Oh dear. It seems like the media has picked up on the plight of these fresh-out-of-school nurses unable to find employment. As discussed in the aforementioned CNN news article and my previous blog post on striking nurses, the recession has created a surplus of nurses seeking high paying and stable careers in the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, there are now not enough positions to accommodate all these new grads, leaving nearly half of them unemployed.
This situation is not unlike that currently faced by social workers. Thanks to lack of title protection, we have a number of non-MSWs who perform "social work" and claim that they are "social workers". These include high school grads, college grads in other social science fields, and even nurses. While not impacting our job prospects as much as in nursing (though I worry about social work in the hospital setting), this surplus of "social worker type" professions has contributed to our low and stagnant wages.
The CNN article concludes by stating that there will be another nursing shortage as the baby boomer population ages and older nurses retire. Nurses HAVE title protection, while social workers don't. Perhaps it's time to create our own shortage of real social workers to drive up our job prospects and wages.
I feel that these unemployed nurses shouldn't have to worry too much. Once they find a nursing job, they'll be able to pay back their student loans pretty easily. As for social workers (especially ones who went to private schools for their MSWs), don't expect to repay your loans as quickly.