I Can’t Find a Job as a New Grad Nurse: What to Do?

a nurse looking for a job

If you can’t find a job as a new grad nurse before you start panicking, I want you to realize you do have options.

Unfortunately, depending on your situation, you’re probably not going to like all the options available to you.

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What to Do If I Can’t Find a Job as a New Grad Nurse?

If you’re having a hard time getting a job after nursing school, you need to check your network (nursing school professors, friends, family members, etc.) to see if they have any leads. If all else fails, you might need to consider nursing specialties you might not be fond of or relocating.

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

Tips For When You Can’t Find a Job After Your Nursing Program

1. Check Your Professional Network

a student with professor

Checking your professional network works really well if you’ve been able to build and nurture relationships.

Here’s what you need to do.

Reach out to your nursing professors and see if they have any advice. Many nursing faculty members are connected to the community, and so they probably hear things you might not.

See if they’ll put in a good word for you to a hiring manager in a hospital. You’d be surprised at how well word of mouth works especially if it’s a nursing faculty member.

Pro-Tip
For obvious reasons, if you were not a very good student, this will not work as well.

This tip also tends to work better if it’s a nursing faculty member you’ve built a relationship with.

This should go without saying, but don’t ask a faculty member you don’t have a good relationship with or doesn’t like you to put in a good word for you.

Do you know any family members who work in healthcare or know people who work in healthcare?

Reach out to them.

Pro-Tip
The point of this is that if you’re looking for a job, you need to make sure everybody in your circle knows.

2. Consider Other Nursing Specialities

different nurse specialties and types

Unfortunately, you might have to choose another nursing specialty if you’ve had your heart set on working in that specialty ICU unit, the NICU, or the ER.

Many of these nursing specialties sought out by new grad nurses can be very competitive to get into, and at the end of the day, not everyone is going to get their pick.

My suggestion would be to pick another nursing specialty, so you at least have something.

Then maybe a year or two later, after having some experience under your belt, try to see if you can get into that specialty unit.

This time you’ll have a couple of things going for you:

  • You’ll have nursing experience.
  • You’ll be less anxious because you already have a job.

3. Consider Relocating

If you’re so set on a particular specialty or the job market is tough in your area for new nurses, you might have to consider relocating to another area of the country.

Maybe even just to another area of the state or city you live in. This is especially true if you fall into these camps:

  • You live in a small town with very few employment options.
  • You live in a big city (or a highly desirable area), and too many people are there, making the job market very competitive.

Related: 5 Best Jobs for New Nurses

Key Takeaways

Don’t give up!

I know the nursing market can be very competitive in some markets, but you can eventually get your first nursing job.

You just might have to get a little creative to get that dream job you want.

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

Have You Read These?

Frequently Asked Questions

Depending on where you live and how competitive the market is, getting hired as a new grad nurse can be very hard.

Nurses that live in small towns or that live in highly desirable areas (where everyone wants to live) may find that it’s difficult to find employment.