Nursing Notes

December 22, 2009

Job-hunting is a headache even in health care

Below is an interesting article that I have seen repeated numerous times.  New graduate nurses who are not having any luck finding a job due to lack of experience or just the sheer number of applicants for a few jobs.  This is a real problem for someone who just spent years and quite a lot of money to get a degree and a license.  What may be the problem is the fact that certain areas of the nation are saturated or certain specialty areas are saturated.

I know that when I went to nursing school, I had my heart set on a specific specialty; so did most of my classmates.  However, I spoke with several older RN’s about finding jobs after school and they gave me really good advice.  They told me to go where the job takes me, even if that is not my area of interest.  Their reasoning was that any work in the nursing field is useful and helps you build your foundation of knowledge.  Once you are a seasoned nurse, you will then have your pick of specialty areas to move into.

I originally had planned to take this sage advice, but at the very last moment, my dream job simply fell into my lap.  I took it and have never looked back.  Now, 20 years later, I see that I could have done it differently, but I would still have ended up where I am.  So, my advice to all the newly graduated nurses out there is to simply find a job nursing. Once you get experience as a nurse, you can specialize in any field you want.

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By Drew DeSilver

Seattle Times business reporter

During this long, grueling recession, which already has chewed up and spit out 166,500 Washington jobs, the health-care sector has been one of the few bright spots — steadily adding jobs even as the rest of the state’s economy shrank.

Health care did it again last month, according to the monthly report released Tuesday by the state Employment Security Department.

The sector, which includes hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ offices as well as social assistance, gained 900 jobs in November, even as the state as a whole lost a seasonally adjusted 4,800 jobs.

But even in a relatively strong industry, jobs can be tough to find, as Shawn Saline, of Seattle, has discovered.

After several years out of the work force, Saline, 43, graduated from Shoreline Community College’s registered-nursing program in June. Once her two kids went back to school this fall, she started seriously looking for a nursing job.

The result: a one-day-a-week slot as a fill-in nurse and a bunch of rejected applications.

Saline said that even while she was in nursing school, she’d heard that opportunities for new nurses were tightening, due to the expense of training and the number of experienced nurses either staying in their jobs longer or returning to the work force.

“They don’t have the budget to train new nurses,” she said. “The people who are getting hired are people who’ve worked in that organization, on that floor, during nursing school.”

At one hospital, Saline said, 150 people applied for eight nursing positions. She interviewed at another hospital where she was competing against 100 others for a single job.

Several of the 30-odd new nurses in her graduating class are working temporary jobs this winter at flu-shot clinics.

Not counted

Because she is working part time, Saline is not counted among the 321,280 Washingtonians officially considered unemployed — 105,190 more than in November 2008.

(The jobless data come from a monthly survey of households — not, as is sometimes thought, by counting the number of people getting unemployment benefits.)

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Washington fell to 9.2 percent in November, from 9.3 percent a month earlier, the state reported. The jobless rate in the Seattle metro area also fell, to 8.6 percent from 9.2 percent in October.

Some of that decline was due to people dropping out of the labor force because they went back to school, or are sick or they’re tired of job hunting. Almost 44,000 Washingtonians have left the labor force since September.

Including part-time workers who’d rather have full-time positions, people too discouraged to hunt and other “marginally attached” workers would add about 6.7 percentage points to Washington’s official unemployment rate, according to estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The recession has taken a heavy toll on working Washington. Since nonfarm payrolls peaked in February 2008, they’ve shrunk by 166,500 jobs — a decline of 5.6 percent.

Although most of the state’s major employment sectors have lost jobs, the hardest-hit have been construction and manufacturing.

Construction, which boomed along with home prices, has cratered since that bubble popped. Since February 2008, 55,800 construction jobs in Washington have evaporated — more than a quarter of the peak payroll.

Durable-goods manufacturing has fallen by 31,500 jobs, or 14.5 percent. And there likely will be more cuts before the sector turns around.

In the summer, furniture maker Herman Miller announced it would close its Brandrud subsidiary in Auburn, which specialized in furnishings for hospital waiting rooms and patient rooms.

Herman Miller is moving the work to a unit in Sheboygan, Wis. The first of what eventually will be 104 layoffs came earlier this month.

Bad news

Joel Gragg, Brandrud’s marketing coordinator, has been with the company since graduating from Washington State University three years ago. Now 25, he’s facing his first layoff; he was told he’ll be let go in February.

Gragg said he’s begun gathering references and updating his résumé but will wait until he’s let go to actively start looking for a new job.

Until then, he said, knowing his termination date has placed him in a kind of limbo.

“I’m at the point where I just want February to be here,” he said. “I just want to be done with it and move on to the next thing.”

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or ddesilver@seattletimes.com

You can read the original article here

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1 Comment »

  1. […] the rest here:  Job-hunting is a headache even in health care « Nursing Notes By admin | category: WASHINGTON STATE University | tags: brandrud, chemical-engineer, […]

    Pingback by Job-hunting is a headache even in health care « Nursing Notes economic university — December 22, 2009 @ 7:17 am | Reply


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