By Linus Minick
There has never been a better time to become a nurse! While you have probably already heard of the current nursing shortage throughout the world, this trend is predicted to continue into 2016. Studies show that about 233,000 additional jobs for registered nurses will open in 2016, but only 200,000 candidates passed the Registered Nurse licensing exam in 2015. While this is putting more demand on current health care staff, this also means that getting an education in nursing is highly employable. In fact between the years 2012 and 2020, employment for nursing is expected to grow by 19%.
The increased demand for nurses is multi-faceted, including an aging baby boomer generation, greater same-day care, financial pressure on hospitals to discharge patients sooner and stretch staff, and the need to replace a retiring generation.
Aging Population Increases Demand for Nurses
An increase in the aging senior population correlates to a rise in chronic conditions that will need extended, regular care. Patients who have chronic diseases with growing complications are expected to need more medical attention than the average patient with a curable disease. Multiple admissions to a hospital, for longer periods of time, is going to further stress the current shortage of nurses.
Better technology now allows for more procedures to be done within a doctor’s office, on the same day you have an appointment. Instead of your family practice sending an order to your hospital to complete a procedure, the procedure will be done in the same family office where you met your primary care physician. The inflation of same-day procedures is going to lead to a higher demand for skilled nurses in the private medical sector as well as in hospitals.
There are also financial pressures on hospitals to discharge patients quickly, which in turn has lead to admittance in long-term care facilities. Again, with more patients needing long-term care, this affects the demand for medical staff, nurses particularly. All of these factors, along with a large section of the baby boomer generation retiring or reducing their workload, leave an ever-increasing demand for registered nurses.
Nurses Salaries Increase With Education
Statistics aside, nursing also has fewer quantifiable benefits. Not only do nurses help people and save lives, there are many specialties within nursing to choose from. Each career choice a nurse makes comes with its own unique challenges, perks and income. The average salary of a registered nurse is $65,470, however with advanced degrees and training, salaries can easily reach six figures. While this of course varies depending upon the region where you are employed, you can rest assured that you will be earning a comfortable wage. In this way, you can choose a specialty that works best for you.
So if all this wasn’t enough to convince you that nursing is one of the most employable careers in the coming decade, think about the more serious consequences of the nursing shortage. The lack of skilled nurses is literally costing lives. Lower nurse-to-patient ratios coupled with longer time spent with patients, increases the quality of healthcare and reduces patient morbidity. Not only will you be saving lives as a nurse; you will enter a career that offers unbound opportunities for fulfillment and advancement.