Could Hospital Jobs Be Getting Harder to Find for Nurses?

by Ann Steele, NurseJournal.org   

Hospital-Jobs-HarderLily Bush has spent many hours each week learning how to give medications, draw blood from patients, prepare and dress wounds, and learn everything about anatomy. She also has learned how to handle family members and the many other skills that registered nurses need to have.

As a nurse, there always is something else that you need to study. And for many years, all of the education and work as a nurse had many rewards. The career was recession proof and paid well.

Bush stated recently that she knew that becoming a nurse was a good move, because there always seemed to be a nursing shortage at hospitals.

But how many nurse jobs are there at hospitals really? In recent years, big hospitals chains in Indiana and in other states have been cutting thousands of jobs. The reasons provided included lower admissions and lower levels of reimbursement from insurance firms and government agencies.

As the hospitals continue to drop jobs, there are more openings for nurses in other areas, including outpatient clinics, rehab centers, walk in clinics and even the homes of patients.

Generally the jobs do not pay as much as a hospital nursing job, which pay a median wage of $64,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the other health care centers are where the nursing jobs are.

When Bush finishes school next year, like many aspiring nurses today, she will have to look at a lot of job listings and get ready for tough interviews. Marketing yourself is now just as important for an aspiring nurse as any other job.

It was not always like this. Nursing has been for many years a very steady career that paid well with many job openings. Many nursing students would get many offers before they graduated.

But now, thing are very different. Hospitals are seeing more empty beds and their revenues are dropping. They have to cut labs, close down programs and cut jobs.

The health care industry in 2013 so far has cut over 41,000 jobs, which is the third highest, behind the finance and industrial sectors.

IU Health, which is the biggest hospital system in Indiana, has cut 900 jobs in the fall, and St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis also cut 800 jobs. While only a fraction of the job cuts involved nurses, it is making it harder for nurses to find work in hospitals, and for new nurses to get their first job.

What Are the Best States for Nursing Jobs?

While nursing jobs in hospitals can be harder to find overall, some states are better than others. The best states for jobs and quality of life for nurses include:

  • Texas: There are the big cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin to choose from, prices of homes are fairly low and state colleges are inexpensive. Also, salaries are high, when compared to the cost of living. For example, in Houston, you can earn as much as $38 per hour.

  • Florida: Salaries are high at $26 per hour on average, and the weather is great.

  • Pennsylvania: The cost of living in this state is 4% under the national average, and median wages are $24 per hour. The cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are particularly attractive for experienced nurses.

Alternative Job Possibilities for Nurses

While hospitals in some areas are cutting back on nursing hires, there are definitely more jobs available for nurses in outpatient clinics, people’s homes, walk in clinics and wellness centers. There also are many non-clinical jobs that you can get with your nursing degree:

  • Healthcare Recruiter

  • Nursing Informatics Specialist

  • Nursing Teacher

  • Medical Writer

  • Nursing Administrator

  • Pharmaceutical Sales Professional

  • Medical Device Sales Professional

Also, keep in mind that the more education you get as a nurse, the higher your pay and the higher the job demand. Some of the most in demand nursing positions today require a Master’s Degree, or MSN. These positions include:

  • Certified Nurse Anesthetist

  • Nurse Practitioner

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

  • Certified Nurse Midwife



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