Nursing Notes

December 9, 2009

Registered nurses in high demand as well-paying field continues to grow

Filed under: Nursing — Shirley @ 2:44 pm
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Here is another article about the nursing shortage.  This one is very interesting because of the numbers.  Looks like any job in the health care field may be a good bet.  Maybe time to look into going back to school?


By Kaye Spector, The Plain Dealer

December 08, 2009, 6:00AM

heatlh-care-earnings-nursing-jobs.jpgView full sizeWhat’s the prescription to recession-proof your employability? Get a nursing degree.

As baby boomers age and the need for health care grows, and with the nationwide nurse shortage, registered nurse jobs are projected to increase nationally by 500,000 by 2016, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau counted about 2.5 million RNs across the country in May.

Nursing is a good choice, too, for wages.

Not counting doctors and dentists, nursing salaries typically are among the highest in any large occupational field. Average annual RN wages are $65,130.

Although the job pays well, the nursing shortage is going to get worse, predicts Gingy Harshey-Meade, chief executive officer of Ohio Nurses Association.

The national RN shortage is expected to grow from 8 percent in 2009 to 12 percent in 2010 and to 29 percent by 2020, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s equal to having more than 808,000 too few RNs by 2020.

The problem isn’t a lack of people wanting to go into nursing. Rather, it’s the lack of nursing educators.

A university teaching job typically pays significantly less than a position in a hospital. So — particularly when economic times are tough — many nurses with the advanced education necessary to teach choose to keep working in hospitals.

With the average age of those teaching in nursing programs now 55, the need for educators becomes even more acute in the face of anticipated retirements.

A recent survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found that 62.8 percent of all responding nursing schools had faculty vacancies that they needed to fill, translating into an overall 7.6 percent faculty vacancy rate.

“Salary in higher education is a more pervasive issue and one that can’t be solved for a given profession,” says Patricia Underwood, associate dean for academic programs and associate professor at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.

Tuition is another obstacle to luring nurses into becoming educators.

CWRU this year received a large federal grant for student loans that covers tuition and obligates students to pay back only 15 percent if they take nursing-educator courses and work as a nurse faculty member for four years.

This fall’s federal stimulus funding broadened the eligibility pool from doctoral students to master’s students. CWRU also offers nursing-education fellowships.

“If we are going to address the larger issue of the nursing shortage, we have to address, first and foremost, the faculty shortage,” Underwood says. “Starting more programs is not the answer. We have to increase the capacity of existing programs.”

The field of pharmacy — the other high-paying health care occupation, aside from doctors and dentists — has a little different story.

Pharmacists earn an average of $104,260 a year, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But growth in jobs will be much smaller, with projections for 2016 only 30,000 more than this year. The bureau counted 266,000 U.S. pharmacists in May.

More pharmacy schools have opened in the past decade, increasing from 80 to 110, reports the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The number of colleges in Ohio alone doubled from four to eight in the past eight years or so.

“The combination of having more pharmacy schools mixed with more female pharmacists coming back into the job market — now we’re beginning to see the shortage decline,” says Ernest Boyd, executive director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association.

“For the moment, pharmacists are paid well in the jobs that they have.”

Contact Kaye Spector: or 216-999-3904.

To read the original article>>click here

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  1. […] Registered nurses in high demand as well-paying field continues to … […]

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