We've been told for some time now that the health care industry is in a state of crisis stemming from a severe shortage of nurses. A graying population, plus increased access to medical treatment is supposed to mean more demand for nurses. But a funny thing happened during the recent recession: Many nurses expected to retire decided to keep working [source: Kurtz].
The shortage rumors have been good for nursing schools -- enrollment in bachelor's degree programs has doubled over the last decade -- but not so much for their recent grads, many of whom have a hard time finding work. More than one-third (36 percent) of new registered nurses who graduating in 2011 were not employed as RNs four months after receiving their diplomas, according to a survey by the National Student Nurses Association. That's nothing compared to California, where almost half (46 percent) of nursing students were still looking for work within 18 months of graduation. Experts say that's because doctors and hospitals want something these new grads can't possibly offer: experience [source: Kurtz].