Nurse practitioners form the biggest chunk of the global healthcare workforce. In the US, about 60% of all practicing nurses work in hospitals and physicians’ offices, with the remaining percentage either providing ambulatory or at-home healthcare services. The current median pay for nurses is $77,600 per year or $37.31 per hour. That tells you how lucrative this profession can be.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of employment for registered nurses in the US is likely to rise by 6% gradually over the next decade. That projection means there will be more than 200,000 job openings for registered nurses every year up to 2031. That begs the question: Why are nurses in such high demand?
1. Rising number of senior citizens
Going by available statistics, the US currently has the highest-ever recorded number of people aged 65 and above. And with the last of the baby boomer generation now going into retirement, it’s safe to predict that the number of old people in the US will multiply over the next decade. Many terminal and chronic illnesses among old people are now more manageable than a decade ago, which has significantly boosted life expectancy. Increased life expectancy around the world keeps the number of old people high. And because old people have more diagnoses and comorbidities compared to the youthful population, increased life expectancy means more people in dire need of health services. By extension, an aging population is an indication of an aging workforce. That’s why it isn’t surprising that almost one million registered nurses in the US today are 50 years or older. All these nurses will be out of the workforce within the next decade.
2. More affordable healthcare
More people in the middle and lower classes now have access to affordable health insurance. Hospitals need more nurses to attend to the growing number of patients.
3. Effects of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic was both trying and exhausting for many medical professionals. Most healthcare systems around the world were overwhelmed by the sheer number of critical patients they were getting by the hour. Nurses had to withstand insufficient healthcare staffing just to save lives. Many nurses suffered burnout, leading to the turnover rate for nursing practitioners to triple during the pandemic. Governments around the world are, however, countering this problem by giving better remuneration and benefits to nurses working in public hospitals.
How to Improve Yourself as a Nurse
In a nutshell, you will improve your chances of getting either a nursing job or a promotion by changing your mindset, learning new skills, and changing your professional approach. Here’s how:
1. Love Research
The medical field is riddled with contradictory articles, misinformation, and half-truths. To succeed as a nurse, you need to be a friend of peer-reviewed research papers that are based on scientific evidence.
2. Get certified
Certification sets you apart from your colleagues and boosts your chances of employment or promotion. There are a handful of certification options available in the nursing field. Some of these certification courses exist online, e.g. FNP and DNP online programs.
There also are continuing professional development (CPD) courses for nurses, e.g. the ones offered on the Osmosis online learning platform. Such a platform keeps you updated on industry knowledge so that you always stay current. The nursing profession is fluid- you cannot succeed if you’re too rigid to keep up with changing knowledge and technology.
This is why it is crucial to use materials that help you to keep up-to-date. The NCLEX-RN study material is a valuable resource for nursing professionals, as it plays an important role in planning prospective nurses for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The NCLEX-RN is an official test that assesses the expertise and skills required to practice as a beginner registered nurse in a safe and effective manner.
Passing the NCLEX-RN is required for licensing in the majority of states in the United States, and it is a critical step toward starting a career as a nurse. Nurses frequently seek broad educational resources covering the fundamental areas tested to ensure achievement on this strict exam.
The NCLEX-RN study material includes a plethora of resources such as schoolbooks, quizzes, review guides, as well as online courses. These materials are intended to assist nurses in reviewing and reinforcing their knowledge about important nursing notions, pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, pregnancy and pediatric nursing, psychiatric nursing, as well as other critical areas. For example, Osmosis ultimate NCLEX-RN study material helps nurses prepare for the exam by offering simplified explanations, including videos and pictures to make learning easily understandable.
3. Build a network
One way of doing this is by joining professional nursing organizations. You will meet many seasoned professionals in these organizations; people who will hold doors for you and help you learn the ropes. You will also find potential employers in such organizations.
You gain invaluable experience when you volunteer as a nurse for the less privileged. Volunteering also decorates your resume and earns you the admiration of potential employers. An example of an organization that hires volunteer nurses is the American Red Cross.
5. Try shadowing experienced nurses
Shadowing allows you to live the life of a nurse even before you become one. It takes you from the classroom to a hospital floor where you witness firsthand as nurses save lives and make a difference in the real world. The experience you gain through shadowing can be immense.
To succeed as a nurse, you must strive to become better at what you know and do. You must constantly look for ways to advance your knowledge and skill set, whether or not you’re employed.