The nursing field has often been one where the job opportunities to advance are dictated by the availability of higher level and specialty positions needed by hospitals and clinics. As a result, just in terms of scale, major urban regions have provided far more potential for career advancement of nurses than those opportunities provided in suburban and rural areas. However, with Baby Boomers retiring and more demand existing in retirement communities outside of primary urban areas, the money is following the patients and hospitals are setting up facilities and specialty offices in areas that would previously have just been assigned general care and clinics.
Size and Scope
The Baby Boomer generation represents one of the biggest movements of population migrating into retirement today. As a result, their numbers and age progression are creating a tidal wave of in a number of areas, the healthcare field being one of the primary impacts. That said, Boomers are also bringing with them needs and demands that can’t be addressed by general care. This includes chronic conditions, surgery needs, unique medical issue, and mobility issues that require complex treatment. That also ends up requiring specialty nursing as well.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics is estimating that specialty nursing over the next ten years will likely create a demand of 711,900 new nursing positions and an overall industry growth of 26 percent over current nursing populations (2.7 million nurses). These positions can also expect to see a salary growth over current average levels of $64,700. Many specialty nurses already make $110,000-150,000 and executive nurse positions make over $200,000 annually.
As all in nursing are aware, the ability to move into higher levels requires a combination of additional education, training under supervision and advanced licensing to progress to a full RN status with a specialization. The cost for this kind of training has been prohibitive for some in the past. However, because demand, grant and scholarship programs are beginning to appear with more frequency, providing additional means and resources for paying tuition costs.
Nurses can also expect to see more opportunities come online with the improving national economy. Hospitals and health organizations have already been able to weather the recession far better than other industries thanks to Baby Boomers, but the spending for elective medicine will clearly add to the demand for specialty nursing, particularly in the surgery areas.
Specialty nursing for the next ten to fifteen years will definitely be worth the education investment, both in terms of career advancement and salary increases. Nurses now should be looking for paths to promote to take advantage of the generational and economic demands that will be in place for at least the next decade.