As you read below, you’ll see that the job market once you graduate will be primed for your entry into the field. You’ll enjoy an industry that is growing rapidly, seeing demand in multiple segments, and suffering an employment shortage as it is. Not only will you have a less-stressful-than-average time hunting for work, but you’ll feel good knowing your entering into a career where most regions really need you.
Significant Job Growth
From 2010 to 2020, the field of nursing is expected to grow by 26%, about the same as the field of health practitioners as a whole. It is also, however, significantly higher than the average 17% growth seen across all occupations. Most of this growth is occurring because of advancements in technology, which are allowing doctors and other healthcare staff to treat more problems more effectively. There has also been an increase emphasis on preventative care, sending people to doctors even when there isn’t anything explicitly wrong. Also, the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age, and as this large segment of the population ages, they will need more medical care. They’re also expected to live slightly longer and remain active for longer than generations before them, making them a fixture in doctors’ offices for an extended period of time.
Demand in Certain Areas
Job growth is expected to be the biggest in outpatient centers where patients are not admitted and do not require overnight care. This includes places that provide chemotherapy, smaller surgeries, and short stints of rehabilitation. Physician offices will also have the need for more employees trained in certain procedures, as more complex and sophisticated services are being peformed in these settings as opposed to in hospitals. Unless you have your heart set on working in a hospital, you may want to consider working in one of these environments, as there will be greater demand and thus you are more likely to find a job quickly. You will, of course, need to make sure you are adequately prepared to work in a setting if specific skills (such as the ability to provide specialty procedures) are needed from you. There will also be increased need in extended and long-term care facilities for the elderly, where some baby boomers will be relocating as they age.
The combination of robust job growth and shortage of nurses will mean that you likely won’t have to fight tooth and nail for a position. Some employers have reported that they have trouble finding and retaining enough nurses on staff. And even if you are committed to working in an environment with less growth, like a hospital, you will likely be able to find work due to the relatively high turnover rate. You may even benefit from incentives to try to lure you into (and keep you at) a certain place of business. These might include signing bonuses, family-friendly work schedules, or subsidized training. The nurses who do run into competition in the job market are those who want to work 9-5 schedules and have weekends free by working in physician offices. These features are attractive to nearly everybody, so it’s where a lot of nurses look for work.