Straw Poll Results Are In

November 18

It is the year of straw polls, debates, promises and wishful thinking. In honor of the times, I decided to do my own straw poll to evaluate the frustrated new graduate RNs that are still finding it rather difficult to obtain jobs. We have heard the “shortage” word for many years and know the forecast of the shortages ahead. Yet, if you share those numbers with new graduates—they would have a hard time believing it.

Recently, I sent out a very simple 4-question survey to 20 recruiters that I know from around the country. Simple, quick and good information for this article! Responses came in from the West, Midwest, South, Southeast and the Northeast. Although straw poll results certainly aren’t statistically valid, the results definitely yielded some promising answers and hope for the new graduates of the future.

The first question I asked was, “Regarding your New Graduate RN hiring plans for 2012, will you see an increase, same amount or decrease in the number of new graduates hired?” Luckily, there were zero responses that reported a decrease; 67% reported the same plans for 2012 while 33% reported a definite increase in new grad hiring.

The second straw poll question asked if new graduate training programs would be available in 2012. While 80% said definitely yes, the other 20% reported that they will hire new graduates but don’t have a formalized new graduate program. These organizations offer the training on an “as needed” basis.

Question #3 requested information about, “How many RN new graduate programs will you offer in 2012? One, two or three or more?” Forty-seven percent reported they would be offering three or more new grad programs with one respondent reporting eight for 2012. Twenty-seven percent reported two programs per year, 13% only one and 13% on an “as needed” basis.

The last question asked the respondents to estimate the number of new graduate RNs they plan to hire in 2012. A total of 14 respondents were able to report an actual number (the rest were not sure) and those numbers ranged from a low of 20 to a high of 400+. In just these 14 facilities that were able to share a new grad number, they reported a total of 1,617 new graduate jobs for 2012.

In order to have a frame of reference on RN new graduates in the United States, the 2010 Annual Report from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing reports some interesting figures. In FY10, there were 140,610 first time, U.S. educated new graduates that took the NCLEX-RN examination while 123,112 (or 87.6%) passed. This new graduate total is broken down further with BSN graduates totaling 55,081 testing and a pass rate of 88.9%, 81,665 ADNs with an 86.6% pass rate and 3,756 diploma grads boasting an 89.6% pass rate.

Although the straw poll numbers reported some decent information and trending for the future, in the meantime, one only needs to read the nursing blogs and articles to really understand the new graduate frustration. There are mentions of no return phone calls, dead space, black holes and one graduate reporting having sent over 100 applications, which yielded her one interview.

Diane Mancino, the Executive Director of NSNA, reported 2010 findings in an article titled, “Invest Now to Keep the Pipeline Primed.” New graduates reported such issues as hiring freezes, organizations wanting only experienced RNs, discontinuing new grad training programs, use of travelers and older RNs not retiring as just a few of the reported issues that the new graduate experiences. In an August 2010 questionnaire, the NSNA new graduate members were asked if they had accepted an RN position. Fifty-four percent reported yes while 46% reported no. Even though some of the new graduates that were still not employed had not tried to find a job yet (6%), were waiting until they passed NCLEX (13%) or were having difficulty finding a job in the specialty they wanted (18%), the remainder – 63% - stated that there just weren’t any jobs for new graduates in their area.

HR professionals can truly make a difference to this group of new graduate professionals. Although everyone understands time constraints, the recruiters that take the time to call people back and offer support and suggestions are the recruiters that will win in the future. New graduates remember the company whose recruiters treated them well during a down economy and loyalty to your organization can be nourished during this time. The times are changing but not fast enough for this group. You make a difference to this group of new professionals that are doing the best they can to land their first professional job.

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