How Easy Is It to Find Nursing Jobs after School?

How Easy Is It to Find Nursing Jobs after School?

Mar 22, 2015 | 11:00 am

Due to the decade-long nursing shortage, we’ve heard how easy it is to find nursing jobs for years, but is this still the case, or do new graduates face new challenges? Depending on level of education, work location and medical specialty, some new grads struggle to enter the field while others continue to find nursing jobs easily. Let’s take a look at what research shows about nursing job prospects both now and in the future.

Harder to Find Nursing Jobs? Not for Long

Some say the nursing field is almost saturated. Both a 2012 Bloomberg article and a study from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center conclude that the steady influx of nurses in past years resulted in an end to the nursing shortage. But research also predicts another nursing shortage to come… soon.

While the last few years may have been harder to find nursing jobs for some, experts agree that another—and perhaps bigger—shortage is on its way. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the United States is expected to see a shortage of RNs that will only intensify for the following reasons:

•Large-scale nursing workforce faces retirement
•Aging baby boomer population requires more care
•Increased number of Americans gain medical insurance through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
•Shortage of nursing school faculty limits the number of program enrollees

Nursing Job Projections Look Good

What does all of this mean for today’s grads looking to find nursing jobs right out of school? Even though applicants flooded schools and jobs during the earlier nursing shortage, there continues to be a need both now and in the near future.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs ) usually attend community college programs or vocational schools for a little over one year before starting basic staff-nurse positions. While the nursing community encourages increased levels of education, the Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS still predicts employment increases for LPNs and LVNs of up to 25 percent between 2012 and 2022, reporting a median annual wage of $41,540 (as of May 2012) for LPNs.

Registered Nurses are ready to find nursing jobs after attending a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, a two-year associate program or a nursing diploma program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). According to the BLS, RNs have a projected employment growth of 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than average for all occupations, and stand to earn a median annual income of $65,470.

Advanced Practice Nurses (APRNs), such as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners provide specialty patient health care and hold a Master of Science in Nursing as well as licensure and national certification. The BLS predicts an amazing 31 percent job growth for this field between 2012 and 2022, as well as a media annual income of $96,460.

The numbers speak for themselves, and so even with more nurses entering the field each year, we see a continue need for more… especially in the next few years.