One-third of nurses in America are older than 50, and nearly 1 million are planning to retire in the next decade, according to a recent study by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professionals and National Center for Health Workforce Analysis.
The number of nurses retiring soon is just one factor for why the demand for nurses continues to increase. See three more reasons nursing is a valuable career — and offers a wealth of opportunities — below!
Baby boomers are growing older and requiring more care. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that registered nurse employment will grow 19 percent through 2022, primarily because of an aging population that suffers from arthritis, diabetes and dementia. While nurses will still be needed at hospitals and doctor’s offices, the demand for nurses at home health centers, nursing homes and long-term care facilities will be even greater.
Healthcare reform allows more people to have access to health services. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided millions with health insurance, increasing the demand for nurses in hospitals and clinics. Additionally, the ACA ensures that more people take advantage of preventive care, and nurses are needed to conduct physicals, well-woman exams and check-ups.
Hospitals are pressured to discharge patients faster. While it used to be common to spend a week or more in the hospital for a serious illness, hospitals today release patients more quickly because of financial concerns — which means that these patients are often treated at home or at care centers. Nurses are needed to staff these facilities, as well as outpatient centers and doctor’s offices that provide care once only available at hospitals.
Nursing continues to be a rewarding career for many, and the bright job outlook offers both new and seasoned nurses opportunities to work in a variety of settings.