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Opportunities Abound in Healthcare

Job openings in healthcare abound. The forecast for opportunities in the health sector remain strong and keep growing. The news is good for nurses, because they continue to be in high demand. And the pandemic has driven the need for qualified nurses like registered nurses (RNs) who have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program even higher.

What Is the Latest Information About Employment in the United States?

The pandemic upended the job market, resulting in double digit employment rates in periods of 2020. The economy has since rebounded, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that the unemployment rate declined to 3.6% in March 2022.

That equates to roughly six million unemployed people. While this figure is still slightly higher than the amount of people who were unemployed in February 2020 (5.7 million), it is a far cry from unemployment at the height of the pandemic.

While job markets have been volatile during the pandemic, the need for and employment of healthcare workers has logically remained very high.

What About Job Growth in the U.S.?

BLS projects employment in all occupations to grow at a rate of 7.7% from 2020 to 2030. Job growth in healthcare occupations is expected to be much faster, projected at 16% from 2020 to 2030. The healthcare sector is projected to add about 2.6 million jobs during this time period, more than any other occupational group.

What Are the Reasons for Strong Job Growth in Healthcare?

According to the most recent data from combined government sources, the number of Americans age 65 and older was 54.1 million in 2019, a 36% increase from 2009. That means over one in seven Americans are 65 and older.

The projected population of Americans in this age group is estimated to reach 94.7 million in 2060. That translates to nearly one in four U.S. citizens, considering the entire American population is expected to grow to just over 400 million by that time. The population of Americans in the 85 and older age group is expected to grow dramatically as well, more than doubling by 2040.

With a large segment of the population reaching retirement age and beyond, more nurses and healthcare professionals are needed to provide care and services. Older patients are at risk for developing one or more chronic health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer and heart disease.

The nursing workforce is also experiencing turnover since many nurses are nearing or at retirement age. Vacancies need to be filled in order to have enough nurses to care for the rising number of patients.

Plus, the need for nurses surged during the pandemic, exacerbating preexisting nursing shortages. This led to a rise in demand (and pay) for travel nurses who are hired on a contractual, temporary basis. Health Affairs reports that travel nurses’ average wage grew 25% in April 2020, and some travel nurses are earning an astounding $5,000 to $10,000 per week.

What Are the Fastest Growing Nursing Jobs?

Logically, travel nursing increased dramatically during the pandemic, roughly 35% in 2020 alone according to Health Affairs. Travel nursing is expected to continue growing, though demand will likely ebb and flow as circumstances like the pandemic change.

BLS reports that employment of RNs is predicted to increase by 276,800 between 2020 and 2030. Nurse practitioners will see astounding job growth, projected at 52% from 2020 to 2030. These are additional top nursing specialties:

  • Neonatal nurse
  • Nurse midwife
  • Charge nurse
  • ER nurse
  • Dialysis nurse
  • Home health nurse
  • Hospice nurse
  • Pediatric nurse
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse manager

The job market for nurses is expanding. It is fueled by an increasing number of elderly patients, nurse retirements, circumstances like the pandemic and the prevalence of complicated medical conditions.

Nurses with a BSN can advance in their careers, qualify for higher-paying jobs and pursue graduate education and related work in top nursing specialties. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with a BSN because they are prepared to deliver care in the complex healthcare system. RNs with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) can earn a baccalaureate degree in an online RN to BSN program.

Learn more about the Eastern Illinois University online RN to BSN program.

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