New Nurse Limbo

From a Recent Nursing Graduate

There are currently thousands of us recent graduate nurses anxiously looking for our dream job in a hospital in the Bay Area. We knew from the minute we started nursing school that this would be a hard task, given how impacted the job market is in the Bay Area — the best paying region in the country. But COVID-19 has made this hurdle a hundred times harder and more confusing.

Hundreds of us are desperately applying for jobs and hearing nothing in return. A few months ago we would’ve attributed this to the competition, but now we don’t know if this has to do with COVID-19 or if it has become the new normal. We know that many hospitals have decided to institute hiring freezes during the pandemic. Now we feel like the four years we have spent training for this moment are slipping through our fingers. And to top things off, hundreds of current nursing students are not expected to graduate due to the shelter-in-place order that has stopped them from fulfilling their practical hours.

It is very understandable that overworked nurses would be hesitant to take on the responsibility of training new nurses, but as new grads we do not think that this should be treated as extra work. Hospitals should increase their staffing budget to not only properly care for the increased influx of patients, but to dedicate time on training the new ranks of nurses that will be needed when the time comes. This should not fall on the shoulders of the already overextended nurses.

This type of trickle-down responsibility with the training of nurses is a chronic problem. For decades, nurses have had to volunteer their time to train new nurses without any reduction of responsibilities. But COVID-19 has shown just how dangerous it is when the hospital administrators don’t take the question of nursing education seriously.

Perhaps the pandemic can also bring forth new ways of thinking about the importance of adequate training and education of not just nurses, but all health care workers.

Featured image credit: Foto Garage AG / Unsplash