New Grad RN Programs (2023)

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by Cathy ParkesAugust 10, 2019Updated: January 18, 20231 min read

New Grad RN Programs

How do you land a position? What makes a good program?

In this video, Cathy takes a few minutes to talk about some very practical steps you can take to give yourself the best chance to get a position as a new grad RN.

She then talks about some specific things you should consider when you are looking at new grad RN programs.

(Video) New Grad RN Residency Program

Watch as Cathy discusses:

Getting ready to land the position

  1. Understand how competitive it is to get a new grad RN position in your area (city, state, etc).
  2. Get your foot in the door (intern/get a position, become an internal candidate)
  3. Bring your "A-game" during your clinical rounds.

How to evaluate potential new grad RN programs

  1. Length of the program?
  2. How long do you have with a preceptor?
  3. Are their courses and classes included in the new grad program?

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▼Full Transcript

Okay. In this video, I am going to talk about how to land a new grad position, and I'm also going to talk about what to look for in different new grad positions when you are evaluating different programs. So the first step is really to understand how competitive it is in your particular area to get a new grad position. So if you're where I am, which is Southern California, it is extremely competitive to get this type of position. There are other parts of the country where hospital systems are more readily hiring new grad RNs and it may not be that competitive, or if you live in a competitive area but have the ability to move to a different city to get your new grad experience, then that also makes it a little easier for you. So let's say that you live in a competitive area, that it is difficult and competitive to get these new grad positions. I would really encourage you to either get your foot in the door as an employee at a hospital system or do an internship at a particular hospital system as a way of getting your foot in the door. So when I was in nursing school, I initially was working as a volunteer at a hospital and I was hoping that being a volunteer would help me get a new grad position after graduation. But I was told by multiple sources that being a volunteer, unfortunately, would not help me get such a position. However, if I was an employee at the hospital, this would make me an internal candidate and definitely give me an edge in terms of landing one of those new grad positions. So instead of being a volunteer, I actually put in for a transport position at my hospital and I worked part-time as a transporter while I was going to nursing school. So I'll be totally honest that this was not ideal. So I was in an accelerated bachelor's of nursing program and I was working part-time as a transporter and I had kids. So it was a lot. But when I got out of school and my hospital system was interviewing for new grad positions, they actually only opened it up for internal candidates for my round of hiring and did not even open up any positions for external candidates. So it really paid off. It was really hard during nursing school to juggle all of that, but it did effectively give me a foot in the door after graduation. I had other friends who did not-- they did not work for a hospital system, but they did an internship. So I had several classmates who did an internship at UCSD hospital, and this helped them to get their foot in the door after graduation from nursing school and they all landed new grad positions at that hospital. So, again, if you live in a competitive area, you might want to consider getting a part time job as a CNA or a PCA, which is a patient care assistant, or as a transporter. You can even work in the kitchen. As long as you're on payroll, then that makes you an internal candidate. And typically a lot of hospital systems give preference to internal candidates.

So the other advice I would give you is that if you are doing an internship or just with your clinical rounds at a hospital, I would really bring your A game when you're there, okay? So you want to make sure you are super helpful for your nurse, you are asking lots of questions, you are being super kind to the patient and doing everything you can to make them comfortable. You really want to be proactive and really just knock the socks off of the nurse that you're working with. So sometimes this won't be possible, right? We've all been paired with certain nurses who are not excited about having a nursing student working with them. And if that's the case during your week they're at the hospital, then that nurse is likely not going to help you kind of get your foot in the door. However, if you are paired with a super nice nurse who is really eager to teach and to help you learn, then definitely try to make that connection and really impress her with your A game. So I'll give you an example. When I was working-- so I'm a wound nurse at my hospital and I was taking care of a patient up on a particular floor and there was a volunteer there who was a nursing student and she came in to kind of observe and assist and she really just blew me away as far as that she was going to be an amazing nurse because she really anticipated what I would need and she would hand me things or go fetch things for me, she spoke to the patient in a really kind way, was super helpful, asked lots of questions, wasn't too pushy, but also wasn't too standoffish. She was really just perfect and just so nice to the patient and just a delight to work with. So I found out that she was applying for a PCA position at my hospital, which is a patient care assistant role, and I went and found the manager when I could later on that day to tell her that this particular student really knocked my socks off and that she would be an amazing PCA and eventually an amazing nurse. And sure enough, she got the position and then later on she got a new grad position because she was an internal candidate and she was also just a really good nurse. So, again, if you get the opportunity to really impress the people you work with at the hospital, then definitely do that. If you make a strong connection with a nurse, then ask the nurse if they would be willing to put in a good word for you if you're putting in-- if you're applying for a position at the hospital or if he or she would be willing to let you reach out to them with any questions or advice in the future. So I've had a number of nursing students come work with me at the hospital who have followed up in email and just asked my advice about different things. And I'm always happy to help when I can.

