In its biannual Employment Outlook report, the U.S. Department of Labor stated that the healthcare and social assistance fields would experience the highest growth for new jobs, with more than 5 million new workers needed by 2020. An estimated 33.8 million existing healthcare positions are expected to be vacated by retiring workers, which raises the number of available healthcare jobs in the next decade to 54 million.
For new nursing students and high school students hoping to enter the nursing profession, the news from the Labor Department is encouraging, especially in light of the recent recession and high unemployment numbers.
The projected growth in healthcare is also good news for older workers who can expect a need for experienced and loyal employees, who are valuable to their employers for their stability and wisdom as examples and mentors to new employees.
Also benefiting from the new jobs will be Hispanics, with an expected rise of 18.6 percent in employment; a more than 4 percent increase in their current employment numbers. Asians and African-Americans will see a slight increase of 1 percent in new healthcare positions. Overall, there looks to be more racial and ethnic diversity in the healthcare workforce.
Across all fields, the report also projected a growth rate of over 21.7 percent in jobs needing master’s degrees. With the bachelor’s degree in nursing becoming the standard in many facilities and states, those nurses considering master’s programs will find a steady rise in newly created roles as new areas of responsibility for leading patient-care teams emerges.
Specific to nursing students attaining their registered nurse license, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 26 percent growth in jobs, or 711,900 new positions. The median wage for a registered nurse in 2010 was $64,690; with the high end being $95,130 and the low end, $44,190. Nurses employed in California or by pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturers earned the highest salaries.
As the new models of healthcare take shape and patient-centered care teams are built, emphasis will shift to community-based nursing with nurses needing more technical skills in outpatient settings and long-term care facilities. Home-based nursing needs will continue to rise as more people choose to stay in their homes and healthcare evolves with advances in medicine and technology, including telemedicine. Nurses who garner higher scores in patient care satisfaction surveys will also find themselves regarded as valued members of the care team, ensuring job security.