How Difficult is it to Find a Good Career in Nursing?

May 5, 2015

Nursing is unlike all other careers. Because human beings are vulnerable creatures, susceptible to illness and injury, the demand for people to care for them will never dwindle.

 But nursing hasn't been completely free from change over the last decade or so. As healthcare budgets have altered and government spending cuts have kicked in, the profession looks different to how it used to look; but just how different, exactly?


Employment Figures

In 2014, there were estimated to be 2.8 million nurses registered throughout the United States. On top of that, there were another 800,000 vocational nurses also licensed. Healthcare is one of the biggest employers of American workers. One in eight do some kind of job related to the industry, and a total of $2.8 trillion is spent each year funding it. These figures are fairly impressive, but they're set to grow. Before 2020, experts predict a 25% increase in the amount of people who built a career in nursing. Very few other sectors in the US, private or public, are set to grow so significantly in such a short space of time.


Getting a Nursing Job

All of the figures above suggest nursing is a career that's flourishing. It shows no signs of stagnation, which should be reassuring to anybody looking to work as a nurse. What may be surprising to hear then, is that getting on to the first rung of the career ladder is harder than ever. Well, it is if you're a licensed nurse. Licensed nurses, which usually command lower salaries and don't have degrees, are being shunned in favor the slightly more experienced registered nurse.


The Reduction of Licensed Nurses

Just 5 years ago, licensed nurses made up 40% of a practice's staff. Now they make up just 10%. While licensed nurses are still called upon to perform tasks that require expertise, such as vital sign assessments, other tasks that used to be asked of them are being delegated to workers with more experience, or just cheaper workers in general. This means without the associate's degree required to become a registered nurse, a willing worker will find it harder to get their nursing career up and running.


Career Paths are Less Certain

So, reading through the advice given in this and other nursing jobs articles, the answer seems to be: become a registered nurse, right? Wrong. At least, to a degree. While registered nurses do have more weight in the sector, even they aren't guaranteed a sure-fire career like they once were.


Why is This?

The answer comes down to the nursing resume. Hospital's are now hiring those with Bachelor's degrees, ahead of those with just the associate's. This means, registered nurses without one are put into less secure, less desirable jobs, such as working in care homes and nursery jobs. There is also less option for them climb the ladder in their current jobs. Promotions are handed out to more qualified nursing professionals, and the chance to fall into a well-paying office job is lower than ever.


The Good News

For those looking for a registered entry-level job, the sector remains very positive. While this won't help a licensed nurse looking for a more advanced position, it will help somebody looking for their first job.Many homes and hospitals across the USA are actually struggling to hire enough entry-level registered nurses. These nurse jobs may not be the most glamorous, but they do present a person with a way to get started.


The Evolution of Nursing

What the nursing career is providing to workers at the moment is the option to diversify. While this diversification will involve re-training, it still acts as a way to carve a career out in a very competitive field. Nurse anesthetists are just one example of this in action. With the sector desiring these types of nurses, re-training is an excellent way to get ahead.


In Conclusion

There still is a demand for nurses, but competition has become stiffer in recent years. With companies now having more choice, they're naturally opting to hire those who are more qualified. Still, thousands of nursing jobs are currently up for grabs, meaning dedicated professionals have nothing to worry about long-term. The sector may change, but what doesn't change is an experienced nurse's value to a business and its patients. Every statistic shows that any nurse who applies for work is likely to find it. They will, however, need to be slightly better to get a job than a nurse would have had to have been back in 2010.

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