AACN Responds to CNN Article on the Employment of New Nurses
On January 14, 2013, CNN Money published an article online titled “For Nursing Jobs, New Grads Need Not Apply,” which focused on the difficulty some new nursing graduates are having with finding entry-level jobs.
In the original article, it was reported that a survey conducted by the American Society of Registered Nurses found that 43% of new nursing graduates nationwide still did not have a job 18 months after graduation. AACN challenged this statistic and uncovered the following:
- The primary data point referenced – the 43% – was the central finding of a study conducted by the California Institute for Nursing and Health Care (CINHC) and only applies to graduates of California schools; it is not a national number. Click here for study findings. Though this study is legitimate, the authors openly acknowledge its limitations (p. 3):
The low response rate (19%) is a possible concern, and the results should be interpreted with caution as representative of all newly licensed graduates. Nurses who have not found employment may have been more likely to answer the survey, and if so, the actual employment rate may be higher than reported.
- The American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN) is not the source for this data. In promoting their Save the Grads Jobs program, the group identified themselves as the author of the survey of new graduates and omitted the fact that the data refer to California grads only. The ASRN has since updated their Web site.
CNN Money amended the article on January 23 and substituted new data on the employment of new graduates from the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), which now reads: “36% of newly licensed RNs graduating in 2011 were not working as registered nurses four months after graduation.” Though this data point is a national number and the NSNA is a highly credible organization, it should be noted that the data was derived using only a small percentage of the total number of newly licensed nurses last year: 3,634 new nurses responded to the NSNA survey; 144,583 new nurses were licensed in 2011. The NSNA data are significant and worthy of discussion, yet represents only 2.5% of possible respondents and may include the same bias toward negative reporting as mentioned with the CINHC survey above. Click here to read the NSNA findings.
In contrast, AACN’s most recent data on new graduate employment found that 57% of new baccalaureate-prepared nurses and 73% of entry-level master’s programs graduates had secured jobs in nursing at graduation. Within 4-6 months after graduation, 88% of new BSNs and 92% of entry-level MSNs were employed in nursing. Click here to read the AACN findings, based on input from 501 out of 847 schools (59.1% response rate).
AACN is committed to working with the NSNA, the Tri-Council for Nursing, and all stakeholders to identify ways to facilitate the transition from nursing student to practicing RN.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Representing more than 700 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s and graduate degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. For more information, visit www.aacn.nche.edu.
Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231