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There has been a shortage of registered nurses (RN) across the US. This has become a cause of concern as there is an insufficient supply of nurses in most of the health care centers. This shortage is due to an increase in the number of retiring nurses. Owing to this reduction in the number of qualified nurses, nursing school leaders, federal and state legislators, health care administrators, and consumer advocacy groups are looking at ways to reduce this shortage. This in turn has led to an increase in new job opportunities for prospective nurses.
Based on the reports provided by the Washington Post, about a third of the nursing workforce is aged 50 or older with more than 55 percent of them retiring over the next 10 years. This is likely to cause a shortage of at least 300,000 nurses in the coming years.
Owing to the shortage of nurses, many benefits are being offered to attract students to pursue a career in nursing.These benefits include reviewed salaries and better working conditions. Other benefits include greater independence and flexibility on the job to enable nurses to study even while they are working. There is a conscious effort to appeal to new students as well as to retain working RNs in the profession.
Nurses enjoy job security as there is a regular demand for them in hospitals, clinics, home health organizations as well as in places like schools and college athletic departments. They can also specialize in various areas of medicine. Nurses are needed as researchers, health care administrators, policy analysts, and nurse executives. Those who are baccalaureate-prepared have better opportunities for career advancement.Nurses can also work as educators to train new nurses.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median yearly income of up to $63,750 for registered nurses in 2009. This median salary has increased considerably over the years. This is likely to be different for different nurses based on the place where they work and on their area of specialization. If nurses pursue online degree programs, they can become advanced practice nurses.
Therefore, in spite of an increase in the number of nurses retiring, the nursing shortage is not going to affect the country. On the contrary it has opened up various job opportunities and has led to an improvement in resources for those seeking a nursing education as well as a nursing career. These resources include financial aid like grants, loans and scholarships.Thus it can be said that the nursing is a career that offers great career prospects.