Nursing Career Outlook – Investigate Job Security for nurses

by | Jun 22, 2021 | Podcasts, Nurse Life, Professional Development for Nurses | 0 comments

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Exploring the nursing career outlook is essential for those considering or already immersed in the field. In this article, we delve into the promising trajectory of nursing careers and we will investigate job security for nurses.

Also, we will provide valuable tips to create personal sustainability in the nursing career. 

Who You’ll Hear

Kati Kleber, MSN RN– Nurse educator, former cardiac med-surg/stepdown and neurocritical care nurse, author, and speaker.

What You’ll Learn

  • Facts about nursing career outlook and factors influencing nursing job security.
  • Personal sustainability in the nursing career and tips about how to successfully achieve this.
  • How it’s not just about earning more money – it’s about how you SPEND the money you earn
  • The importance of being intentional with your career
  • Practical ways you can craft your dream career while balancing home and work
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Nursing Career Outlook

Nursing offers a bright outlook for those seeking a stable and rewarding career. Here’s a breakdown of the job security nurses can expect:

  • High Demand: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 6% growth in registered nurse (RN) employment from 2022 to 2032, exceeding the average for all occupations. This translates to roughly 190,360 new job openings annually over the next decade.
  • Aging Population: The aging population is a significant factor driving this growth. As more people live longer, the need for healthcare services, including nursing care, increases significantly.
  • Retiring Workforce: A large portion of the current nursing workforce is nearing retirement age. This creates a wave of vacancies that need to be filled by new graduates.

As you can see, with high demand driven by the factors discussed above, the outlook for nursing careers shines brightly, promising stability and opportunities for those entering or already established in the field.

While the overall outlook is positive, exploring job security within specific nursing specialties and locations is wise. Here are some resources to help you delve deeper:

  • The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook: This comprehensive resource provides detailed job outlook information for various nursing specialties, including salary ranges and geographical variations.
  • Professional Nursing Associations: National and regional nursing associations often publish job market reports specific to their regions. These reports can offer valuable insights into local demand for nurses. Some of these associations are the American Nurses Association, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and the American Association of Med-Surg Nurses.

Factors Influencing Nursing Job Security

Job security isn’t solely determined by demand; various factors play a role, such as the following: 

  • Education and Specialization: Earning advanced degrees or specializing in high-demand areas can significantly enhance a nurse’s job security.
    • With a BSN, you can secure entry-level nursing jobs in more competitive markets
    • With an MSN, you can work in leadership, research, education, and more.
    • With an MSN and an APRN license and certification specialty, you can work as a nurse practitioner, CRNA, nurse midwife, CNS, and more. 
    • With various certifications, you are a more marketable and desirable candidate.
  • Geographic Considerations: Job markets vary by location, and certain regions may offer nurses more opportunities and better job security.
    • Your geographic flexibility can significantly expand your job prospects.
    • Many nurses choose to relocate for better career opportunities. For example, large urban research facilities will have many more nursing units and specialties. They may have a transplant ICU, multiple levels of NICUs, neuro ICU, many pediatric options, and more. 
    • Rural and underserved areas often offer financial incentives and a strong sense of community for nurses.
  • Stability in Healthcare Sectors: The stability of healthcare sectors, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities, influences job security.
    • Hospitals generally offer the most stability, but funding and staffing challenges can impact clinics and long-term care facilities.
    • Research the healthcare organization’s health and focus on in-demand specialties.

Despite the positive outlook, nurses may still encounter uncertainties in the job market. Strategies for navigating these uncertainties include networking, staying adaptable, and seeking mentorship.

Personal Sustainability in a Nursing Career – How to Succeed

Nursing can be a demanding profession, both physically and mentally. To ensure a long and fulfilling career, nurses need to focus on their well-being and develop sustainable work habits. Here are some ways to achieve this:

  • Introspective Questions to Ask Yourself:
    • Can I do this for 30 years? Some may be able to, while others won’t desire to do nights for decades or would like holidays off eventually. 
    • How long can I do this?
      • If you’re complacent, make sure you’re keeping yourself challenged.
      • Join committees, and look for different ways to keep yourself interested and engaged – no one will do that for you.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance: Setting boundaries and prioritizing personal time outside of work is crucial to prevent burnout.

  • Seeking Support: Having a solid support system, whether colleagues, mentors, or mental health professionals, can help nurses navigate challenging situations.
  • Continuing Education and Professional Development: Staying updated on advancements in nursing practice can keep the job stimulating and rewarding.
  • Be Intentional About How you Structure your Career:
    • Leverage your position as a tool, not this uncompromising aspect of your identity.
    • A nursing job is a position that provides joy and an income.
    • Many of us default to saying “yes” to things even if they are not in our best interest to avoid disappointing people.
      • Repeatedly doing this leads to burnout
      • Your needs will not be met, but the hospitals will be – make sure you’re advocating for yourself.

It’s Not Just About Making More Money

  • Don’t look at nursing through the lens of making the most money possible.
    • Some people who earn a lot misspend it or in ways that are not advantageous in the long run.
    • Consider how many hours you work, how much you take home, your fixed costs, and how much workable income you’ve got left after.
    • Some people with high-income levels (and longer work hours) have large unnecessary costs that leave them with similar amounts of leftover cash.

Exploring Beyond a Full-Time Bedside Position 

  • Go part-time or PRN; supplement income with a side hustle or be PRN in another facility
  • Move to outpatient care
  • Become a school nurse
  • Tele-health
  • Insurance companies
  • Expert witnesses for nurses – more info in the resources section
  • Biometric clinic
  • Immunization clinic
  • Cardiac Rehab
  • Public Health

Why Wait Until Retirement to Start Enjoying Life?

  • A nursing degree and license are VALUABLE tools that you can use to craft your own dream career.
  • It does NOT have to be 30 years at the bedside or taking on a mountain of debt to move up income levels.

Action steps

  • Analyze your finances to see where you can optimize, cut wasteful spending, etc. This book has a great 6-week blueprint to overhaul and optimize your finances.
  • Consider if you want to stay in your job, and what it would take to make it worth it (negotiating a raise, getting creative with hours and committees to decrease bedside time and make it more sustainable).
  • Check out Crafting Your Dream Career for even more tips!
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More Resources for Achieving Sustainability:

  • I Will Teach You to Be Rich – a book that I love with actionable steps to optimize finances.
  • Expert Witness Nurses – a great side gig for nurses.
  • Crafting your Dream Career – the ULTIMATE resource for people looking to get creative with their nursing degree to maximize it for your unique needs. Community support, being able to post and discuss anonymously, content on top questions (what about insurance and retirement?) and so much more.
  • The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE): NEFE is a non-profit organization that provides free financial education resources and tools, including information on budgeting, saving for retirement, and managing student loan debt.
  • Financial Planning Apps: Several mobile apps can help you track your spending, create a budget, and set financial goals. Look for reputable apps with strong security features.

Overall, a nursing career offers a high degree of job security. The aging population, coupled with a growing healthcare sector and an aging workforce, creates a strong demand for qualified nurses.

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    Picture of Kati Kleber, founder of FRESHRN

    Hi, I’m Kati.

    Kati Kleber, MSN RN is a nurse educator, author, national speaker, host of the FreshRN® Podcast, and owner of FreshRN® – an online platform created to educate, encourage, and motivate newly licensed nurses in innovative ways.

    Connect with her on YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign-up for her free email newsletter for new nurses.

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