It isn’t flattering.

And it can be rectified.

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One Response to Nurse Leaders: Step Up

  1. …easy one….new grads are a liability. any mistakes–if any of those fall on the serious adverse events list the hospital is responsible for the costs associated with that hospitaliization. this is representative of a trend in nursing that has only begun to get worse—corporations are trying to minimize their costs, and that includes paying close attention to risk management. im not saying new grads are irresponsible or dumb–that isnt my point–my point is that there has been a shift of focus from making sure there are enough nurses to care for the higher acuity baby boomers to one of cost containment–so in essence the corporations have once again thwarted our profession’s ability to grow and evolve. you want to know where the nurse leaders are? those nurse managers have their primary allegiance to the marching orders that the organization has issued to them. the profession of nursing and its growth and health is no longer priority #1. when one becomes a nurse manager the organization “tells you” what you “will and will not care about.” Their priorities are now the nurse managers priorities—regardless of how much it is hurting our profession. it makes me sad, because when i see phrases like the ones above: “experience preferred, 1-2 years experience” it tells me all I need to know about the priorities of that organization—its protecting its financial interests. On the flip side, organizations toss way seasoned highly educated nurses for not “drinking their water.” Id much rather be an advanced degreed nurse *outside* of a hospital than in. For the first time in my career I feel liberated to say what I want to say, to teach what I want to teach, to branch out and create ways to positively impact my profession and the future generations…..for now its blogging and writing a book……and I hope when my ridiculous reality shifts back to normal…that my nurse advocacy business will get off the ground. I wish I had learned sooner what the real priorities were before I began my career with hospital nursing….I feel like I cold have grown so much more by now had I made a different choice of work venue……