It’s a great time to be a nurse in the United States.
Many hospitals and health care services have begun offering bonus incentives and competing salaries to help bolster their struggling staffing quotas. That means nurses are once again in high demand in various health care markets as employers try to accommodate a wave of retiring nurses and an influx of unfilled positions within the industry, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The job market for nurses has been fairly stagnant in recent years. However, thanks to the Affordable Care Act generating insurance coverage for even more patients, the need for more nurses has spiked. The surge of medical positions in areas outside of hospitals has also contributed to the growing need for more nurses. Nursing is now considered the fifth-largest profession in the U.S.
Jane Englebright, the senior vice president and chief nursing officer for the biggest American hospital firm, HCA Holdings Inc., told the Wall Street Journal that many markets are offering increased pay options. Companies are also offering sign-on bonuses of up to $15,000 to help lure nurses to their facilities.
Nurses typically make between $66,000 to $68,000, according to a 2014 report from the American Nurses Association, so hospitals are hoping their competitive bonuses woo candidates who will help them meet staffing needs, WSJ reported. Even first-year nurses can earn thousands for signing with certain facilities.
Although national nursing figures show there will be enough graduates to make up for the flood of retiring nurses, there are concerns that there won’t be enough people to accommodate needs in areas like New England and along the West Coast later down the line.
The American Nurses Association projected there would be a 20.2 percent increase for nurse employment across the nation between 2012 and 2022, accounting for more than 3.44 million positions total. However, there were 10 states — Texas, California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan and Massachusetts — that were expected to absorb half of the job growth, which could still create a need for nurses in several other locations.
"We need to make sure these nurses have the training and preparation for the changing health care field," health care economist and Montana State University professor Peter Buerhaus told HealthLine last year.