Given the events of the pandemic over the last year, and the mass movement of nurses stepping away from the bedside, registered nurses are becoming an issue of supply and demand. Despite 2020 being the ‘year of the nurse’, employers were suffering from huge financial losses and couldn’t do much to incentivize their nurses to stay. COVID-19 drew attention to a healthcare system that was already suffering from a lack of experienced nurses. Nursing students can’t get through school fast enough to fill jobs, yet many employers are demanding experience to be eligible. Practicing RNs are in a position to change their careers in ways that have never been available to them before.
RN Job Growth
Whether registered nurses want to change specialties or are looking for a raise in their current specialty, now is the time to negotiate with facilities to build their careers in the direction of their choosing. According to bls.gov, the employment need is expected to grow 7% by 2029. This is faster than the average for all occupations. That means there will be over 220,000 new job openings in addition to the ones that already exist. Experienced nurses are going to be a commodity as schools graduate new nurses that will flood the market.
Nursing Pay and Experience
Some facilities are offering sign on bonuses up to $25,000 to attract experienced nurses to their open positions. Administrators know that a hospital cannot be run by brand new nurses. They need experienced RNs to provide leadership and guidance to the new graduates. Having an RN license in the coming years will open doors for nurses as the ever-changing and increasingly demanding healthcare system continues to grow into something that can accommodate an aging population.
In addition to the aging population, hospitals are being pressed to shorten their length of stays, which can possibly result in larger censuses in long term acute care centers (LTACS) and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Early discharges are going to increase the need for home health care to reduce the costs of hospital stays. Home health nursing is also a great way for RNs who are burnt out at the bedside to find a new way to connect with patients in a less intense environment.
Are there Enough Nurses?
The COVID pandemic inspired a huge amount of people to apply to nursing school, but any nurse will tell you- nothing compares to experience. RNs hone their assessment skills over the years and become experts in their ability to identify and resolve patients’ problems. As mentioned above, hospitals are already starting to increase their compensation levels to try and entice experienced RNs. The RN license is going to become more valuable in the next few years as hospitals struggle to keep up with their staffing shortages, and this puts nurses in an excellent position to have the job of their dreams and contribute to positive change in healthcare.