Throughout the recession, nursing was a thriving career field sought after by students who were searching for a stable, long-term opportunity. However, nurses may have a harder time coming across hospital jobs in today’s job market, as many major hospitals across the country are cutting tens of thousands of jobs.
As the number of hospital admissions declines, many hospital chains are receiving lower reimbursements from the government, as well as insurance companies. Nevertheless, although many hospital jobs are being eliminated, other opportunities for nurses and other healthcare workers are opening up in other places, ranging from outpatient clinics to rehabilitation centers. Although these jobs offer slightly less pay than what nurses typically expect, these settings are fueling growth for the field of nursing, according to healthcare experts.
Nurses and students who had hoped to work in a hospital setting are now contemplating their future. In the past, finding a hospital job after college never used to be an issue for nursing students. Nursing students used to receive several job offers before they even completed their degree, and hospitals would constantly be on the hunt to fill plenty of nursing positions.
Nevertheless, patient admissions and overall revenue continues to decline. As a result, many hospitals say that they are forced to cut down on jobs, consolidate labs, and even abandon some programs. Meanwhile, nursing jobs are still plentiful in other settings, such as patient homes and walk-in clinics. Furthermore, the nursing industry is experiencing a shift from high-acuity care, which involves specialized staffing and pricey equipment to treat seriously ill patients, to lower-acuity care, which requires less intensive treatments.
Despite nurses’ concerns about their future, many continue to work in hospital settings. Currently, about 60 percent of the country’s 2.7 million registered nurses are employed by hospitals. However, unlike past years, national experts say that nurses should not just assume that they will receive several job offers.
Luckily, there is still good news for nursing employment. According to a news release issued last week by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing students who obtain a bachelor’s degree are much more likely to receive job offers upon graduation than the national average among all other professions. Hospital staffing may be slow at present, but the industry expects a wave of retirements in the near future. Not to mention, nurse staffing ratio laws and the Affordable Care Act may boost demand for nurse staffing.
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