JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It is supposed to be "recession proof," but some nursing graduates on the First Coast are getting a shot of reality as they apply for jobs.
Officials at the University of Northern Florida said graduates have been having a hard time finding employment in nursing for about a year. Pam Chally, UNF Brooks College of Health Dean, said it is because of the economy.
Students at UNF are weeks away from summer break, but Chally said many nursing students already know what they may face.
"There really are more new graduates than there are job openings," said Chally, who is also a professor and a nurse.
Nursing has been touted for months as the "it" field in the down economy, and Chally said it still can be despite the news.
"Nurses who were working one day a week, maybe their significant others lost a job, were suddenly working four or five days a week," said Chally. She also said the bad economy means nursing positions have been eliminated, and other nurses are not retiring on time.
First Coast News found nurses nationwide talking about the problem on nurse forums. One graduate writes "It seems everyone is on a hiring freeze." Another adds, "No one believes the market is rough for new grads."
On Careerbuilder, more than 130 nursing jobs popped up in the Jacksonville area. However, some on the First Coast News Facebook page replied to a new thread on nursing job shortages.
One Facebook friend writes, "Some of these jobs have been empty for six months or more...It is incredibly and hopelessly frustrating."
However, Chally hopes it is temporary.
"You look at all the baby boomers, all the needs for nursing that will happen as we age, I can't help but really believe there will be an increase need for nurse," said Chally.
Chally could not specify how many nursing graduates are getting jobs, compared to how many are not. However, they are continuing forward despite the job situation. On Tuesday evening, many UNF nursing students were completing clinical rotations at area hospitals.
Chally is asking grads to keep their heads up and network at the hospital or clinic they would like to work at eventually.
She also believes the new healthcare reform will mean more nursing jobs down the road.
Area hospitals were not available for comment.
First Coast News