America is suffering from a nursing shortage as more and more registered nurses (RNs) retire but are not replaced. One survey showed that less than 10 percent of RNs are under the age of 30. As the Baby Boomers age, more nurses retire from work, while more people require medical assistance and health care. A further complication impacting the shortage is that nursing schools do not have the resources to accept every qualified applicant. However, once you have been admitted, you have many options before you regarding your career.
The retirement of aging RNs, while part of the greater problem, means that young nurses are seeing an increase in job opportunities. As the staffing shortage hit hospitals across the country, they began seeking out qualified nursing professionals not just to fill vacated positions, but to meet increasing demand.
Apart from hospitals, there are other unique opportunities for registered nurses. For people more comfortable outside a strictly hospital environment, nurses are also being sought for positions in clinics, patient outreach facilities, homes, and schools. Catering to the Baby Boomer generation, there are more neighborhood health centers popping up, and an ever larger number of people looking for at-home nursing care. Many nurses who have left their jobs at hospitals prefer working in homes, visiting patients instead of having patients visit them. It offers a quiet, relaxed, familiar environment that is easier on some than the high-paced, stressful atmosphere of larger hospitals and emergency rooms. Between the nursing shortage, new programs implemented by hospitals designed to make work less stressful for nurses (and retain employees longer), and increasing options for work outside the hospital, professionals with nursing degrees have an exciting range of options in terms of how to put their degree to use.