The overall outlook for the nursing industry is favorable, and has been even during the rough economic times. Nurses are in constant demand, but finding a job for new graduates can be highly competitive, especially in particular fields. While the healthcare industry continues to grow and expand, more and more students are enrolling in competitive nursing programs.
One of the primary duties of a nurse is to monitor the health of a populationor patient pool within a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or clinic. While there are a number of situations and practices that a nurse must carry out, the specialty of the nursing practice will determine the primary tasks. A family practice nurse may prepare the patient for the doctor to treat them by washing a wound, taking medical history information, or gathering vital statistics such as the blood pressure.
On a typical day a nurse may see 10-20 patients, depending on where the medical facility is located and how busy the office or center is. In 2010, nursing staff on average saw between 12-15 patients per day. In busy urgent care facilities this number may be double the national average. As growing populations rise, the healthcare needs also increase. Nurses can expect larger caseloads as time goes on.
Standard Working Conditions
Mostnurses work for medical centers, hospitals, clinics, government agencies or non-profit groups and organizations. The aim of the nurse is to improve the well being of the population being treated. Some nurses work alone, while others work in a busy environment alongside a team of nurses and medical staff. The role of the nurse is to work alongside a doctor or team of doctors to offer support in the treatment of patients. Depending on the specialty and location of work, many nurses work traditional daytime hours, although some work evening and night shifts with occasional weekend and holiday work.
Some nurses must travel, such as a public health nurse or home health nurse. Some may travel locally or regionally to perform the duties of their job into low-income neighborhoods or other areas of the country.
Job Outlook and Salary for the Nursing Field
The outlook for the nurse career is increasing and expected to gain momentum with regards to employment and salary over the nextdecade. Registered nurses are in demand for underserved and low-income populations and the effort to bring health education services to these communities is needed. Many government and state agencies are hiring more nurses to satisfy the demand for health care needs. Some of these nursing programs are designed for a public health nurse, but many are also involved with private practices.
Bilingual nurses are in high demand due to the diversity of populations served by the nursing community. Spanish speaking nurses are hot commodities in many areas of the country.
The average salary for the registered nurse is approximately $45,000 and expected to increase over the next five years. While salaries vary depending on location, many who have been in the field for more than five to ten years can expect to earn well over $55,000 per year. Nurses who move into leadership roles, such as director, manager or administrator can expect to earn anywhere between $70,000 and $100,000 annually.
The overall outlook for the nursing field is promising and the hiring trends are expected to increase throughout the upcoming years. As the elderly population grows with baby boomers reaching their golden and twilight years, we can expect to see a demand for more nurses throughout the country. Retirement communities and states that cater to the elderly crowd can expect to see growing demands on the nursing community.