Nurse Staffing May Be Slow, but Nurses Should Remain Optimisitic

Nurses throughout the US are seeing flat wages and a decreased availability in jobs in higher-paying states. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage increases for nurses increased only 1% between 2011 and 2012.

A few factors lie behind the wage stagnation and lack of desirable positions for nurses. The first is healthcare reform. The impact healthcare reform will have is unclear and many hospitals are hesitant to hire. Hospitals are being ultra-conservative when it comes to finances in the wake of decreasing Medicare reimbursements, according to the president of the National Association for Health Care Recruitment. Not only is this causing less job opportunities, but it’s also behind the trend in stagnant wages.

More supply and less demand for nurses is another reason. The amount of nursing school graduates has grown in the past decade, but the baby boomers in the field have yet to retire.

Despite the current trend, there’s reason to believe nurse staffing levels will increase in the near future. Here are a few reasons those in the nursing field should remain optimistic:

1. The Affordable Care Act
As more people obtain insurance and seek healthcare, the demand for nurses will rise.

2. Baby Boomers
As baby boomers grow older, they’ll need more care. Also, many baby boomers will be retiring from the nursing field making room for a new generation of nurses.

3. Nurse Staffing Ratio Laws
According to Aureus Medical Group, a nurse staffing company, 15 states have enacted legislation or adopted regulations to focus on nurse staffing levels. As states begin to mandate nurse-to-patient ratios, the number of nursing positions should increase.

Now is the time for nurses to take steps to set themselves apart from the competition. Nurses with specialized training in ORs, cardiovascular ICUs, pediatrics, etc. may see more career options. The ability to use electronic health record systems also gives nurses an advantage. Furthering education is another way to secure a job in nursing, especially since demand for nurse practitioners is likely to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners earn more than RNs with a 2012 median annual wage of $91,450. Nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists also earn significantly more. Nurses with associate’s degrees may want to consider a bachelor’s.

Flexibility is key to riding out the slow nursing hiring trend. Be willing to take on temporary nursing work. Remain open to the idea of relocation. Accept a job even if it isn’t your dream come true. The experience will be essential to landing your ideal position in the future.

Nurse Staffing Levels Make the Difference in Patient Care

Nurse and author Theresa Brown illustrates a critical element of hospital care in The New York Times: the availability or lack of proper nurse staffing. A properly-staffed hospital floor – one with a manageable nurse to patient ratio – allows nurses to fulfill their more mundane responsibilities without sacrificing their role as first responders to patient issues. An improperly-staffed floor, however, will see larger numbers of patient injury and infection. For patients, adequate nurse staffing can make the difference between life and death.

A House bill introduced in April cites research that directly links nurse staffing levels to patient outcomes, in terms of patient satisfaction as well as patient mortality and cost to healthcare providers. Despite nurses comprising a hospital’s largest labor cost subset, hospitals can more than offset the cost by avoiding a number of far more costly “adverse patient events” that may result from low staff levels.

While there is concern that hospitals will balk against potential regulation of this kind, hospital executives by and large are more worried about the quality of patient care than about the cost. Hiring temporary nurses is as costly as employing permanent staff, but it may provide the opportunity to avoid many of the hidden costs associated with permanent employees – especially an estimated 12-13 percent of costs associated with non-productive time.

The need for capable, talented nurses will only continue to rise, and temporary nurse staffing agencies are well poised to expand their business by filling open positions. PRN Funding has the tools to help your staffing agency grow while maintaining a steady cash flow.

Find out more about PRN Funding’s nurse staffing factoring programs.

Where Do New Nurses Earn the Highest Salaries in the US?

In a recent article in the nurses’ magazine Scrubs, a breakdown of nurses’ average pay per hour was conducted. Their article showed that while the Midwest boasts competitive pay rates for new nurses, the West Coast does have the highest pay per hour overall.

Nurse Zone reports that these are the average pay per hour numbers for top cities in the Midwest:

Billings, MT: $26
Cheyenne, WY: $24.50
Denver, CO: $27
Albuquerque, NM: $28
Fargo, ND: $24
Sioux Falls, SD: $23
Omaha, NE: $23
Wichita, KS: $22
Minneapolis, MN: $30
Des Moines, IA: $24
Kansas City, MO: $25
Milwaukee, WI: $27
Chicago, IL: $29
Detroit, MI: $28
Indianapolis, IN: $25
Cleveland, OH: $27

To read more about new nurses’ pay and what nurses in various cities have to say about their wages, click here.

