According to a report from the Center for Education and Workforce at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., there will be as many as 1.6 million nursing jobs created in the U.S. by 2020. As the baby boomers age, there will be a greater need for nursing professionals in almost every healthcare setting imaginable. However, the report goes on to state, hospitals and healthcare facilities will have 193,000 positions unfilled for a number of reasons.
High paying jobs
Nursing jobs are just as high-paying as they are demanding. Often running into 12-hour shifts of working on the feet and caring for others, the average salary for a licensed practical nurse (LPN) with an Associate’s degree is almost $43,000. Registered Nurses (RN) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing earn $68,910 a year and nurse practitioners with at least a master’s level degree can make $95.070 on an average.
There are several reasons according to the report, for why such a stable job and attractive pays are still leading to shortage of nurses at care facilities. One of the biggest reasons is the increasing need for nurses to care for the elderly. The baby boomer generation is aging and while there is plenty of demand, the supply is weakening. Many registered nurses are themselves aging, with over fifty percent of the nurses above the age of fifty. In the next ten to fifteen years, many will be retiring.
At the same time the focus of the Affordable Care Act on preventive care will lead to many new jobs in addition to the vacancies this will cause. Outpatient care will be back in great focus and there will be a need for professionals to fill positions like patient navigators, clinical coordinators etc.
High demand positions
Some of the fastest growing positions in the country today include that of nurse practitioner and registered nurses with clinical specialty across nearly all medical facility lists. RNs seeking to work as nurse practitioners are required to take a few additional years of masters’ level training in a degree program for the position of nurse practitioner. In their professional lives, they diagnose health, order diagnostics, prescribe medicines and help to educate caregivers as well as patients.
Preoperative nurses who care for patients before, after and during surgery are also in demand but 25 percent of existing operating room nurses will be retiring in a few years. RN case managers, certified RN anesthetist, nursing informatics specialist, trauma program manager are some of the other in-demand positions across the country.
Thousands of applicants to nursing schools rejected
Yet as the need for more nurses grows, there are fewer nurses graduating to meet the needs of society. This is because nursing schools are being unable to cope with the rise in demand. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing published a report in 2013-2014 in which it was revealed that nearly 79,000 applicants were turned away from graduate and baccalaureate programs in U.S. nursing schools because of a shortage of faculty, space in the classroom, clinical sites and constraints of budget. A survey was carried out and the results showed that nearly two thirds of nursing colleges participating claimed that a lack of sufficient faculty prevented them from accepting more candidates.
The Georgetown study also found that 37 percent of applicants who had the required test scores and the qualifications were unable to enter nursing schools for the same reason. Some of the biggest challenges hospitals face today is finding talent to fill specialized positions like oncology and neurosurgery.
According to industry experts, candidates looking for a well-paying career with plenty of room for growth, as well as job satisfaction that comes from taking care of others who need care will find plenty of opportunities in nursing, especially if they pursue higher education.