Slow job market for nurses just a temporary blip, health care experts say

  1. 1
    The recession has finally caught up to nursing, the so-called "recession-proof" job.

    But experts say the demand for nurses won't be slowed for long.

    Evidence of the now-lagging nursing job market is anecdotal and inconsistent; no definitive figures exist. But Betty Sue McGarvey, president of the Baptist College of Health Science, doesn't need a thermometer to know it's cold outside.

    Most of her nursing students used to have job offers even before they graduated. Finding employment now can be a process that takes months, she said.

    "It's a rewarding career and one that has stability as far as employment goes," McGarvey said. "We encourage our students and tell them the stability is still there, but it may take you longer to find that first position you want."

    The job-market cool-down follows a frenzied surge in 2007-2008 in which hospitals alone added an estimated 243,000 nurses, according to researchers from Vanderbilt University, the Congressional Budget Office and Dartmouth College. The spike was the largest two-year increase in nursing jobs over the prior 30 years.

    Experts say the current slowdown won't be a long-term, prevailing trend.

    Full Article: Slow job market for nurses just a temporary blip, health care experts say The Commercial Appeal

    What do you think?
    Do you think this slowdown is short-term or a long-term trend?
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 25 Comments so far...

  4. 19
    The slow down is long term in my opinion. Although most hospitals are not for profit, they still must make money to remain open. Nurses are seen as a financial drain to the hospital, and therefore nurses will be forced to do more with less. Even if the economy turns around, with nurses already working shorthanded, the bean counters are already counting the money they will safe by not hiring adequate staff.
    nursel56, KeyMaster, ♪♫ in my ♥, and 16 others like this.
  5. 4
    I don't think we will know until job growth picks up again.

    My inner psychic says job growth will probably keep pace with economic recovery, so hopefully things will start getting better within the next decade.

    However, personal anecdotal evidence: my hospital has slowed hiring drastically and has increased the patient:nurse, patient:CNA, and patient:support staff ratios on every unit I've been on in the past 6 months (I float a lot). They've even cut down on cafeteria offerings. Only two lines open on the weekends, and neither is open 24/7. (Previously had four lines and two self-serve bars 24/7.) They tell us this is in preparation for 2014, so I don't see things getting better for at least 4 years.

    I don't think we'll see the same kind of boom like 2007-2008 again in this generation, that's for sure.
    cherryames1949, Otessa, Skeletor, and 1 other like this.
  6. 16
    The article pretty much restates comments from members here about what they think is the cause of the current situation and what they surmise will alleviate it (healthcare reform, retiring nurses and baby boomers aging) which is really unprecedented. The article acknowledges that nursing jobs were well insulated in previous recessions, and that was my experience in California having lived through economic downturns since the mid-70s. Things were so starkly different then than they are now it's extremely difficult to see how the pendulum could swing back that far.

    Also, it completely ignores the burgeoning numbers of task-specific tech jobs that are paid quite a bit less than RNs. The "RN" doesn't exist in a vacuum yet so many of these articles are framed as if they do, and the people interviewed for these articles are often entities with an agenda such as the AACN and the ANA.
  7. 24
    Hospitals along with healthcare are firmly under being run as a "business", and like any other sort of enterprise they are learning how to do "more with less". How this will affect nursing and the numbers of nurses hired in future is anyone's guess, but hif history is any guide absent mandated staffing ratios expect to see all manner and sorts of schemes to avoid increasing oabour costs.

    Years ago you would never have heard of a "bed huddle" and or nurses being sent home if census didn't warrant full staffing; you reported for duty, and if there wasn't enough work to go around tough cheese on the hospital, you still remained for the entire shift (and got paid).

    Many hospitals are looking at "demand" models for nurses on some units such as OR. Rather than bring a full shift of nurses for say 7-3, even if the first operation is not scheduled until 11am, the nurses assigned to cover that particular room will be brought in at 10am. The idea is to use nursing staff effectively efficiently, and to reduce costs including overtime.

    Also as mentioned upthread, there is the expanded use of UAPs, who are being assigned former "nurse tasks" in increasing numbers.

    Finally as I've stated often on threads such as this, these "predictions" of a mass exdous of seasoned nurses (once the economy improves), and or via retirement simply because they have reached a certain age may also turn out to be a crock.

    Many nurses are in the same boat as others in this economy. They are un or under employed, are in homes that are "under water", have seen the value of their investments drop, savings dwindle, and so forth. It is going to take quite allot of "improvement" in the economy to lift such boats. Not to mention nurse's whose spouses cannot nor likely ever will find employment with wages they once had. Let us not forget nurses with not only spouses but other family members going through hard times, (children, grandchildren, parents, etc), looking to them to help out as well. In short many nurses regardless of how "good" things get will need (not want) to work much longer than they ever thought.

