How long are you considered a New Grad Nurse?

Generally, in the United States you are no longer considered a new graduate when you have had paid experience between 1 to 2 years. And even those nurses who have been licensed for more than 1 year without ever having worked in the profession. Although this may vary according to the additional rules of each facility. So, in this article we will talk about who are considered “new graduates”, some tips for new nurses and many more.

Who is considered a New Graduate Nurse?

In the nursing world, it has two meanings to be a “new graduate”. On the one hand, it can be a person who graduated from nursing school and is waiting to take the NCLEX (even though they have already been hired as a graduate nurse).

On the other hand, it is a term used for newly licensed registered nurses who are out of nursing school.

That said, then it is worth asking when do they cease to be new nurses? Generally, this can vary by facility criteria; as some have additional rules.

But you could say that they are no longer new graduates when they have one year of experience and are paid for their work.

Why is it important to know when you are no longer considered a new graduate?

There are several good reasons why it is important to know when your status as a new graduate nurse ends. The reasons will be explained below:

  • If you want to leave your current nursing job and apply for another job it is very important to clarify your status, because many employers ask for at least a year or two of experience. But some may want a nurse with at least three years experience.
  • It is a plus when you know your status when applying for a job. Because you will be applying for entry level nursing positions or nursing residency positions.
  • It is very important to have 1 to 2 years before retiring from your job, because if you retire before that it will be difficult to find a job opportunity.

What are the best jobs for a New Graduate Nurse?

  • Medical-surgical nursing: This is a great option for new graduates, as it gives you the opportunity to apply virtually everything you have learned in nursing school.
  • Operating Room Nurse: Becoming an operating room nurse is a great option, as it puts you in close contact with pre/post-operative patient care. Also for nurses who prefer to see different patients on a daily basis, this is the ideal setting.
  • ICU Nurse: This is a great choice from a technological standpoint as you will be trained and also learn emergency protocol when a patient’s health worsens.
  • ER Nurse: This option has several advantages, for example, gaining experience in a short time. In addition, you can learn how to care for injuries and health problems.
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse: This is certainly a great choice as you can provide physical and emotional support to the patients under your care. Additionally, it helps you play an important role in the lives of your patients.

Advice for New Graduates

Newly graduated nurses are encouraged to look into the nursing field based on their personality. For example, do you love adrenaline, are you bored doing the same thing every day, and do you love situations where you never know what might happen at any moment? No doubt the emergency room is your place.

While if you love machinery, solving problems quickly and have a strong enough personality to work with surgeons; a great option is to work inside the operating room.

Additionally, it is very important not to cut back on skills so soon unless you are sure what area of nursing you like. It is always good to know your options. For example, if you work in labor and delivery immediately after graduating, you may have difficulty moving into other areas of nursing later on, as there will be some skills you haven’t used since you were in nursing school.

Another tip that every new graduate nurse should keep in mind when looking for a job: don’t look for work that is easy or under stress.  This is nursing, and there is no such thing in this profession. And even sometimes you have to work in a few different areas to really find out what you like and don’t like. You will still gain invaluable experience and learn new skills in whatever field you choose, even if you don’t stay in that specialty for very long.

What are common mistakes that New Graduate Nurses make?

  • Not preparing for the job interview.
  • Not understanding your limits.
  • Omitting professional development opportunities.
  • Forgetting that it’s all about the patient.
  • Not thinking about the future.
  • Dressing inappropriately for the interview.


The next step for a graduate nurse is to get a job; therefore, it is important not to self-sabotage. Clearly, no one expects a perfect new graduate nurse, but you can learn from the mishaps of others.

The world of nursing is undoubtedly rewarding and the more you explore your possibilities, the broader your experience will be for future applications.

Marlene J. Shockley

My name is Marlene J. Shockley, and I am a Registered Nurse (RN). I have always been interested in helping people and Nursing seemed like the perfect career for me. After completing my Nursing Degree, I worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care. I have also had the opportunity to work as a Travelling Nurse, which has allowed me to see different parts of the country and meet new people. No matter where I am working, I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and helping them through whatever medical challenges they may be facing.