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Career Outlook for Registered Nurses

Apr 08, 2010

Thinking of becoming a registered nurse? Then you will probably be glad to know that the career outlook for registered nurses is very good. If you get started with training and education now, within the next few years when you graduate there will likely be a host of job opportunities available in hospitals and care centers all across North America.

For women back in the 1950s and 1960s, some of the only good paying job opportunities available were in the field of nursing, which is probably why to this day the majority of nurses are women (although men are just as welcome in this challenging field). However, the drawback to this employment trend is that now the bulk of these women are getting ready to retire, meaning that shortly there is going to be a health care crisis as hospitals and other critical care centers struggle to fill the gap.

On top of this unsettling trend is the fact that the bulk of the population is reaching their golden years, and soon they will be putting an increased burden on the system. This two-fold issue may be a serious problem for health care organizations, but it is a boom for anyone wishing to find a good job in health care, particularly registered nurses. Those who are trained in this field can expect to have their choice of jobs at very, very reasonable wages.

In the United States, the number of jobs as registered nurses in 2008 numbered an astounding 2.6 million – making it the largest health care occupation in the country. Over 60 percent of these jobs were held in hospitals, while only 8 percent were in physician’s offices, and 5 percent each in home health care and nursing homes. From 2008 to 2018, it is expected that the number of registered nursing jobs will increase by an incredible 22 percent, meaning over 500,000 more job openings will be created.

However, one should note that the growth in the need for registered nurses will not be the same for all industries. The need for RNs in hospitals is only expected to grow 17 percent, while registered nursing positions in physician’s offices are going to grow by 48 percent. Which means that you may want to ensure that you are prepared and trained to work somewhere other than a hospital, in case the right job comes along.

Meanwhile, many people are finding it difficult to become a registered nurse, because at the same time the RNs are retiring, so are the instructors who train them. If you keep at it though you can expect to have many job offers at your door as hospitals and other care facilities vie for your talent. In fact, many employers are offering “out of the box” benefits to attract and keep new RNs – including signing bonuses, flexible schedules, and free or subsidized training.

If you really want to be valuable as a registered nurse you may want to get advanced training in a specialty that is in even higher demand. There is a larger need for clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and nurse anesthetists in the country, especially in lower income neighborhoods where nurses serve as the primary care provider.

The average wage for a registered nurse was $62,450 in 2008, which is very reasonable. It is expected that as the demand for registered nurses rises, so will the expected salary. Those who decide to become specialists will likely be paid more, depending on the demographic and where they work.

Registered nurses are needed, so if you think that you would like working with people and helping deliver great health care then this may be the perfect career for you.

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