According to recent statistics, the average age of a registered nurse, or RN, was 44 years old in 1996. In fact, only about nine percent of registered nurses in the United States were under the age of 30 in 1996, the statistics estimate. The shortage created by the retirement of these more seasoned nurses has led to an increase in job opportunities for those wishing to become an RN.
While it is difficult for nursing programs and schools to accept all qualified applicants because of space and financial constraints, once a person is accepted into a nursing program, the outlook is bright. Many hospitals across the country are suffering from a nursing shortage and seek to hire qualified nursing professionals. Hospitals are seeing spots open as nurses leave because of retirement or increasingly high rates of job burn out. Unfortunately, until the nursing shortage is alleviated, many nurses may still choose to leave their current jobs after a few years because of job stress and frustration.
New Nursing Opportunities
The nursing shortage has created opportunities for registered nurses to practice outside of the hospital environment as well. As the medical community looks toward increased preventative care, nurses can find jobs in family clinics, schools, and outreach facilities. Many nurses even choose to work in the home. As the baby boomer population ages, more nurses may choose to provide their services at home, going to the patient instead of the patient coming to them. Many patients and nurses may prefer the home environment to the sometimes sterile and uninviting environment of the hospital. Another benefit of working in the home is that nurses can enjoy a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere versus the hectic and stressful atmosphere of a busy hospital or emergency ward.
It is beneficial to attend a program at a college or university and to weigh your options in deciding which way to branch out in the field of nursing. With such a dramatic shortage taking place and increasing every day, the job outlook for nurses—and thus the job opportunities—is growing faster than would-be nurses can keep up.