To learn more about how nurse staffing factoring can benefit your agency – click here.

Medical Staffing: The Highest Demand Medical Careers

While medical jobs are practically always in demand, the following jobs in the medical field have been predicted to grow in the ten-year period of 2008-2018, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

1. Home Health Aides. Expected to double by 2018, home health aides are projected to have the highest rate of growth. Though the pay for this job can be just above minimum wage, the availability of jobs and the fact that no college degree is needed have made this the job expected to be the highest in demand.

2. Medical Assistants. Another health career that doesn’t demand a college degree, medical assistant come second on the list with an estimated nearly 34% growth percentage from 2008-2018. Medical assistants help nurses and doctors with drawing blood, giving injections, taking a patient’s vital signs, and more. Though there are certification courses for medical assistants, most learn and are trained on the job.

3. Registered Nurses. Registered Nurses (RN) are supposed to have an increase in growth of approximately 22%. In the ten year period of 2008-2018, over half a million more RN jobs are supposed to be added. At the very least RNs need an associate’s degree, which is the most common level of education for RNs to have completed according to the BLS, though many also have a bachelor’s degree as well. Because of the higher levels of education RNs have, they’re paid more than medical assistants and home health aides.

4. Physicians and Surgeons. Expected to grow by 21.8% by 2018, roughly 144,000 jobs in these fields will be added. Physicians are already in such high demand today and experts estimate that as many as one of every ten physician openings remains unoccupied. Because of the high level of education required – a medical doctorate – to become a physician or surgeon, these jobs are among the highest paid in the healthcare realm.

5. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) & Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). Projected to have a 20.7% increase in growth by 2018, LPN and LVN jobs come in at number five on the list. LPN or LVN jobs don’t demand as much college as RN jobs so the pay is usually less for LPNs or LVNs but are above the pay grade and education levels of medical assistants.

6. Nursing Aides, Orderlies, Attendants. Nursing aides are supposed to see a projected 18.8% increase in growth from 2008-2018. While nursing aides and orderlies can be found in hospitals, typically they work in long term care or nursing homes.

If you are considering launching a medical staffing business, these fields may be your safest bet. Don’t forget – the higher the demand, the more cash flow you’ll need in hand. It’s a good thing PRN Funding is here and ready to fund your business with our medical staffing factoring programs. From nurse staffing to healthcare staffing programs – we work with staffing companies of all sizes to help them grow!

The Affordable Care Act: 5 Changes Healthcare Organizations Must Know

Recently, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued final rules applying some crucial consumer protections from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The intention of lawmakers and government bureaucrats when drafting the Affordable Care Act legislation was to enrich health care benefits. Under the final rule, all individuals and employers will have the ability to buy health insurance coverage no matter what their health status may be.

Insurers will also be stopped from charging discriminatory rates to people and small employers based on reasons like health status or gender. The HHS is now demanding that most health plans include the following requirements by 2014:

1. Reasonable Health Insurance Premiums
Coverage offered to individuals by health insurance companies will only be allowed to vary their premiums based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography; to base the premium on factors other than those will be illegal.

2. Availability
Almost all health insurers that offer coverage to individuals and employers will have to sell health insurance policies to all consumers; no one can be deprived of health insurance because of a current or past sickness.

3. Renewability
Under the new rules, health insurers will not be able to refuse to renew coverage due to a person becoming sick. Consumers hold the power to choose to renew coverage.

4. Single Risk Pool
Health insurance companies won’t be able to charge higher premiums to higher cost consumers by placing them into separate risk pools. The insurers will need to have a single statewide risk pool for the individual market and one for the small group market.

5. Catastrophic Plans
Consumers will have the right to a catastrophic plan in the individual market. The plan will typically have lower premiums, protection against high out-of-pocket costs, and include recommended preventive services without cost sharing.

When these ACA requirements go into effect in 2014, expect a substantial increase in patient volume. Whether you view healthcare reform as positive or negative, it could prove beneficial to nurse staffing and other forms of healthcare staffing.