Positive Outlook for Nursing Employment

There is good news for students who are interested in pursuing nursing as a career. The outlook for nursing employment is exceptional, due to several factors coming together at the same time: The average age of the working nurse, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the aging population.

In a press release from February 2012,  the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that nursing is one of four careers that are predicted to generate the greatest number of new jobs by the year 2020. By this time, the youngest of the baby boomers will have reached 55 years of age. Also by the year 2020, more patients, who were previously unable to receive regular medical care, due to a lack of health insurance, will then be accessing the health care system.

More patients in the U.S. health care system translates into the need for greater nursing employment. It is also likely that nurses will take on some of the responsibilities normally performed by physicians, and that nurses with more training will be in higher demand. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has referred to this looming nursing shortage as a "health care crisis," and is currently working with partners to address this problem by trying to increase the number of nursing spots available in schools throughout the country.

According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, the highest proportion of nurses working fulltime in 2008 was in the 45 to 49 age range, with those in the 50 to 54 age range in a close second place. These nurses will be cutting their hours and retiring over the next decade, which may be a further detriment to the nursing shortage.

Employers are offering tuition forgiveness programs and forming partnerships with nursing schools to provide tuition reimbursement for nurses who are furthering their education. In this environment, student loan debt should not be a major factor in a decision to become a nurse.

If you've ever considered a career in nursing, now is the time to pursue it. With the number of patients increasing, and number of working nurses decreasing, you will be stepping into a career with long-term demand and stability.


Photo Source: morgueFile

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Tags: American Association of Colleges of Nursing, healthcare crisis, nursing, nursing employment, Vocational & Practical Nursing

Karen N. Brown, MSHA

About Karen N. Brown, MSHA

Karen Brown is a freelance writer specializing in content for the health professions, but her writing projects have been quite varied in subject. She graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Philosophy, and a Master of Science in Health Administration. For nearly 20 years, she worked at UAB, an academic medical center, most notably as a division administrator for a large, international HIV/AIDS program. She also has considerable knowledge in federal research regulation. Karen lives in Alabama's Birmingham metropolitan area. View all posts by Karen N. Brown, MSHA →