The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for registered nurses will grow
19 percent in upcoming years - a good deal more than the national average of 11
percent. This growth will create more than half a million jobs across the country.
Despite more people going to college than ever, healthcare needs are outpacing
graduates and creating a deficit. Or, if you look at it another way, an opportunity.
Places like California, Texas and Florida already have large populations and also
have a large immigrant population. See the graphic below for other states with the
fastest growing nursing markets.
There are a lot of factors contributing to the upcoming RN shortage. Aging baby
boomers require more frequent care, especially for chronic conditions like arthritis,
diabetes and dementia. Chronic illnesses also affect the general population,
especially diabetes and obesity. New healthcare laws and emphasis on preventative
care mean that more people have access to health insurance and are visiting
doctors. More patients equals a higher demand for nurses.
Many hospitals are being forced to rely on temporary staff supplied by agencies to fill
increasing vacancies. Studies have shown, though, that temporary staffing isn't cost
effective and can be unreliable. Hospitals are looking for more permanent hirees to
create a reliable internal workforce.
Hospitals aren't the only employers suffering from the nursing shortage. In an effort
to discharge patients quickly, more people are being referred to long-term clinics or
outpatient facilities. Also a lot of older people prefer the independence and comfort
of at-home care or residential care facilities. While the patients aren't necessarily in
the same place, they still need RNs to care for them. Nurses on the job hunt have
more options than ever in deciding their location, workplace environment and patient
Become a registered nurse requires at least an associates degree, but many
hospitals are beginning to require and even sponsor their nurses to pursue a BSN. In
the long run, though, a bachelors degree will open up even more job opportunities.
Deciding which of these is a good fit is up to you!
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