Job market heats up for nurses

Doctor and nurses wheeling patient in gurney through hospital corridor

Photo credit: Getty/Sam Edwards

The job market is looking particularly good for nurses thanks to a retirement wave amid a shortage of registered nurses.

Although the American Nurses Association estimated that the U.S. will need 1.1 million new RNs by 2022, some states are already facing a shortfall, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Nurses are leaving the workforce faster than they are entering it, according to the article. Part of the reason is that many older nurses held off from retirement after the Great Recession. And though a survey from AMN Healthcare this year indicated that nearly two-thirds of nurses ages 54 or older say they may retire within the next three years, many are retiring now.

“We’re having a retirement wave,” Jane Englebright, senior vice president and chief nursing officer for HCA Holdings Inc., told the WSJ.

The article notes that hospitals across the country are now offering nurses higher wages and sign-on bonuses due to the demand. It is not unusual for some hospitals in Texas, California and Florida to offer signing bonuses as high as $10,000, according to the article.

Shortages are highest in certain pockets of the U.S., such as Texas, according to healthcare economist Peter Buerhaus, a nursing professor at Montana State University. But he predicts shortages will hit New England and the West Coast in the next few years.

Earlier this year Geisinger Health System announced recruitment efforts to attract 1,500 top-level healthcare workers, including nurses, from across the nation to fill new and vacant positions throughout the entire organization, In addition to sign-on bonuses, the system is partnering with nursing schools to hire the best students who pass their licensing test on the first try.

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