"We think what happened during the recession was that as people's partners lost their jobs, a lot of nurses increased the hours that they were going to work. We looked at data and found that nurses had increased their hours of work. Some of that was part time to full time. Some of it was doing extra overtime more often. That may have been one of the factors that for this group that graduated in 2010–11 made it more difficult for them to get jobs."
A Tighter Market, But Still 'Lots of Jobs'
Kovner concedes that the data and survey returns compiled by RN Work Project and other objective data compiled about healthcare employment are not granular enough to provide empirical evidence on the state of nurse employment.
"We think the best measure is how the nurses perceive what is going on because at the end of the day, that is all that matters," she says. "If they perceive that there is difficulty in getting jobs they are likely to be more reluctant to leave their current jobs. We think that is what's happening here."
While the job market may have tightened, at least temporarily for nurses, Kovner says there are still "lots and lots of jobs" with tremendous opportunities for career growth, especially when compared with the prospects of other recent college graduates.