2014 Nursing Jobs Outlook

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February 3, 2014

It looks like the job market for nurses will continue to be strong in the coming year as demographic trends and new federal legislation regarding health care affect demand for nurses. In addition, some health care workers in other professions will likely be able to count on better-than-average hiring prospects.

What the Data Shows

According to 2013 data from Monster.com, health care workers are optimistic about their chances of finding a job within the next 12 months. The survey found registered nurse is the No. 1 health care job and nurses are the most optimistic about finding a job.

Bureau of Labor Statistics says demand for registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is a faster-than-average rate of growth for a job in the United States. An aging population and advancements in medical care are the main reasons behind this expected level of growth in nursing.

BSN is a Valuable Credential

Nurses graduating from bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs are much more likely to receive a job offer upon graduating than any other field, according to a November 2013 report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

“Having credentials is immensely helpful,” says Nancy Brook, MSN, RN, NP, at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. “A bachelor’s degree at the minimum is not only helpful when applying for a position, but hospitals that carry the Magnet® certification will not hire nurses without this degree.”

According to the AACN study, 59 percent of bachelor’s of science in nursing graduates had job offers at the time of graduation, compared to 29.3 percent of all professions across the nation. Four to six months after graduation, 89 percent of BSN graduates had found a nursing job.

In addition, 67 percent of nurses who graduated from an entry-level master’s program found a job at the time of graduation, and a whopping 90 percent had found a nursing job four to six months after graduation.

You Still Need to Be Great at Nursing

Even as some areas of the country are seeing a nursing shortage, organizations are getting pickier about hiring. More organizations are interested in hiring for fit, not just filling a position, says Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA and CEO of Baird Group.

“Gone are the days when managers will settle for warm bodies to fill a shift,” she explains. “Today, the patient experience has direct financial ramifications for hospitals. Dissatisfied patients cost the hospital in lost reimbursement.” Because of that, more nurse leaders are using behavioral interviewing techniques to better predict how well a nursing candidate will fit with their organization’s culture.

“Patient satisfaction is so closely entwined with nursing that managers need to ensure they are hiring for more than the degree and the technical skills,” Baird explains. “They are looking for communication, critical thinking and interpersonal skills as well. Nurse leaders now realize that they must ensure that the people they hire are attuned to, and committed to, patient and family centered care.”

Additional Skills Offer an Edge

Nurses with broader skills will continue to be in demand as well. For example, Jeremy Enck, vice president of sales at Fortus Healthcare Resources, says he’s seen a trend toward more organizations looking for nurses who speak more than one language.

“Any language,” can be useful, he says. “If you’re flexible on location and put the time to into getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing and have the ability to pick up an extra language, you will be extremely valuable in the nursing market.”