Okay. So now let's talk a little bit about what to look for in a new grad position. So if you have multiple new grad programs that you're looking at, it's really important to kind of look at the nitty-gritty as far as what the hospital system is going to provide to you as a new grad. So my new grad position was 40 weeks long. During those 40 weeks, I had a preceptor for about 13 weeks. And then also during those 40 weeks, I had a variety of classes and courses to help teach me different things. So I would have classes on diabetes, I'd have classes on wound care, I'd have classes on respiratory therapies. I mean, you name it, stroke. They gave us so many classes to help really educate us and build up our skills as nurses. And again, I had 13 weeks with a preceptor where I slowly took on more and more patients. The first day I was just shadowing. And then the second day I'd have one patient and then I might have one patient again and then two patients and then slowly until I got to four patients. So you just need to evaluate the program, find out how long it is, how long do you have with a preceptor before they set you free, and are there courses and classes included in the new grad program. So if you are looking at a hospital system and a new grad program that gives you a preceptor for two weeks and then they're like, "Go fly," that's kind of scary, right? There is so much to learn as a new grad and the stakes are really high. You don't want to make a mistake and you really want to make sure you're understanding all the procedures and policies and how to chart and how to be a safe, effective nurse. So two weeks with a preceptor is not enough time. So if one of the programs you're evaluating, if that's the case, I'd really be looking at other programs if you can, because you want to protect your license, you want to learn, and you want to be a safe and effective nurse. So at my hospital system, which is Scripps Health, I had a great experience and got lots of training. So I'm forever grateful for that. But I did have friends who were in different hospital systems where they did not have as much training or as much time with a preceptor. So definitely look into that.

So that's it for this video. I hope some of those tips and suggestions have been helpful. Again, the first step is looking at the competitiveness of your geographic area and figuring out how hard and how proactive you need to be in lining up a part-time job or something before you graduate so that you can be that internal candidate, okay? So best of luck to you in school and with studying and I'm here for you, so take care.

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(Video) IM BACK! The REAL Tea on being a NEW GRAD Nurse | 5 months into Residency
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Is it hard being a new grad nurse? ›

There is no shame in being a struggling new grad nurse. Being a new nurse is very overwhelming. Starting a new job is tough already, let alone an entirely new role with much more responsibility that ultimately puts you in charge of the life and safety of other people.

What do new grad nurses struggle with? ›

Performance anxiety, fear of making mistakes, lack of confidence in nursing skills, communicating with doctors, exhaustion from workload demands, and having the responsibility of your own patients can be a lot to handle in your first year.

Is it normal to feel lost as a new grad nurse? ›

Imposter syndrome is very common among nurses. New graduate nurses and nurses in any stage of career transition particularly deal with this phenomenon. To a degree, imposter syndrome is a relatively normal feeling and is a very real experience.

