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Jobs still available for nursing graduates

December 1, 2009

Dean of Nursing and Health Professions says teaching hospital slowdown temporary

“There are plenty of jobs for nurses graduating this spring,” said Antoinette Hays, RN, PhD, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions at Regis College. “It’s a question of knowing where to look.”

“New Bachelor of Science recipients may find it more difficult to find openings in teaching hospitals and the large urban medical centers,” she said, explaining that the slowdown in the teaching hospitals is temporary. Retired nurses are returning to the workforce because of the economy, and hospitals have put a freeze on the employment of new graduates while determining the impact of the economy on their bottom line.

According to Hays, new graduates are still finding employment in long-term care and community hospitals. There are also opportunities for new graduates in the fields of geriatrics and rehabilitation. Even in the teaching hospitals, the long-established nursing shortage is not going away. With the current average age of nurses approaching retirement and the baby boom generation placing increased demand for health services on the health care system, a large and prolonged shortage of nurses will dominate the next decade.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March that the healthcare sector of the American economy is continuing to grow, despite steep job losses in nearly all major industries.

In Massachusetts, according to a recent study by the Massachusetts Hospital Association and the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives, the state is experiencing a 10 percent vacancy rate in acute care facilities, the highest in almost 14 years. In long term care, the shortage is closer to 22%. The overall shortage is projected to reach 29 percent by 2020.”

The National League for Nursing has recognized the Regis School of Nursing and Health Professions as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. Regis is one of six schools so honored in 2008. Only 15 in the nation have ever received the recognition, and Regis College is the only one in New England. The designation distinguishes “those schools that demonstrate sustained, evidence-based and substantive innovation, conduct ongoing research to document the effectiveness of such innovation; set high standards for themselves; and are committed to continuous quality improvement.

There are nursing programs at Regis College for students of all backgrounds or educational levels. One can start as an entry-level undergraduate or go into an entry-level master’s program with an unrelated BA degree. A practicing registered nurse can get a master of science in nursing. A person with an MS in nursing wanting further specialization can perform post-graduate work as a nurse practitioner, nursing leader, or nurse educator. Since 2007, the Doctor of Nursing Practice program provides practice-focused doctoral education for nurse practitioners, leaders and nurse educators.

Likewise, the Regis nursing program includes off-campus courses in 11 major hospitals. Nursing faculty and students provide health care in inner-city schools and Rosie’s Place to children and women without primary care.

“Just as nursing education today must provide multiple entry points and show a brilliant capacity to prepare students for a fast-changing profession,” Hays added, “younger professionals and challenged health care institutions are learning to move into different forms of delivery and practice. I have great hope that nursing can adapt to current environmental shifts in employment and that good nursing will prevail in the marketplace.”


Regis College is a Catholic co-educational community that prepares undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students for engagement and service in a changing world. In the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Nursing and Health Professions, approximately 1,600 students are enrolled in 24 undergraduate majors, graduate degree programs in education, communication, leadership and service, health product regulation, public administration and nursing, and a doctorate in nursing practice. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regis in the top tier of universities with master’s programs in the North. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) lists Regis among benchmarking colleges for the quality of educational experience.

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