Have you noticed the wait time for an appointment to see your doctor is getting longer and longer? Well, you’re not alone. As America’s population ages, the demand for physicians is outweighing the supply. If you’re lucky, the receptionist at your doctor’s office will say, “You can’t see the doctor until a week from Tuesday, but I can get you in to see the nurse practitioner tomorrow morning.” The nurse practitioner—depending on the state you live in—can diagnose illnesses and prescribe medication, so you happily agree to the appointment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for nurses are expected to increase 12 percent—much higher than average—between 2018 and 2028. In fact, according to the BLS Employment Projections 2016-2026 report, the registered nursing profession is among the top occupations expected to experience job growth through 2026.
So, why are nurses in such demand? Let’s find out.
The population is aging rapidly.
By 2030, all baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) will be 70 or older. One in five U.S. residents will be of retirement age and will need treatment for existing conditions, as well as preventive medical services. Doctors will rely on their nurses even more than they do now to help with patient care. Moreover, additional outpatient clinics and other medical facilities are being built to accommodate more patients, which will require more nurses.
Registered nurses are retiring.
Many RNs are also baby boomers. More than 50 percent of RNs are 50 or older and will be retiring soon. Since 2012, approximately 60,000 RNs have left the workforce each year. The number of boomer RNs peaked at 1.26 million in 2008, but as of this year—2020—that number will have reduced by 50 percent. When they have all left the hospitals and clinics and physician offices, their amassed knowledge and experience will have gone, too. A new crop of qualified nurses will be needed, but it won’t be easy to fill the shoes of the boomer nurses; the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 200,000 more RNs will be needed each year between 2016-2026.
A new age of health reform has been implemented.
Since the Affordable Care Act has been in place, so have changes in health care. The ACA’s fate is still in limbo, but its goal has been to improve the efficiency of health care delivery systems, expand insurance coverage, increase the number of professionals in the industry, push for health education and disease prevention, and move away from a fee-for-service to a value-based purchasing model. As a result, health care facilities will want to employ the clinicians who are most productive at achieving the best outcomes but will try to hire them for the lowest salary* possible. . What does that mean? Hire more nurses, many of whom are already serving in widely expanded roles.
Nurses will need to develop additional skills.
Only 55 percent of today’s RNs have baccalaureate or graduate degrees. That number needs to increase to 80 percent to meet current demands. Many nurses are taking on new roles and responsibilities, including leadership positions, and there’s a need for double the number holding doctorate degrees. Additionally, technology is creating a need for better-trained nurses who are tech savvy and able to navigate electronic health records, charting, scheduled care, and even operating state-of-the-art medical devices.
Nurses with specialties will also be in high demand.
Some nursing specialties are increasingly in demand each year because of the increased treatment options for all kinds of illnesses. These specialties are booming:
- Certified Nursing Anesthetist. Works closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, and podiatrists and can administer anesthesia to patients
- Certified Dialysis Nurse. Assists people whose kidneys cannot efficiently expel waste products from the body and need to be on a dialysis machine
- Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Consults with lawyers and officials about lawsuits related to medical issues
- Certified Nurse Midwife. Delivers babies and advises moms-to-be about prenatal and postnatal care
- Nurse Case Manager. Monitors patient progress and evaluates their care
Get the education and earn the qualifications you need to become a nurse.
Brookline College offers a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at campuses in Phoenix, Albuquerque, and online. In as little as two and a half years, you can complete the requirements for a B.S., provided you attend classes year-round. This gets you ready for an entry-level nursing job much sooner than others in a typical four-year program. In addition to traditional classroom instruction, you’ll hone your skills with hands-on learning opportunities in Brookline’s simulated lab. Experienced instructors help you learn from your mistakes and give you the confidence you need to apply your training in the real world.
Contact Brookline College to set your nursing career in motion.