How do I ace my new graduate RN interview? ›

What Are The Top 5 Things Employers Look For When Interviewing New Grad Nurses?
  1. Good communication skills: Effective communication skills are essential for nurses of all experience levels. ...
  2. Compassionate personality: ...
  3. Someone who is willing to be a team player: ...
  4. A willingness to learn: ...
  5. Computer skills:

What percentage of new grad nurses quit? ›

But, one study found that a staggering 17% - 30% of new nurses leave their job within the first year and up to 56% leaving within the second year.

Why is the first year of nursing so hard? ›

The first year of nursing school is hard because you're starting a new venture. Not only are you learning new information specific to your industry, but you'll also be putting that education into action. Learning facts is much different than practicing them, so stretching yourself in this new way can be demanding.

Is the first year of nursing the hardest? ›

If you become a nurse, your first year on the job is often the hardest. Being in a new environment, suddenly having to use new skills, and the new responsibility of being a nurse hit you all at once. It can be overwhelming. This is how to survive the first (and maybe hardest) year of being a nurse.

How long does it take for a new grad nurse to feel comfortable? ›

While new nurses possess the clinical skills to succeed, she cautions that they "have to find the order that works best for utilizing those skills. It generally takes 1-2 years to truly find your 'flow' and feel comfortable."

How long does new grad nurse anxiety last? ›

When does the “new nurse anxiety” start to go away? Anxiety starts to decrease about 6 months to a year. When you reflect back from when you first started you will notice you feel more confident and the anxiety is dramatically decreased.

How long should you stay at your first nursing job? ›

It is best as a new nurse to first get 1 year of consistent experience before moving to another specialty. However, withe current nursing Covid environment and shortage of nurses you can always apply to other specialty positions and see what happens.

How can a new graduate nurse overcome anxiety? ›

Have self-compassion and give yourself grace: Self-compassion is the ability to become mindful of your own distress and work to alleviate it. If you're feeling discouraged and anxious as a new nurse, offer yourself the same loving kindness you would offer a friend dealing with the same situation.

What is the best shift for a new grad RN? ›

Night shift is great for new nurses, because there is more downtime to learn. Day shift can be overwhelming for a new grad, so I suggest trying the nightlife until you get the hang of things. It allows for more time to look at your patient's chart and learn why you are doing what you are doing.

What is a good weakness for a nursing interview? ›

Reflect on your weaknesses

Spending too much time on paperwork. Paying too much attention to detail. Attempting to complete too many tasks at once. A lack of clinical experience, which may apply to recent graduates or new nurses.

Are new grad interviews harder? ›

In general the same difficulty… at least for most companies and programs. New grads just have more rounds and may have the addition of behavioral and system design.

Which state pays new grad nurses the most? ›

In the United States overall, the average registered nurse salary is $82,750 and the median (50th percentile) is $77,600. California, with RN salaries averaging $124,000, is the highest-paying state for nurses as of May 2021 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Why are new nurses quitting? ›

Another recent report by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found about 100,000 registered nurses left the profession since 2020. More than 600,000 intend to leave by 2027 due to stress, burnout and retirement.

What is the turnover rate for new nurses? ›

RN turnover increased by 8.4 percent in 2021 but fell by 4.6 percent to 22.5 percent in 2022. The median turnover rate was 21.7 percent, ranging from 6.5 percent to 64.5 percent.

What is the hardest nursing semester? ›

Pharmacology. Pharmacology, or the study of medication, can seem scary because of the sheer scope of the course. "It becomes one of the hardest classes for nursing students due to the depth and amount of knowledge needed," says Megan Lynch, RN and instructor at Pima Community College.

What is the hardest semester of a nursing program? ›

Without question, the most difficult semester for me was the last semester of my junior year in nursing school. I attended a 4-year BSN program, and that particular semester included three classes that were very content-heavy, as well as the corresponding clinical hours for those classes.

Why do so many nursing students fail? ›

Nursing school is extremely stressful, and many nursing students fail out of their program because they don't take time to relax and unwind. Stress can cause you to retain information poorly, and it puts a strain on the mind and body.

