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Demand for Nurses
Nurses may be the most in-demand health care position in the country.

The Growing Need for Registered Nurses

April 24th, 2009


Registered nurses account for the largest occupation in healthcare, having held about 2.6 million jobs in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hospitals employed the majority of nurses with 60%, while 8% worked in physicians’ offices, 10% in home healthcare and nursing care facilities, and the remainder mostly worked in government agencies and in education.

Registered nurses treat patients, educate the general public on health safety and awareness, and provide advice, support, and updates for their patients’ families. They are responsible for maintaining patients’ medical records and staying current with patients’ symptoms and medicinal dosages. Additionally, nurses perform tests on patients and analyze the results, operate medical machinery used in testing, and ensure that patients are taking medications correctly. Nurses are also responsible for promoting the general welfare of their patients and checking in on them from time to time.

The bureau predicts overall employment opportunities for registered nurses to be excellent in the coming years, with employment opportunities for registered nurses expected to grow much faster than the average occupation. Mostly because new nurses are needed to fill positions in which experienced nurses have left, and the fact that the healthcare field is one of fastest growing fields, more than 580,000 new nursing jobs are expected in the coming years. A 22% growth in nurse occupations by 2018 will be strongly driven by technological advances in patient care and an increasing importance and emphasis on wellness and preventive care.

Since there are a number of industries associated with registered nurses, they will not be growing at the same pace or rate. Nurses in physicians’ offices and home healthcare services will see the biggest increase in need, while hospitals and employment services will experience the least. Rapid growth is expected in outpatient and rehabilitation facilities, due largely to the fact that these institutions will need more help because of patients being discharged and moved through hospitals quicker, as more procedures are done on an outpatient basis due to technological advances.