Nursing grads in California may get a rude awakening

According to a recent survey, over 40% of newly licensed RNs in California are without work. You may be thinking, “Isn’t there a nursing shortage?” By all accounts, that is still the case. Yet, a lack of clinical experience may be hindering both recent grads and the hospitals that might otherwise hire them.

In association with the California Board of Registered Nursing, California Student Nurses Association, Association of California Nurse Leaders, and the UCLA School of Nursing, the California Institute for Nursing & Health Care disseminated the survey to 7,890 California-licensed nurses between April 2010 and August 2011. (Almost 16,000 nurses became licensed in the state during that same period.)

Notably, only 1,492 nurses, or 19%, responded to the survey. The vast majority of respondents—92%—said they could not find a job due to lack of experience. Thirty-one percent said it took six months or more to find a job. Among those gainfully employed, only 77% work full time. Other respondent statistics of mention: 87% were female, 57% were 29 years old or younger, 49% were Caucasian, 16% were Filipino, 13% were Hispanic, and 4% were African American.

However, Marketwatch, in its covering of the story, says the result may not be fully indicative of the nurse hiring situation in California, as unemployed nurses might have been more likely to participate.