Is working in a nursing home a good start for a new graduate RN? How can a new graduate RN find a job?

By | 2022-02-21T17:45:03-05:00 October 28th, 2014|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

Is working in a nursing home a good start for a new graduate RN? Friends who work as nurses at these facilities tell me they are overwhelmed and have 20 patients at one time. I have no experience so I am having a really hard time finding a job and I desperately need work. I have applied for a position as a substitute for a school nurse, but I need full-time employment.

Wondering About Nursing Home Employment

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wondering About Nursing Home Employment,

Every nursing home is very different in terms of staffing, working conditions, orientation and support for new nurses. So I can’t tell you that environment is universally good or bad. It much depends on the individual employer.

When you say you have no experience, no new nurse has nursing experience. When hospitals say they want experience, they are in essence saying they aren’t hiring new nurses right now, which is a national trend. So don’t take it personally. Read “New nurse, new job strategies” ( to learn how to find a job.

You don’t mention what methods you’re using to look for jobs, but as the above-referenced article indicates, you have to be very proactive in a competitive and changing job market. One way to do it is to join and become active in some nursing associations such as the American Nurses Association
( or any specialty association you may be interested in. You can even attend local meetings as a guest. Especially as a new nurse, it is vital you immerse yourself in the community of nursing for support and ongoing learning. And networking is known to be a very effective way to find and get a job. When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those currently doing it.

Because you are unemployed, start volunteering as a nurse in a healthcare setting while you continue to look for paid employment. Volunteering is a great way to gain some recent relevant experience, expand your professional network and put the knowledge and skills acquired in nursing school into practice. It also is a way to get a foot in the door somewhere and often leads to paid employment. Contact your local public health department (they may need nurses to give flu shots this time of year), a blood bank, free clinic or hospice. It is important to have nursing liability insurance even as a
nurse volunteer.

Look for employment in outpatient hemodialysis, cancer care centers, home-care companies that precept new nurses and large medical practices. Care is shifting out of the hospital and into the ambulatory care setting anyway so you’ll be ahead of the game. Read “Refocus your career lens” ( for additional insight on how you can find a job as a new nurse.

Best wishes,


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