Is it common to fail nursing class? ›

Many nursing schools require a minimum grade of roughly 80% to actually pass, as well. By the time you realize you aren't doing well enough to be successful in the course, the choices can be pretty limited. Failure happens all the time. It happens every day...

What is the hardest part of becoming a RN? ›

7 hardest parts of nursing
  • Losing patients. ...
  • Being judged for their career choice. ...
  • Working long hours. ...
  • Experiencing physical/verbal abuse. ...
  • Navigating hospital politics. ...
  • Using outdated or time-consuming technology. ...
  • Feeling pressure to know everything.
May 31, 2019

How old are most nursing school graduates? ›

Worried about being “too old” to become a nurse? Don't be!
  • The average age of ADN nursing students at community colleges is 26-40 years old.
  • BSN programs have an average age of early-mid 20s.
  • Students in RN-to-BSN programs are typically in their late 30s.
Nov 26, 2021

Is performance anxiety for real in new graduate nurses? ›

It occurs only in specific situations. The new graduate‟s performance is the focus of attention and evaluation. Further, the need to interact with other professionals, patients, and families can create anxiety about performance.

How long should a new grad RN resume be? ›

Keep your resume to one page. You will see guidance that this isn't of concern anymore, but we hold that it's best to adhere with standard practice. Plus, your resume will likely be reviewed alongside a full nursing application, so there will be plenty of information provided to the hiring manager.

Can I negotiate as a new grad nurse? ›

It is possible to negotiate a higher salary as a new nurse. There is no rule book that says you can't. No one will scold you or punish you if you negotiate. As a matter of fact, according to the 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey report from Jobvite, your potential employer expects it.

What age is too late to start a nursing career? ›

To answer this question quickly and succinctly: No, absolutely not, get that out of your head. There is no “appropriate age for nursing school.” We have had students from age 18 to 55 years old in our NCLEX Exam Prep Course and all of them go on to become great nurses.

How to survive nursing school with a full time job? ›

With these few simple tips it could help make your life attending nursing school while working full-time a little less stressful:
  1. Stay Organized. Staying organized is an essential part of balancing work, school and life. ...
  2. Incorporate Downtime. ...
  3. Get Active. ...
  4. Say “Yes” to Saying “No”

Is 30 too old to start nursing school? ›

When you think of nursing school, you likely envision young people 18–24, but there are actually many nurses who don't get their RNs until their 30s, 40s, or 50s! You're not too old just because you're older than the average student. In fact, there are a lot of benefits to becoming a nurse later in life.

What are the phases of a new grad nurse? ›

Reality shock theorizes that those new to the nursing profession go through a learning and growing transition. This process is characterized by four phases: honeymoon, shock, recovery, and resolution.

What is the shortest nursing career? ›

ADN and Related Programs

The way to become an RN with the lowest level of education is to go through an associate's degree in nursing, or ADN program. Most ADN programs are two years long and held at community colleges. There are numerous options to choose from, including part-time and full-time programs.

What is the longest shift a nurse can do? ›

12 hour shifts are legal. However, the regulations generally require that there should be a break of 11 consecutive hours between each 12 hour shift. We believe that no shift should be longer than 12 hours, and that a 12 hour shift may not be appropriate for all nurses.

When should you stop being a nurse? ›

6 Tell-Tale Signs to Know It's Time for You to Leave Nursing
  • You feel emotionally overwhelmed: ...
  • You feel unfulfilled: ...
  • You can't seem to separate work problems from issues at home. ...
  • You are experiencing physical symptoms related to stress on the job. ...
  • You feel irritable around patients or coworkers.

How do new graduate nurses manage their time? ›

Top 5 Time Management Skills Every New Nurse Needs
  1. Learn How to Set Priorities. This one is tough, and it won't happen overnight. ...
  2. Know the Importance of Flexibility and Patience. ...
  3. Learn to Cluster Care. ...
  4. Arrive Early. ...
  5. Take a Break.
Mar 25, 2022

Can I be a good nurse if I have anxiety? ›

Can I Be a Nurse If I Have Anxiety? Absolutely. Pre-existing mental health conditions do not preclude individuals from being a successful nurse.

