There is an underlying problem causing the nursing shortage that has not been entirely addressed.  So the question is, “Is the shortage created due to the amount of available nurses or is there a shortage of experienced nurses?” Long Island is flooded with new nurses, every fall and spring a new class of nurse graduates have successfully passed their academic requirements followed by the NCLEX exam.

Navigating your first year in nursing can be a bumpy road. If you didn’t already have any healthcare experience such as CNA or medical assistant, getting your first RN job at a hospital can be next to impossible.  If you graduated with your BSN, then you may get a few hospital interviews but it will be difficult to answer clinical questions such as, “what would you do if….?”  So the question remains, what can the first year nurse do to get that coveted one-year experience to land that hospital job.

I went to a hospital interview and had the pleasure to speaking with the director of nursing.  She gave me vital information that others never shared.  I was told in nursing school that nursing homes would never be considered experience because clients went there to live out their final days and the care provided is not at the hospital level.  However, modern times dictates that now several nursing homes are equipped to receive and care for patients on a subacute level.  Many treatments and medications are those that are given in a hospital. Equally so, are home care positions.  More and more clients are being release to their home with equipment such as the Jackson-Pratt for drainage or other devices that require a medical professional to address. So it is possible to get real clinical experience before applying for the hospital job.  As a new nurse, look at all the options there are out there for you so you can gain the experience you need to get to the specialty of your choice. This was valuable information on what hospitals are looking at when choosing a candidate.

Another point. The industry has been driven by Magnet Status.  Magnet Status is an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center to hospitals that meet the criteria designed to measure the strength and quality of their nurses.  A Magnet hospital is known for their excellence in nursing and patient outcomes. The nursing staff has a high level of job satisfaction, low staff nurse turnover rate and appropriate grievance resolution. Magnet status also includes nursing involvement in data collection and decision-making in patient care delivery. Magnet nursing leaders value staff nurses, involve them in research-based nursing practice, and encourage and reward the nursing staff to advance in nursing practice.  The BSN in nursing has become an unwritten part of this process as well.  BSN degree offers extensive academic work on nursing leadership and excellence.  Even though hospitals like to hire individuals that already have their BSN in place, some will consider hiring those with their Associates with the understanding you will be on track within a certain amount of time to obtain your BSN in nursing.

In conclusion, the shortage in nursing is not the amount of nurses available but, the lack of experience the candidate possesses. So be open minded and look into other areas of nursing so you can set yourself up for success.



Tracy lives on Long Island and was inspired to became a registered nurse in 2013 after her son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. She is a substitute school nurse but her specialty is performing assessments for clients requiring long term care. Tracy previously was a journalist for a small paper covering the local government news and has now merged her love of medicine and writing.

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