Given the strong demand for nurses reported by hospitals, especially for specialty units, one might be surprised to find licensed registered nurses unemployed and underemployed for more than six months. However, that is exactly the situation of many of the participants in NYACH’s RN Transition to Practice Certificate Program (TTP). For example, Mulu Amlesom, as a newly licensed RN, spent seven months looking for work as a nurse before joining the TTP program. Tiffany To, another newly licensed RN, spent two years working part-time at $10/hour while she searched for work as a nurse. They both thought they were the only ones experiencing these difficulties until they entered the TTP program and realized there were many others in the same situation.
Hospitals are looking for nurses with experience, who are ready for the challenges of the job. “Actual practice is completely different from school. What I feel nursing school lacks is real experience – the TTP initiative helped us fill in the gaps from nursing school,” commented Mulu. The TTP pilot initiative, a collaboration between NYACH, Lehman College’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), provides unemployed and underemployed licensed Registered Nurses an opportunity to participate in a certificate program in which they gain six months of hands-on clinical training supported by a stipend.
In addition to gaining skills and confidence, and exploring their interests within nursing, students get a chance to prove themselves and to get their foot in the door. Tiffany commented on her experience looking for work before TTP, “I was looking for almost two years. Whenever I met someone working in a hospital, I asked them how they found their job. Usually they knew someone in the hospital.” After seeing her work in action through the TTP program, Tiffany’s host hospital, the Metropolitan Hospital Center, offered her a full-time position as a registered nurse. 15 of the 23 students have landed full-time jobs as registered nurses since graduating from the program in late December, and that number is expected to increase over the next couple months. Mulu’s host hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, hired her as well. “It feels really good to be financially contributing to my family,” she commented, “And I love the people. We are like family.”