More nurses work in the community instead of hospitals

A growing percentage of newly licensed nurses are finding work outside of hospitals, according to a 10-year study that has been tracking U.S. nurses' patterns of employment.

While the majority of new nurses get their first healthcare jobs in hospitals, more and more nurses are working in the community as part of wellness teams and in population health, reported Forbes.

"About 76 percent of new nurses got jobs in U.S. hospitals in 2012 compared to 87 percent in 2005, according to studies conducted by the RN Work Project at New York University, which has been tracking career changes among nurses for a decade," wrote Forbes contributor Bruce Japsen.

The shift away from fee-for-service pay model in healthcare is one of the main engines driving this change, the article said. Increasingly, nurses work in team-based care, in which accountable care organizations or assisted living facilities aim to improve outcomes for patients and increase the quality of care overall. 

Case management jobs and ambulatory care practices are seen as preferable positions over hospital jobs, RN Work Project Co-director Christine Kovner told Forbes. Kovner warned that hospitals could see a "net loss" in qualified nursing personnel as new nurses go straight into jobs in the community and experienced hospital nurses opt for work outside the stress and difficulty of hospital work.

The RN Work Project's findings echo those of an Institute of Medicine study, which found that opportunities for nurses are diversifying and shifting toward "home health agencies, ambulatory care centers, long-term care facilities and other places in the community."

To learn more:
- read the Forbes article
- visit the RN Work Project website
- view an infographic from the RN Work Project regarding newly licensed nurses