AJN’s Spring Break with the Student Nurses in Phoenix: Sunnier Job Outlook for New Graduates?

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editor-in-chief

PhoenixSkylineAfter a long winter in the Northeast, it was wonderful to visit Phoenix last week for the 63rd annual convention of the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA).

Like other meetings, this one was packed from morning to late evening with educational sessions, exhibits, resume-writing consultation, and for some, deliberating over 60 resolutions at the House of Delegates. Keynotes addressed:

  • health care reform (Gerri Lamb).
  • progress on implementing recommendations from the Future of Nursing report (Susan Hassmiller).
  • clinical ethics and moral distress (Veronica Feeg and Cynda Rushton).
  • and, the closing speech, a charge to continue nursing’s legacy into the future (yours truly).

Concurrent sessions, most of them well attended by Starbucks-fueled students, covered nursing specialties, exam help, licensure and legal/ethical issues, and clinical topics. (Betsy Todd, AJN‘s clinical editor, who is also an epidemiologist, led a session called “Is It Safe: Protecting Ourselves and Our Patients from Infectious Diseases.”)

Changing job climate? Several students I spoke with who were graduating at the end of the semester didn’t seem to have the anxiety of previous years’ students over securing a job. Maybe this is because things are looking up in the job market for new graduate nurses, at least according to recent figures in NSNA’s annual survey of graduates.

Reporting in the January issue of Dean’s Notes, researcher Veronica Feeg, associate dean of Molloy School of Nursing, and NSNA executive director Diana J. Mancino note that, in a September 2014 survey of NSNA members who were 2014 graduates, 78% reported they had secured an RN position by six months following graduation. This is an increase over the prior two years, when results were 76% for 2013 graduates and 66% for 2012 graduates.

Still, career resource areas were the hot place to be at the conference. One particularly successful spot (judging by the long lines of students waiting to get in) was Johnson & Johnson’s iDream Room. Sponsored by the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future, the iDream Room was where students could hear speakers discuss career-focused topics like interviewing, personal branding, and long-term career development, watch videos of stories from experienced RNs, learn about various nurse specialties, get a professional digital portrait on a USB drive, and a lot more.

I’m always impressed with NSNA’s resources for students (see this post about last year’s meeting). For students who are serious about getting off to a good start in a nursing career, NSNA is a must-join organization.

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Editor-in-chief, AJN

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