Over the past few months, I have received numerous calls from new RN colleagues wanting to attend our infusion training programs so they can get a job. As more calls come in, one thing became obvious, the new RN’s don’t get hired because they lack the clinical experience and in most cases, don’t have the experience in IV insertion and central venous access care and management required by hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Perhaps it is true that hospitals are not hiring new RN’s who don’t have the clinical experience but don’t new RN’s usually take entry level nursing jobs so they can acquire the clinical experience? What happened to the nursing shortage predicted because of the aging population of the nursing workforce? This situation was difficult for me to understand. As a nurse, I have always viewed my profession as recession proof job but recent economic downturn has forced many hospitals to cut back on hiring nursing positions, hiring only experienced nurses to cut back on training time and expenses. Many nurses nearing retirement age have put off that decision for a few more years and many part time nurses are working more shifts to supplement their family’s income. There are certain areas of the country where hospitals do hire new graduates but only in limited numbers. Although economists and labor forecasters predict that the economic conditions won’t last and the demand for nurses long term remains critical, what do new RN graduates do now?
I must give credit to the new RN graduates wishing to increase their knowledge base in infusion nursing and vascular access. I hate to break the bad news to them but having just the knowledge doesn’t equate to having the experience and skills required to get them hired. So where will they get the experience to start IV’s in real patients, learn to assess patients to determine the appropriate venous access, develop critical thinking to manage patients receiving infusions of innovative medications as well as troubleshoot complications associated with vascular access? While hospitals are in hiring freeze, there are still nursing jobs available at many long term care facilities and local health clinics where infusion services are offered. But what’s holding our younger nursing colleagues back is that these facilities are less attractive than working at hospitals. Not an easy choice to make for a generation that’s used to immediate gratification. My advice is don’t give up, keep an open mind, and take the opportunity where it exists.