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.