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The Nursing Shortage Myth is Really Discrimination toward Non-Experienced Nurses

Holly Hicks,

The Nursing Shortage Myth is Really Discrimination toward Non-Experienced Nurses

Why is it so hard for new nurses to find employment? Nursing can offer a career that is both personally and financially rewarding. For several years it has been reported that there is a shortage of nurses. With the number of registered and licensed nurses becoming qualified to work, this report seems to be a huge myth. It has been proven that there are ample nurses available to fill positions. Forty three percent of newly-licensed RNs have trouble finding jobs within 18 months. Employers just are not hiring these available nurses, but are calling it a shortage because the new nurses do not meet their requirements, or preferences for employment.

A leading nursing education and career portal, has conducted a survey that predicts that 62 % of newly graduated nurses will have trouble finding jobs in the next year. Sadly, despite qualifications, many nurses that have only been registered or licensed two years or less will have trouble finding a full time job or will not even be working in the nursing field at all.

The so-called, “shortage”, is in fact not a shortage at all, but a myth that is based on employer’s preference and exclusively seeking experienced nurses. Most job listings for nursing positions specifically state no interest in non-experienced nurses. Some hospitals and other employers openly discourage new RNs from applying for jobs, a new nurse may find this quite discouraging. So, no matter how studious or overachieving he or she may have been in nursing school, the search for full time employment is bleak; and one may have to accept part-time, PRN, or even work completely unrelated to the nursing field. A new nurse may find his or herself in a cycle of seeking a job, but not being able to be hired because of lack of experience, which makes it very hard to establish a starting point in his or her career. The issue is that there is a large number of nurses and small demand for newer, inexperienced nurses.

This information is contradicted by the US government Bureau of Labor and Statistics in a study conducted in 2010. It was stated by the BLS that registered nurses are at the top of the list as far as employment growth is concerned. As stated by David Williams of, “Shortfalls in the hundreds of thousands of nurses are routinely predicted. These predictions have been good for nursing schools, which have used the promise of ample employment opportunities to more than double the number of nursing students over the last 10 years.”

In America, the patient-nurse ratio can be 8:1, which can become quite strenuous to a nursing staff member that works traditional 12 hour shift. The number of new nurses seeking employment is vastly increasing. Where is the disconnect here? It has been made evident that employers should conduct thorough orientation, training, and preceptor-ship if they are not yet confident with a new, inexperienced nurse. These adjustments alone may help relieve the nursing shortage that we all have so often heard of, and subsequent caregiver strain that many working nurses experience daily. Something as simple as on-the-job training and evaluation may be the best solution; but are employers willing to take out the time, dedication, and funds to monitor these new employees? It seems that this would be a win-win-win situation for unemployed nurses, employed nurses, as well as patients and their families.



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