A large segment of older nurses are slated to retire soon, so the demand for health care is expected to explode due to an aging population. This goes beyond hospitals and into other healthcare settings as well.
Record levels of graduating nurses have plunged into a highly-competitive job market. Graduates are pursuing a career in nursing because there is a high demand for nurses. New nurses are greatly needed, but how does one start finding jobs for nurses outside the hospital setting?
How to compete in the current job market
New nurses trying to find work have to be resourceful. Only 160,000 US nursing positions went unfilled last year. Here are some things nurses can do to keep their careers on track:
- Gain job experience. Employers prefer applicants with previous work experience. Take any job you can get; midnight shift, work in a nursing home or even volunteering part-time.
- Volunteer. It won’t put any money in your pocket, but it could pay off in the long run experience wise.
- Putting yourself out there and getting noticed. It’s all about visibility. Get yourself in front of people who will make the hiring decisions. Instead of just sending resumes, unemployed nurses should visit the units where they would like to work and politely ask for an interview.
- Catch nursing conferences. Doing so is a great way to make connections. Wear proper attire and maintain a neat appearance to make yourself stand out.
- Be willing to relocate. Nurses who are willing to relocate can take advantage of high demand in rural areas and certain parts of Florida, Texas and the Southwest.
- Go back to school. Nurses can greatly benefit from moving forward in their career with an accelerated nursing degree from schools like Northeastern University, Marian University, Roseman University, Utica College and more.
Jobs for Nurses outside the Hospital Setting
- Long-term care. The elderly are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, and only three percent of graduates are entering this field. Certification requires at least two years in a nursing home and passing an examination. This career has a median $67,000 salary.
- Community healthcare. Only eight percent of graduates are entering community healthcare, despite there being a variety of opportunities, including domestic violence, forensics, HIV/AIDS, hospice, public health and telemetry. Home health nurses help patients regain physical independence and manage their medication, and their base salary is usually around $57,000 a year.
- Dialysis nurse. One of the nation’s fastest growing nursing specialties, which pays a salary of $63,000 a year, is dialysis nursing. You will need at least 2,000 hours of experience before taking the certification exam.
- Nurse practitioner. There’s a growing shortage of primary care physicians. Nurse practitioners (NPs) can tackle 60 to 80 percent of a primary care provider’s work and make on average $78,000 a year working in clinics, offices or independent practice. A master’s degree is required.
- Nurse Health Coach. Any registered nurse can call themselves a nurse coach while staying within their scope of practice. Nurses can legally start their own business and coach others in their area of expertise. Many companies hire nurses as health coaches in an effort to keep their customers as healthy as possible.
- Nurse Navigator. Owning your own business as a nurse navigator can be ideal for the nurses who understand insurance policies and who can help patients obtain the care they need. This is ideal for nurses who enjoy paperwork and research in addition to helping their patients.
- Academic Nurse Writer. A nurse with a graduate degree in nursing and excels in writing can author textbook chapters in their specialty or obtain a publisher to write their own book.
- Legal Nurse Consultant. Attorneys hire legal nurse consultants to help interpret medical records and serve as expert witnesses.
- Air National Guard. Nurses attracted to the rush of a fast-paced environment or critical care may want to consider being an Air National Guard nurse. They may find themselves in the middle of the action during a natural disaster, civil emergency or homeland crisis, all situations in which their skills are critical. The Air National Guard has a variety of opportunities that allow nurses to stay close to home and serve their community.
Get out there, work hard, gain experience, and you too will be able to find nursing jobs in the field of your interest. We can help you find a nursing school near you that can help you become a nurse.