Nursing is often considered the recession proof career. While it is possible to cut back in many areas of life when the economy goes south, medical care is not one of those areas. Whether you have plenty of money or very little, you still get sick, or you may get injured. This makes visiting a hospital or doctor a necessity. Very few people stop to think about medical bills before visiting the hospital in the case of an emergency.
Medical careers in general, and nurses in particular, are growing at a rate that is quicker than most other careers. The need for healthcare workers is across the board, with a growing demand in hospitals, long term care facilities, home health care agencies and physicians offices. Nurses are also employed in other settings, such as community health departments, schools and as telephone consultants for managed care providers.
Growing needs for healthcare
One of the factors in the need for more nurses is the aging population of the US. The baby boomer population, the largest in our country’s history, is getting older, and in growing need of medical care. Older patients have different needs than younger ones. This will lead to a growing demand for nurses that are willing to work in the long term care setting as well as nurses that work in home healthcare.
Another consideration in the aging population is skyrocketing medical costs. While advancements in medical care mean that many conditions can be treated more successfully than in past years, technology comes at a price. Patients are spending less time than ever in the hospital. Once their condition is managed, they are released to a nursing facility or their home. In the past, many home health agencies employed LPNs or nurse’s aides to visit their in home patients. With the increased medical demands and need for training, registered nurses are becoming a sought after addition to many home health agencies rosters.
While nursing is one of the most recession proof careers you could chose, there are many people with nursing degrees that are unemployed. Some of these people are not working by choice, and others may not be able to find a job in their area, or the wage is not high enough to justify hiring a babysitter. For some others, the only jobs available may require shift work, which some people are not interested in at all.
To best position yourself for the growing need for nurses, and make sure that you are recession proof, take some proactive steps.
- Invest in a bachelor degree. Although you can become an RN with an associate’s degree, and you will still be an RN once you complete your bachelor degree, it is very worthwhile and beneficial to your career. Many healthcare settings require anyone in management to have a four year degree, and you will definitely need it if you want to pursue a nurse practitioner degree.
- Consider a nurse practitioner program. Many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement, so pursuing a graduate degree is surprisingly affordable. As healthcare needs continue to grow, nurse practitioners, who can diagnose, treat and prescribe, just like a doctor, are becoming increasingly in demand.
- Specialize. Whatever area you work in, or want to work in, consider a specialization program. Take continuing education in emergency care, pediatrics or any other field you work in. The point is, make yourself an expert.
- Socialize. Get to know nurses at other care facilities. There are more job opportunities for nurses than you can imagine. If you find yourself on the hunt for a job, networking is the quickest way to find a new position.
- Understand that recession proof does not mean lucrative. Although the pay scale for nursing today is strong, there is no guarantee that it will remain that way. As hospitals search for ways to cut costs, there are only so many ends to trim. At some point salaries and hours may be cut, and a nurse’s patient load may increase. If this happens, the job becomes infinitely more stressful.
Finding a Balance
Because of the demand for nurses, many in this profession work long hours in multiple positions. Per Diem positions are lucrative for the nurse who wants to stay home with her children, but desires a little extra cash. As more people realize the job security offered by nursing, it is expected that more people will choose it as a career. What is currently unknown is if the supply will keep up with the demand.