Most New Nurses ‘Can’t Find A Job’

Almost three quarters of newly qualified nurses are still searching for a permanent job months after qualifying, according to a survey. The study, from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), involved questioning 500 newly-qualified and more than 2,200 student nurses. The RCN said it wanted to examine the impact of NHS deficits and recruitment freezes on nurses at the start of their careers.

Of the 500 newly-qualified nurses questioned, 71% were still searching for a band 5 nursing job, which is the level at which all nurses begin their career, the RCN said.

Most (86%) were not confident of finding a permanent position, the survey found.

More than nine out of 10 (93%) either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that recruitment freezes and job cuts were the reason they were having difficulty finding a permanent job. A similar number (92%) thought the current situation would deter others from wanting to become a nurse.

And more than eight out of 10 (85%) said they would consider retraining or looking for work in another profession if the problem continued.

Student nurses were also unsure about their future in nursing, with two-thirds (66%) saying they did not believe they would find a permanent job when they qualified.

Over a third (38%) said the current situation had made them consider abandoning their course and switching to another subject, while most (87%) said the current situation would deter others from joining the profession.

RCN general secretary, Dr Beverly Malone, said: “Short-term, quick-fix recruitment freezes in the NHS not only disillusion staff, they have a direct impact on patient care. We desperately need these nurses in the NHS now – not sometime in the future when trusts have solved their financial problems.”