Medical Careers: Nursing Still a Good Choice?
For the last couple of years, we’ve been hearing a lot about the fact that among all medical careers nursing is one of the hottest choices. We’ve heard stories about terrible nursing shortages giving graduating students the opportunity to write their own tickets for employment. Yet suddenly that seems to be changing, at least on the surface. According to a National Student Nurses Association survey recently released, some 36% of all nursing graduates from last spring were still unemployed come March 2020.
That begs the question, “is nursing still a good choice?”
Those in the healthcare industry would tell you unequivocally that it is. A closer look at similar surveys suggests the main problem for graduating nurses is job concentration rather than a lack of jobs. In other words, nursing schools tend to be located in major metropolitan areas, not in small towns and rural locations. When nursing students graduate, the natural tendency is for them to look for work in the same city they went to school. There just aren’t enough jobs available for all of those graduates year after year.
Other Contributing Factors
Statistics also suggest that while some medical careers see very regular turnover, the turnover rate in nursing is less than 5%. It would seem that older nurses understand the value of longevity in a particular position and are more reluctant to give it up for greener pastures. More and more they are also forgoing retirement due to the soft economy. Both of these things together dictate that nurses are more likely to stay at a single healthcare facility for a longer period of time. That means fewer job openings for nursing school graduates.
There is some speculation that there will be a spike in the number of nursing jobs available if the Affordable Care Act is upheld by the Supreme Court and is fully implemented in 2018. With tens of thousands of people instantly having access to medical care it’s expected that the need for qualified nurses will explode. However, any spike realized by the healthcare reform law will only be temporary to the extent that eventually the graduation rate of nursing students in major metropolitan areas will once again catch up with the number of jobs available.
For nursing students, increasing the chances of finding employment after graduation means being willing to move elsewhere. There are plenty of medical careers available in mid-sized cities, small towns, rural communities, and so on. Graduates also don’t need to limit themselves just to applying at major hospitals. There are plenty of private practices, public health clinics, schools and universities, and other places looking for qualified nurses. There are even staffing agencies specializing in locum tenens nursing desperately in need of nursing professionals.
The point is medical careers in nursing continue to increase in terms of availability, geographic locations notwithstanding. There still is an overall shortage of nurses nationwide; a shortage not likely to go away even as the American population grows older and utilizes healthcare services more frequently.