Almost three-quarters of newly qualified nurses are still searching for a permanent job months after qualifying, according to the Royal College of Nursing.
The survey of 500 newly qualified nurses and more than 2,200 student nurses showed the impact of deficits in the NHS and the effect of recruitment freezes on nurses at the beginning of their careers.
Of the 500 newly-qualified nurses questioned, 71% were still searching for a starting level nursing job and 86% were not confident of finding a permanent position.
Almost all of the nurses questioned agreed that recruitment freezes and job cuts were the reason for their current difficulties in finding permanent positions.
About 92% thought the current situation would deter people from wanting to become a nurse.
General secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dr Beverly Malone, said: “Short-term, quick-fix recruitment freezes in the NHS not only disillusion staff, they have a direct impact on patient care.
“We desperately need these nurses in the NHS now – not sometime in the future when trusts have solved their financial problems.
“We need the government to give trusts more time to sort out the deficits crisis so that they can put an end to job freezes for newly qualified nurses.”