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nursing careers: WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE NURSING JOB MARKET?
Over the past few years I’ve provided specific nursing resume services for RNs, LPNs, BSNs and many other fields of nursing, and I’ve began to realize there’s a paradox within this field of work: experienced nurses complain that all the jobs are going to new graduates, while new grads complain that they cannot get a job without a minimum 2 years hospital experience. So who’s getting all the jobs?
It appears there are problems within the nursing industry, with the recent financial crisis causing a reduction in jobs, hospitals having to close wards, and also an increase in the workload for anyone who remained employed. So, is this industry truly in trouble? What’s the future for nursing? And what can you do to increase your job opportunities?
Skip to paragraph below: 6 Ways to Boost Your Nursing Job Prospects
WHY SO MANY NURSES?
Nursing offers a great career, while being morally rewarding it also provides a career ladder to climb with plenty of room for professional development. From 2002 onwards however, the US saw a significant increase in nursing courses offered specifically by private, for-profit schools, which resulted in a huge growth in the number of qualified nurses competing for jobs.
In 2002 fewer than 20 for-profit nursing programs produced less than 200 graduates. In 2012 there were upwards of 200 programs producing 19,000 nursing graduates according to D Health Care Magazine. This is one of the major contributing factors that has driven competition within your field of work, at all levels and across all fields of healthcare.
The recent recession lead to funding cut backs and hospital staffing reforms, which also significantly added to the difficulty of finding a job. RNs that I speak to frequently explain how hospitals and medical facilities are hiring less RNs in recent years to save on wages, and instead hire LPNs and medical assistants to perform a lot of the RN duties – in some cases hiring just one RN and having them supervise a team of assistant workers.
An RN I worked with this summer – someone with fifteen years experience – said that routine patient care is also getting more difficult for a registered nurse, due to the quality care requirements and patient satisfaction standards imposed by Medicare regulations.
With a lack of jobs and a surplus of trained staff, the outlook doesn’t look great. Indeed, many nurses have spent valuable time and money studying to enter what they saw as an ideal career, only to discover it was near impossible to land their first job. Even highly experienced nurses with 20-30 years experience felt the pinch, many having spent 4 years or more out of work – and ultimately deciding to pursue a different career.
NEW NURSING JOB OPPORTUNITIES
The shift away from inpatient care has opened the door for job opportunities in a variety of different avenues. Primarily, there’s been an increase in the demand for outpatient services such as chemotherapy and ambulatory surgery.
It’s not all doom and gloom; although hospitals are expected to continue closing wards, some experts indicate that by 2020 most hospitals will become large ICU centers catering exclusively for emergency treatment only, and that consequentially there will be a huge growth in outpatient care.
The shift away from inpatient care has opened the door for job opportunities in a variety of different avenues. Primarily, there’s been an increase in the demand for outpatient services such as chemotherapy and ambulatory surgery. Hospice, home health and palliative care are also areas expecting to see steep growth over the coming ten years.
NURSE RETIREMENT FORECAST
The number of nurses within the US is predicted to drop significantly also within the very near future. Of the nation’s 2.4 million nurses, nearly one million are over the age 50. Retiring nurses will lead to an increase in job availability while also reducing competition within the nursing industry. Some experts claim that this is already happening. And, with academic entry requirements for becoming an RN recently being increased, when coupled with a reputation for there already being a lack of jobs within the nursing industry, you can see why the numbers of young people pursuing nursing degrees has declined again. For anyone sticking with a nursing career, there will be less young people embarking on a nursing career, and less nurses practicing due to retirement – there’s surely light at the end of the tunnel.
Another factor due to boost job prospects within nursing is the baby-boom generation born post WW2 that’s now rapidly approaching an age where regular medical care is required. With an aging population, America will need more medical workers, with nursing providing the backbone of the care provided to geriatrics. Even the government’s OOH offer statistics that support this theory of a predicted growth in the number of jobs available for RNs over the next decade:
|2012 Median Pay:||$65,470 per year $31.48 per hour|
|Entry-level education:||Associate’s degree|
|Work experience in a related occupation required:||None|
|On the job training given:||None|
|Number of jobs, 2012:||2,711,500|
|Job outlook, 2012-2022||19% (Faster than average)|
|Employment change, 2012-2022||526,800|
When you combine these three factors (soon to retire nurses, less young people entering the nursing field and an aging population) the future suddenly looks bright – its certainly worth sticking around in anticipation of a nursing shortage due within the near future.
6 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR NURSING CAREER JOB PROSPECTS
1. REFRESHER COURSE
Many of you may have sizable work history gaps, making it hard to find a job. If you have a large work history gap of three or four years (or more), or you feel your skills are rusty and need some serious practice, refresher courses offer the chance to brush up your nursing abilities, get your confidence back, and most importantly help show a recruiter that you’re ready to return to work again.
Where to go to locate a course in your area:
- State nursing board
- State nursing association
- Local community college
- Search online
Courses do cost money – some are around $1,000 though prices vary – however you should be able to find one that provides a good mix of both classroom time and clinical practice. Some even include an internship of about 40 hours. This will look great on your nursing resume.
2. KEEP CONTACTING HOSPITALS!
Although you may have spent months or even years applying for jobs, only to meet rejection, with the turning of the economic tide come new opportunities. Online nurse forums are full of posts from the last 12 months, where people have landed jobs at hospitals offering special time allocation during orientation that’s designed for you to practice your skills. Keep your eye out for such openings!
If the number of medical facilities within your area is limited and you’ve already exhausted your options on places to apply, the next option is to find an internship. If you’ve got a nursing career spanning 20 years this may be a bit of a kick in the teeth, however you need to look at this as a stepping stone back into the work force. An internship will give you key experience while providing the opportunity to network and sniff out possible openings – and if you’ve got all the experience in the world, you’ll have no trouble standing out and impressing your seniors. Some internships even offer special RN re-entry programs – something to look out for.
4. VOLUNTEER WORK
With the future of nursing shifting to outpatient services, perhaps it’s worth considering which specific field of care you’d like to pursue in the future, then finding some volunteer work that will give you relevant experience. If your job options are already limited-to-none, then spending a few hours a week volunteering won’t be too much of a sacrifice. This will, however, help keep your nursing skills fresh and give you valuable experience that’ll help with your future job goals. This will also help keep you in the loop with nurses that may be able to point out upcoming job opportunities.
5. STATE NURSING ASSOCIATION
If you’ve been out of the work force for a while, it’s important you don’t become isolated from your industry. I recommend getting involved with your state nursing association by attending local meetings. This will help you network amongst people within your industry and also enable you to reconnect and build relationships with people already in work. These contacts could prove to be valuable in setting you up with a new job, and it’s a great way to stay on the pulse of important issues within your field of work.
6. NURSING RESUME
Professional nursing resume writing services can boost your chances of landing a job. Your resume is the key to securing an interview, where you can impress by sharing your nursing experience and medical knowledge. But, to get the interview, your resume needs to be specially crafted. Nurse resume writing isn’t as easy as other industries; you need to ensure your clinical skills are successfully highlighted, along with using specific medical terminology, while incorporating the range and extent of your professional experience accurately. Nursing resume writing services are available from our team of experienced resume writers, check out the details below for a special discount!
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