    When people are scared by a dramatic economic event, the effect tends to live with them usually for the rest of their lives. Just ask anyone who lived through the "Great Depression", or was brought up by someone who did.
    KeyMaster, ♪♫ in my ♥, Start2, and 21 others like this.
  8. 17
    Quote from nursel56
    Also, it completely ignores the burgeoning numbers of task-specific tech jobs that are paid quite a bit less than RNs. The "RN" doesn't exist in a vacuum yet so many of these articles are framed as if they do, and the people interviewed for these articles are often entities with an agenda such as the AACN and the ANA.
    These articles are also based on statements from employees and recruiters of trade schools and nursing programs, who gladly paint a brighter than reasonable picture in order to keep enrollments up and financial aid coming in.
    GooeyRN, KeyMaster, MtBpsy9609, and 14 others like this.
  9. 10
    Let us not forget the ever-expanding nursing education system. My alma mater turns out 35 BSNs a semester on top of the 40 RNs graduating each semester from the local JC. Everyone ran to nursing because it was percieved as the cash-cow... not quite unlike the CS majors of the late 90s. I for one, am thankful that the Army still had openings... and even the military positions are filling up at record pace. Not a pretty horizon regardless what the economists say.
    MtBpsy9609, lyceeboo, Fixit, and 7 others like this.
  10. 12
    No it's not a blip. I agree that spinning the nurse glut as if it's a temporary blip is propaganda the nursing schools and hospitals want the public to believe so that they always have a large supply of new grads. I know many experienced RN's who have been looking for work for well over a year.

    Actually I remember as early as 1998 being sent home whenever the hospital deemed that census was "low". In all the yrs in hospitals I've seldom had a 'light' patient load because the cut off for what defines "low census" is whatever the hospital administration says it was.

    All jobs have occasional 'light' work days...But in nursing if it looks like you might have a 'light' day you get sent home without pay.
    KeyMaster, MtBpsy9609, caliotter3, and 9 others like this.
  11. 6
    Quote from justOrtho
    No it's not a blip. I agree that spinning the nurse glut as if it's a temporary blip is propaganda the nursing schools and hospitals want the public to believe so that they always have a large supply of new grads. I know many experienced RN's who have been looking for work for well over a year.

    Actually I remember as early as 1998 being sent home whenever the hospital deemed that census was "low". In all the yrs in hospitals I've seldom had a 'light' patient load because the cut off for what defines "low census" is whatever the hospital administration says it was.

    All jobs have occasional 'light' work days...But in nursing if it looks like you might have a 'light' day you get sent home without pay.
    You may be onto something there!

    Those of us around remember the 1980's when even though there was a "shortage of nurses", programs were closing down left and right for lack of students. If word gets out and is taken to heart by the general public that nursing isn't the sure bet being shouted from the house-tops, many may start looking elsewhere, enrollments will decline, and the whole cycle could start all over again.

    However will say some state education departments need to take a look at the number and type of nursing programs in a local area, versus hospitals and other facilities available to hire. Here in NYC we have lost >5 hospitals in the past two years, and several have merged. Yet we still have the same number of nursing programs cranking out grads like clockwork every six or twelve months.
    Fixit, hope3456, lindarn, and 3 others like this.
  12. 5
    I always get a chuckle when I read how bad things are, or rather how bad some people think they are. It is surely true this is a difficult period for employment, especially for new graduates. However, I would contend that the field of nursing, in general, has a better outlook than just about any other profession both in terms of finding work and job stability.

    What really makes me laugh though is when people talk about how horrible things are and that things will not ever be as good as they were. Ever is a long time and if we look back at history, that looks like a pretty bad position to bet on. Nurses who went back to work won't retire when things get better? Why not? They already did once, if you recall.

    Anyone who can tell you exactly what will happen in the future is lying to you. When things seem so bad at the moment, it is often hard to remove oneself and look at things logically from a historical perspective, but that gives a far likelier picture than shouting that the sky is falling.

    I'll be looking for the post now on how this downturn is different than anything the world has ever seen and that is the reason why things will never be the same. I think, again looking historically, that is a shortsighted position.

    From a strictly selfish standpoint I wish even more people shouted about how there is a nursing glut and that new grads will never find jobs and that the future of nursing is doomed, as that will provide more opportunities for people who do some critical thinking and don't just buy into the fud and panic those around them are throwing out.

    Personally, I'll take a historically-based statistical model projecting a likely future of nursing rather than what someone just "knows".

    My $.02
    DC Collins, Ddestiny, JacobK, and 2 others like this.


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