What is the easiest floor to work on as a nurse? ›

Many will argue that med-surg work is the heart of nursing and provides new grads with the foundational skills they will need to move on to other specialties later, if they so choose. And frankly, the easiest and fastest way to get a job as a new grad is to go to a med/surg floor.

Is night shift better for new nurses? ›

And the answer is "Yes!" The night shift can be significantly easier to start with for new nurses. It doesn't have the overwhelming stress of many patients and doctors going in and out. On the contrary, the night shift will enable you to learn at a slower pace.

How do you negotiate hourly pay for a new graduate nurse? ›

Top 5 Tips for Negotiating the Best Nursing Salary
  1. Do Your Homework. Know the salary range in the area before your interview. ...
  2. Know Your Worth. Use a personal story to demonstrate to hiring managers how you've added value in the past. ...
  3. The Job Search. ...
  4. Money Is Not Everything. ...
  5. Prepare To Sell Your Story.
Aug 16, 2022

What is a sample answer to tell me about a time you failed nursing? ›

Sample Answer:

A time when I felt like I had failed was during nursing school. I had a hard time working through a skills lab and felt like I was failing as a nursing student. I had limited experience going in and it seemed like everyone else was easily grasping the skills.

What do you say in Tell me about yourself? ›

Your answer to the "tell me about yourself" question should describe your current situation, your past job experience, the reason you're a good fit for the role, and how you align with the company values. Tell the interviewer about your current position and a recent big accomplishment or positive feedback you received.

What are my strengths as a nurse? ›

Having empathy to interact with the patient and their family and helping them to cope with problems is very important in a nursing position. Having the ability to understand and share those feelings with the patient and their loved ones is an essential strength for a nurse.

What are the chances of acceptance after grad school interview? ›

Once your interview and travel schedule has been finalized, it's time to prepare for the interviews. While the days prior to your first interview weekend may seem overwhelming, take a deep breath and remember how far you've made it. Depending on the program, post-interview acceptance rates vary from 50-75 percent.

How can I impress my grad school interview? ›

Tips for Grad School Interviews
  1. Research the university.
  2. Brush up your interview skills. ...
  3. Prepare a list of questions that you can ask the interviewer(s).
  4. Call the grad school for appointment confirmation. ...
  5. Dress appropriately.
  6. Show up with confidence.
Feb 27, 2023

How do you know if a graduate interview went well? ›

  • 6 Signs An Interview Went Well. Interview Advice. ...
  • Interviewer Body Language. ...
  • Interviewer Informed And Sold You On The Job. ...
  • You Were Asked Many Questions And Yours Were Answered In Full. ...
  • They Talk About The Future. ...
  • The Interview Lasted a Long Time. ...
  • You Received a Fast Response.
Feb 18, 2022

How it feels to be a new grad nurse? ›

Feeling like an idiot as a new nurse is normal. Feelings of being an imposter, incompetence, anxiety and stress are common too. But asking for help, taking your time, being a sponge, reading new policies and often just having a go to person will help you find your feet, build confidence and resistance.

What state pays new grad nurses the most? ›

In the United States overall, the average registered nurse salary is $82,750 and the median (50th percentile) is $77,600. California, with RN salaries averaging $124,000, is the highest-paying state for nurses as of May 2021 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

What is the hardest type of nurse to be? ›

Most Stressful Nursing Positions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. ...
  • Emergency Department nurses. ...
  • Neonatal ICU. ...
  • OR nursing. ...
  • Oncology Nursing. ...
  • Psychiatric Nursing.
Jan 27, 2021

Is nursing a good career for introverts? ›

Can an Introvert Be a Nurse? Introverts can pursue a career in nursing. Whether you're a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or certified nursing assistant (CNA), you'll be well-positioned to apply the skills and character traits you have as an introvert to your everyday work.


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