I’m a new LPN graduate, and I can’t find a job. Did I make a mistake by getting into nursing?

By | 2022-02-23T14:31:50-05:00 December 18th, 2012|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I’m a new LPN graduate. This is my second career, and I was so thrilled to go to nursing school. Fortunately I was able to stop working so I could go to school full time. I worked very hard and excelled. I’m ready to work, and I’ve been pounding the pavements for nearly three months now with no luck. I interview well and have more than 10 years in the medical field as a CNA, patient advocate and caregiver, but I’m still considered new. I’m now doing volunteer work with a hospice agency and at a local clinic. They’re happy to have me because I work hard and they don’t have to pay me. The problem is I really do need a job. Have I just made the biggest mistake in my life by getting into nursing? I hope not, because this is where my heart is. Any suggestions?

Unemployed New LPN

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Unemployed New LPN,

It is taking new nurses a little longer to find work these days than in the past. Also, the job market has become much more competitive for all nurses. Please read “New nurse, new strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

Beyond the reasons for the tight job market mentioned in this article, jobs for nurses are shifting out of the hospital into alternative inpatient settings, the community, ambulatory care and the home. You don’t mention where you have been looking for work, but you likely need to expand your search.

Your volunteer work is excellent, and that will serve you well. Not only are you gaining valuable experience and expanding your professional network, but volunteering also often leads to paid employment.

Because networking is well-known to be a very effective way to find and get a job under any circumstances, you should be actively attending nursing association meetings in your area. See if the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (www.nflpn.org) has a chapter near you. You also should attend meetings of a local chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org) as a guest. Some chapters of the ANA have special subgroups for LPNs. When there’s something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing that thing.

Beyond all this, the job market for nurses always has been cyclical. We have seen excesses and shortages over the years, but all indicators are that the need for nurses will continue to grow. So you didn’t make a mistake at all, you just entered the profession at a particularly challenging time. But I’m confident you will find something suitable with a little more time and effort invested in applying all of the tips and advice I have provided, including those in the referenced article.

Best wishes,


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