Nursing, as was predicted by many major players in the economics and healthcare industries, continues to grow and remains one of the most hirable professions in America today.
But recent numbers are showing that while the traditional in-hospital work of nurses continues to grow due to the aging of the baby-boomer generation, community-based nursing is also growing. Around 76% of new nurses got jobs in hospitals in 2012, compared to 87% in 2005. So where are the other nurses going for work? Providing team-based medical care in non-traditional environments.
“The percentage of experienced hospital nurses going into ‘community jobs’ will increase as the jobs in case management and ambulatory care are seen as more desirable,” says Christine Kovner. She is the professor of geriatric nursing and co-director of the RN Work Project, an organization that studies the growth patterns of the nursing profession, among other things.
More nurses are opting to work in organizations such as ACR Homes in Minnesota, rather than traditional hospitals. ACR is a residential support company that services those with physical and/or developmental disabilities, alongside care for the elderly. ACR furnishes and prepares homes for clients to live in where staff come and work. ACR uses nurses to see that needs are being met and that quality of life is as high as possible for residents, and these nurses train other staff to administer treatments, assist with meals, and even pass medications. An RN in this environment is a leader, where in some hospital environments nurses can feel like supplementary staff compared to the medical doctors or surgeons they work with.
Rethinking how a nurse’s education can be applied is part of the reason the nursing profession is changing, though it also is part of a larger move in the health industry. There is a trend shifting from hospitals as fee-for-service operations, to medical health advocates pushing for continued health and early detection of problems. Nurses with higher education who take leadership positions, like the ones available in companies like ACR, are going to continue to change the game in the American healthcare industry.