In today’s economy there is plenty of conversation about not enough jobs – across all sectors. This includes healthcare and definitely nursing.
We have read articles, posts, tweets and blogs from nursing school students who cannot find a job. We have come across many reports on numbers of nursing positions simply “drying up."
So, is it true?
Posted on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website, the following statistics about the future of nursing and the job outlook is clearly defined:
“The United States is projected to have a nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing colleges and universities across the country are struggling to expand enrollment levels to meet the rising demand for nursing care.”
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is concerned about the shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) and is working with schools, policy makers, kindred organizations, and the media to bring attention to this health care crisis. AACN is working to enact legislation, identify strategies, and form collaborations to address the nursing shortage. To keep stakeholders abreast of current statistics related to the shortage, this fact sheet has been developed along with a companion Web resource.
Current and Projected Shortage Indicators
- In June 2011, Wanted Analytics reported that employers and staffing agencies posted more than 121,000 new job ads for Registered Nurses in May, up 46% from May 2010. About 10% of that growth, or 12,700, were ads placed for positions at general and surgical hospitals, where annual turnover rates for RNs average 14% according to a recent KPMG survey.
- According to a special issue of the Monthly Labor Review released in April 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “the health care industry added 428,000 jobs throughout the 18-month recession from December 2007 until June 2009, and has continued to grow at a steady rate since the end of the recession.” As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, RNs were recruited to fill many of these new positions.
- On April 1, 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the healthcare sector of the economy is continuing to grow, despite significant job losses in recent months in nearly all major industries. Hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other ambulatory care settings added 37,000 new jobs in March 2011, the biggest monthly increase recorded by any employment sector. As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, RNs likely will be recruited to fill many of these new positions. The BLS confirmed that 283,000 jobs have been added in the healthcare sector within the last year.
- In October 2010, the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report on The Future of Nursing, initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80% and doubling the population of nurses with doctoral degrees. The current nursing workforce falls far short of these recommendations with only 50% of registered nurses prepared at the baccalaureate or graduate degree level. See: http://thefutureofnursing.org/
- In July 2010, the Tri-Council for Nursing released a joint statement on Recent Registered Nurse Supply and Demand Projections, which cautioned stakeholders about declaring an end to the nursing shortage. The downturn in the economy has lead to an easing of the shortage in many parts of the country, a recent development most analysts believe to be temporary. In the joint statement, the Tri-Council raises serious concerns about slowing the production of RNs given the projected demand for nursing services, particularly in light of healthcare reform. See: www.aacn.nche.edu/Media/NewsReleases/2010/tricouncil.html
According to current statistics and trends, nursing still remains a highly desirable career choice with plenty of growth potential in the future.
So why can’t I find a job?
Many of today’s nursing positions are calling for a higher level of education and technological savvy. The nursing shortage is projected to continue for many years to come. With more candidates in the marketplace and employers requiring specific skill sets, it can be more difficult than in the past to land a position in today’s market, especially for those directly out of nursing school.
Adding business courses, technology, informatics or even an advanced degree can make yourself more marketable in today’s job climate.
With the right combination of nursing education/background and professionalism, coupled with great communication and interviewing skills, most candidates will find a job in today’s market – even in this economy.