Warm Southern Breeze

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Where the Jobs Are: Is the Nursing Job Market a mixed bag?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eminent nursing researcher & scholar Dr. Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN has made a career studying Nurses, and suggests that the jobs picture for new nurse grads is good, and that they may be facing one of the best job markets in decades.

A 2009 study he conducted found that, “Registered nurse (RN) employment has increased during the current recession, and we may soon see an end to the decade-long nurse shortage. This would give hospitals welcome relief and an opportunity to strengthen the nurse workforce by addressing issues associated with an increasingly older and foreign-born workforce. The recent increase in employment is also improving projections of the future supply of RNs, yet large shortages are still expected in the next decade. Until nursing education capacity is increased, future imbalances in the nurse labor market will be unavoidable.

A 2004 study of his said that, “Wage increases, relatively high national unemployment, and widespread private-sector initiatives aimed at increasing the number of people who become nurses has resulted in a second straight year of strong employment growth among registered nurses (RNs). In 2003, older women and, to a lesser extent, foreign-born RNs accounted for a large share of employment growth. We also observe unusually large employment growth from two new demographic groups: younger people, particularly women in their early thirties, and men. Yet, despite the increase in employment of nearly 185,000 hospital RNs since 2001, the evidence suggests that the current nurse shortage has not been eliminated.

Most recently, research he worked upon which was published in the December 2011 issue of Health Affairs found that “because of this surge in the number of young people entering nursing during the past decade, the nurse workforce is projected to grow faster during the next two decades than previously anticipated.”

In essence, “...the nurse workforce is now expected to grow at roughly the same rate as the population through 2030.”

They also cautioned however, “that the dynamics of the nursing workforce are more complex than sheer numbers.

Lead researcher and RAND health economist David Auerbach said, “Instead of worrying about a decline, we are now growing the supply of nurses.

Here’s something very interesting, however.

In that same issue of Health Affairs, a survey conducted by Christine Kovner of New York University examined the low “mobility” of new RNs. The most striking finding was that Read the rest of this entry »

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