According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ Occupational Handbook 2010-2011, the job market for registered nurses is estimated to increase 22 percent between 2008 and 2018. Knowing this statistic allows a nurse to understand that there is no decline in the need for registered nurses and the field of nursing is still flourishing. In general, continual growth of job opportunities in nursing is expected due to our aging population.
The growth rate of jobs for registered nurses projected by industry are as follows:
|Offices of physicians||48%|
|Home health care services||33%|
|Nursing care facilities||25%|
|Hospitals, public and private||17%|
As the demand for nurses goes up, more employment options are available to nurses. Recruiters are finding it painstakingly hard to hire and retain employees and will often offer sign on bonuses and referral bonuses. This is typically a win-win situation for everyone involved and bonuses can sometimes range up to as high as $20,000.
Additionally, larger hospitals are offering to pay for a nurse’s education if they sign a contract to work for them for a predetermined timeframe. This not only secures the nurse a job after graduation but allows them to obtain an education without paying for school as they go or having to obtain a loan.
Specifics by Industry
Medical and technological advancement in healthcare have made it possible for procedures and sometimes minor surgeries to be performed in the offices of physicians as well as in outpatient settings. Due to this advancement, jobs for registered nurses in this area will grow more rapidly than in any other sector in the industry.
There are numerous types of physicians’ offices in which nurses can find employment including cardiology, gynecology, dermatology, neurology, general or family medicine and pediatric practices. A nurse who works in a medical office whether it is a specialty or a general practice office, performs many tasks including taking patient histories, assisting the physician with procedures, drawing blood for lab-work and even counseling patients regarding their health status.
Home health care jobs are on the rise as hospitals are being forced to discharge patients sooner than they have in the past. Registered nurses working in home health perform a variety of tasks to care for patients in either their home or the home of a family member. The nurse becomes an extension of medical care that is often needed when the patient has been discharged from a hospital. In this setting the nurse teaches, assesses the condition of the patient, provides medical care and acts as a liaison between the patient and the physician.
Many patients are being cared for in long term care facilities due to our rapidly aging society. Patients who require more care than home health can offer and after undergoing complex procedures and surgeries will often be admitted to these facilities where they can be monitored by nurses. The goal of care is to allow the patient to fully recover by providing medical care and therapy and then eventual discharge to home.
Because patients with complex health issues are being admitted to these facilities in a “sub-acute” environment along with the need for long term specialized units for Alzheimer’s patients, victims of stroke and brain injuries, job growth in this industry is expected to continue to grow rapidly.
Employment services is an avenue in nursing where nurses can work for an employer who provides staffing for hospitals, nursing facilities, physician offices and any organization that has staffing needs. These jobs can be permanent or contract. Nurses can choose to work on an as-needed basis providing them with a flexible schedule. The nurse is employed and paid by the staffing agency and not by the facility or practice for which they are working in.
Often the agency will also pay all or a portion of the nurses housing, food and living expenses while they are on contract. Employment service jobs typically pay a greater amount of money than full-time work within 1 organization because some do not offer standard employee benefits. These jobs are on the rise and are attractive to nurses who like to travel.
Hospital jobs are the slowest growing industry for nurses today because the national average on in-patient hospital days is regulated and patients are leaving the hospital sooner or having procedures performed on an outpatient basis. Although jobs in this industry do not have the growth rate of others they still comprise the largest number of employed registered nurses at 60 percent in the industry.
Registered nurses can choose the type of hospital they want to work in based on their personal interest. They may decide to work at a teaching hospital which is usually connected with a local university. This type of environment provides a nurse with exposure to students at every level and can even give the nurse the opportunity to teach or mentor other nursing or medical students. A nurse could also choose to work at a hospital that provides care to specific patient populations such as a pediatric or mental health hospital, therefore becoming specialized.
The overall outlook for registered nursing jobs is excellent today, with more nurses finding employment in a variety of healthcare settings. While healthcare continues to trend toward nurses taking on more responsibility in their roles than ever before, there will be a greater need for advanced practice nurses and this in itself will lend to more nursing jobs.
Advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners, nurse mid-wives, clinical nurse specialists and nurse anesthetists are now working in their own practices and can provide general medical care at a lower cost. In some very rural communities and inner cities, they provide primary care to the underserved due to the lack of physicians in those areas. It is estimated that a growing number of patients will seek out the services of nurse practitioners over physicians in the future related to the convenience.
Advanced practice nurses work in physician offices as well as free-standing clinics and the ability to be seen by a nurse practitioner without making an appointment in an urgent care clinic versus a doctor is often a deciding factor for many patients.
No matter what direction a nurse chooses in their job search, there are numerous decisions to be made. These decisions will be based on personal preferences for the setting and the patient populations they want to serve.
Like most professions, job hunting for nurses involves creating a resume, and many nursing schools teach students the basics of how to write one before they graduate. Once a nurse has a resume they can begin applying for positions. The most common methods of finding nursing jobs are online job search engines, notices on an employer’s website, newspaper listing and referrals from friends in the industry.