Historically, the demand for nurses has been relatively high. There have been brief periods when supply and demand were balanced; however, the U.S. healthcare market is currently on the verge of a significant shortage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2024, the economy will have added 3.8 million new healthcare jobs. The current job growth outlook for registered nurses is 16 percent, which is much faster than the 7 percent average across all occupations. This market environment is the culmination of multiple factors coming together in a perfect storm scenario.
In 2011, the first of the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) began to turn 65. This heralded the beginning of one of the largest elderly populations in U.S. history. As of 2015, there are 75.4 million Baby Boomers, and by the end of 2029, when the last of them turn 65, there will be a projected 80 million Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries. As healthcare development continues, this population is likely to experience a higher life expectancy than previous generations. This unprecedented generation of Americans will undoubtedly tax the U.S. healthcare market, further increasing the demand for nurses.
Affordable Care Act
Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) want into effect in 2010, 16.4 million uninsured people have gained access to health coverage. As with the Baby Boomers, this unprecedented surge in healthcare consumers will foster additional demand for nurses. