Graduation: What Happens Next?



It’s no secret that nurses are in high demand in today’s health care job market. As a nurse who is considering earning your BSN degree, you likely understand that increased employability is one of the benefits of going back to school. However, jobs don’t just fall in your lap, no matter what degree you have. Even though there is a nurse shortage in hospitals, clinics and health organizations across the country, you still need to have a plan that will help you get the job you want after graduation. The hiring process in the nursing field is complex, and it’s important to know what employers are looking for. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to nursing employment and what you can do to find the job that’s right for you.

New Nursing Grads by the Numbers
According to a survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN), nursing graduates have an average job offer rate of 57 percent at the time of graduation. This means that many students are in their new positions as soon as they are finished with their degree. In terms of job offers for graduates that have been out of school for 4 to 6 months, the job offer rate is even higher at 88 percent. Some regional variation exists, but these numbers are representative. All of this means that you don’t need to worry about getting a better job after graduating with your BSN, but getting the job you want is all about meeting the expectations of employers.

The AACN survey found that nurses with their BSN are “linked to better patient outcomes, including lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates.” Almost 40 percent of hospitals and other health care settings, therefore, are requiring new hires to hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This number is up 9 percent since 2011. Another 77 percent of employers have a strong preference for BSN program graduates. This is great news for you because it means that your hard work will be recognized in the job market, providing you with a significant return on investment. As the AACN report states, “Clearly, healthcare settings nationwide are seeing a difference in nursing practice based on the level of education.” In terms of getting the job you want, holding a bachelor’s degree is the best place to start.

Getting Hired
Aside from being a qualified candidate with both a strong educational background and on-the-job experience as a registered nurse, there are some strategies that can help give you an edge when it comes to the hiring process. The first, and probably most important, way to make a good impression is to have a professional resume. Update it so that it reflects all your current experience and your new BSN degree.  You should also tailor your resume to the job for which you are applying. There are several ways to do this, including highlight the talents and skills you have that are most closely related to the position you want. Your resume is the most important way to market yourself, so taking the time to make it as professional as possible is a great way to get interviews.

When it’s time for an actual interview, concentrate on how you present yourself. Show that you have the basic fundamental nursing knowledge that is needed in any nursing position, but note that employers are also looking for nurses with certain personal qualities. Aside from bedside manner, hospitals and other health organizations want nurses with compassion, flexibility, communication skills and accountability. While you are being interviewed, talk about specific instances where you’ve used these skills. Also take the time to learn about the employer, facility and culture where you are applying. Have some questions ready to ask your interviewer, as this shows your interest. It’s usually not a good idea to wear scrubs to an interview either, so invest in a few business casual pieces if you can. Don’t be afraid to mention any specializations you have, as they are appealing to many health employers. Overall, preparation is key when it comes to any job interview. Be ready to talk about your experience and your career goals.

No matter what your specific career goals may be, we are ready to help you get there. NDC’s accredited RN to BSN program is affordable, accelerated and flexible to get you on the fast track to the job you want. You’ll be prepared to work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, schools, public health institutions and other community organizations. Our degree program allows you to develop your nursing knowledge and skills, and apply them to your ideal nursing career.