It may seem counterintuitive, considering there’s a critical shortage of nurses in California, but, it’s true – recent nursing graduates are finding it challenging to land their first nursing job. Although there may be many reasons for this phenomenon, one in particular is fairly obvious: Healthcare employers prefer to hire nurses with previous working experience over recent nursing graduates.

So how does a recent nursing grad gain the kind of experience healthcare employers are looking for? We’ve got a few tips that may help move your nursing career forward.


If you have the time, volunteering is not only rewarding for your future nursing career, but also your character. The more you volunteer, the more people you make lasting connections with, and the more you stand out among other nursing applicants in your field, as you’ll have built a better network with other nurses and healthcare professionals. If you don’t have the time, that’s okay! You don’t need to volunteer full-time, instead, try to prioritize smaller opportunities.

Not only will volunteering give you the hands-on experience many healthcare employers covet, it also presents the opportunity to meet more experienced nurses where you can learn and take their advice. Make yourself known by introducing yourself to nurses, managers, and the surrounding staff. Volunteering will solidify what you’ve learned in nursing school with real-life scenarios, giving you the necessary skills needed for a successful nursing career. In the hiring process, you may be a more suitable candidate knowing that you’ve already shown your dedication and care.

Looking for a volunteer opportunity today? Eisenhower Medical Center is proud to have one of the largest Auxiliary and Volunteer Services in the state with over 100,000 hours of invaluable help and support. You, too, can be apart of the rewarding experience!

Continue Your Education

According to the National Student Nurses’ Association, more and more healthcare employers are looking to hire those with BSN’s rather than an associate degree. It may be time to take that next step in transitioning from RN to BSN. If you already have your BSN, don’t stop there; look at MSN programs to further your nursing education. Going back to school can mean online opportunities and/or short certificate programs to learn special skills, as well, that healthcare employers may be looking for in recent nursing grads looking for their first job. If you are currently in school, consider joining a student intern program.

Here at Eisenhower Medical Center, we have a clinical intern program (with over 50 university affiliations) where you are matched with an instructor. It’s a great opportunity to expand your network of nursing and healthcare professionals, while gaining the experience healthcare recruiters look for in new nursing grads. Don’t be afraid to work your way through nursing school; it will pay off and you’ll feel doubly accomplished!


Networking can be the perfect start in finding your first nursing job, and the great thing about it is you can start while you are still in nursing school. If you are volunteering or interning at a facility, not only should you introduce yourself, but it’s a good idea to get to know the nurses and managers too, as they may be able to help you practice for your interview, or give you an inside advantage on a job opening they think would be perfect for recent nursing graduates like yourself. Other ways to network include contacting your school’s alumni organization, attending career fairs, and joining a professional nursing organization such as American Nurses Association.

Although it may be a competitive market, don’t let that distract you from attaining your dream career in nursing. Allow yourself to be open and flexible in the type, hours, and location of all available nursing positions. Nursing is a rewarding career wherever you may be!

Interested in taking the first step in your nursing career? Eisenhower Medical Center has many opportunities for recent nursing graduates. Click here to see all of our entry level positions and apply today!

Originally posted on 19/10/2016

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