Younger Nurses Feel Positive About the Future of Nurse Employment

In a recovering economy, many older nurses are considering retirement or have plans to pursue another career. Although the job market still hasn’t full recovered, a recent survey shows that many younger nurses hold a positive outlook for their profession and plan on pursuing higher education in the field.

According to the 2013 Survey of Registered Nurses conducted by AMN Healthcare, nearly 190,000 nurses admitted that they were thinking about leaving nursing or retiring as the economy continues to improve. Additionally, one in four nurses age 55 and up said they would change their career paths entirely by searching for work in other industries.

When it comes to furthering education, less than half of the nurses who held an associate degree or diploma said they were planning to pursue higher education in the field of nursing. Conversely, younger nurses are more likely to be interested in additional education. The landmark Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, advises that 80 percent of nurses in the U.S. should hold a BSN or higher degree by the year 2020.

Although nurses among all age groups reported that they were highly satisfied with their profession, the survey found that younger nurses (19-39) held a more positive outlook than nurses 55 and older in regards to the current quality of nursing. Furthermore, 66 percent of nurses 55 and older believe that the quality of nursing care has declined.

As a result, a generational gap exists among nurses in regards to their overall perspective of their practice. The survey revealed that younger RNs often hold a positive opinion of the nurse supply. Regardless of shortages in the industry, nurses between the ages of 19-39 said they remain positive about the supply of nurses, and believe that they are capable of meeting the expectations brought on by the new healthcare initiative. Additionally, while 45 percent of younger nurses said the shortage has improved throughout the past five years, 41 percent of older RNs between the ages of 40-54 held the same belief.

The survey also measured nurses’ overall satisfaction with their current jobs. Among the respondents, 90 percent of nurses reported that they were happy with their careers, while 73 percent said they were satisfied with their current profession.

Peter McMenamin, healthcare economist and senior policy fellow for the American Nurses Association, said that this survey projects an optimistic future for nursing. Additionally, he said that the findings revealed from the survey are consistent with research conducted by the ANA.

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