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How many graduates will get a job within six months?


Nursing Times blogger Stuart Young looks at university guides and wonders what sets some apart from others.

The Guardian newspaper’s University Guide 2011: nursing and paramedical studies looks at many things, including student satisfaction in their course, student satisfaction on their academic feedback, the UCAS points needed to get on a course and the student to staff ratio, to name but a few. However, perhaps the most interesting thing for me was the percentage of graduates leaving the institutions who gained a job within six months.

The lowest was 46% at London Met with the highest being 100% at Bedfordshire. The two of most interest to me, of course, were the University of Birmingham and my own institution Birmingham City University.

The job percentages were 77% and 94% respectively, which made me feel quietly confident that at the end of this year I would have been able to find a job, had the economic situation not taken a turn for the worse. So fingers crossed I should find a job starting in September 2011.

Whilst I want to go and work on the front line caring for patients on orthopaedic surgical wards I am more and more aware of the current job situation. Many trusts are not recruiting at the moment and many of the jobs that  I have seen on the NHS Jobs website  are asking for six to 12 months’ experience. A hard task for any newly qualified nurse to magic out of thin air - or so I thought.

On Tuesday the RCN bus was in the West Midlands and I spent the afternoon speaking to students about their experiences on clinical placement., Many of the people I spoke to were third years about to go out on their management placements - and the topic of applying for jobs came up in all most all conversations.

As I was talking to the students, I found myself giving out some advice that I must put into practice when I start applying for jobs. Those roles that are asking for six to 12 months’ nursing experience - there is nothing stopping a third year student from applying for them, after all in the last three years of their training they have a wealth of experience in patient contact, using evidence based practice and being a patient’s advocate.

Only time will tell if there are going to be enough jobs for the nurses that qualify in 2011.

About the author

Stuart Young is a third year student nurse and RCN student member of council


Readers' comments (11)

  • I always see that as a misleading statistic. I would be more interested to see the percentage of people who are employed in their field in 6 months. A first class degree in nursing and working as a waitress or bartender due to a lack of nursing jobs is not as impressive. Just because there are 77% employed at 6 months does not mean they are employed as nurses.

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  • Exactly Sam! Statistics are always to be taken with a pinch of salt as the writer of this article should well know.

    The truth of the matter is it is very very difficult for Nurses to find Nursing jobs upon graduating, and many are still struggling to find one 6 months after qualifying. Some are struggling 12 months after.

    There is usually (unless you are very lucky or are seconded) little chance you will get a job in your preffered field straight away, with everyone I knew (and know) just taking any Nursing job they could until a position opened up in their area of specialty/interest.

    But that is the lucky ones. I am lucky to have counted myself amongst those who were fortunate enough to be employed not long after graduating (I still had to wait 4 months due to waiting for the interview process to start and bloody HR process before I actually started!!) But I know many of my cohort who didn't get through. Our trust had a 'trustwide interview' (2 months after we qualified), in which we all sat an exam, then over the course of two days, the 400 or so people who passed the exam (some didn't) were invited to interview. Out of that number, only 30 something were hired. You have to ask, what about the hundreds who weren't hired? Some went to other trusts, and had to wait months again before getting a job (the process is just so long!) Some went into the private sector. Some left Nursing alltogether, getting jobs in different fields.

    This is wrong.

    This is wholly wrong.

    Nurses are KEY WORKERS, we as a workforce are essential to the countries infrastructure in the same way any Policeman/Doctor/Teacher/Fireman/etc etc is. So why the hell aren't we GUARANTEED a job upon qualifying in our local trust? (And don't give me all this rubbish about travelling to work etc, many many people are not in a position to relocate).

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  • I qualified many moons ago, when sets were smaller (20-30) and there were several intakes a year. Although most of my set found jobs within our preferred hospital, few of us found a job in our ideal department. Jobs were not guaranteed even then. I have friends who are in other public sector jobs (doctors, teachers, police, firemen) and none of then were guaranteed a job on qualifying- this is also true of many other key workers in the NHS. Whilst it is unfair to have spent 3 years training for a career as a nurse and then have no job to go to, it is not a unique situation. Many other public sector workers are in the same situation.

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  • Doesn't make it right Dino.

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  • It may not be right, but this is real life not some idealistic dreamland where Mike lives.

    It is not possible to train exactly the right number of nurses every 3 years as the number of nurses leaving the "profession" (always makes me smile to hear us talk about being a profession when as a rule we are so unprofessional) is so variable. We have a retirement age of anywhere between 55 and 70+ and even if nurses do retire they more often than not return to work, we have countless numbers of nurses on long term sick, and so they cannot be replaced. So while it may not appear to be fair, it is what it is and newly qualified nurses have to accept that and either re-locate for their dream job, wait till a job near them becomes available or get a different job, just like the rest of the real world has to.

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  • To be fair finding a nursing job is easier than finding an assistant psychologist post. Thats how I ended up doing nurse training in the first place. Even the lucky few who get the assistant posts have a mammoth struggle to get into clinical psychology courses.

    I also guess I am lucky to be in Scotland as, for the time being at least, we have a job for the first 12 months post qualification just like teachers. Trouble is, knowing my luck, I will be given a job out in the islands. At least it would be a job.

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  • if i had the choice again i would have done psychology. there are psychologists working in almost every area of society and they seem to have better hours and higher pay - and a fascinating job.

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  • Its just a very very difficult job to get into. And psych services are usually where the axe falls first so I see it getting even worse. There are huge numbers of psychology graduates like myself working in other fields using the skills we picked up in other ways.

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  • When i first qualified i was asked to apply for an upcoming job on the cardio-thoracic ward i'de just been a student on for nearly 3 months. I had done very well. So much so that the sister stated there would be a job for me should i want.

    Well i wanted..and i applied.

    It was given to a fillipino nurse. The sister apologised and said the hospital had a contract and a quota to fill for overseas nurses. There was nothing she could do about it. I wasn't the only newly qualified that this happened to.

    I was utterly disgusted.

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  • This isnt a recent thing guys. There have always been limited jobs for each qualifying intake.
    I remember myself and many others from a cohort of 15 not being able to find jobs as newly qualified nurses back in 1999. Most of us ended up in the local nursing homes to keep finances afloat while appying to anything that should be advertised.

    Its reality and especially in the current UK climate, you do what you can. Please do remember you are not entitled to a job when you qualify (unless seconded by your employer) you have to join the employment que just like anyone else in the nursing profession.

    I now work overseas where there is a massive rush to find a place on a graduate program for the newly qualified. No hosp will employ unless a graduate has done a 12 month post grad prog and sometimes a further qualification.

    To all that are looking for work - good luck. Perservere and you'll find what you want eventually.

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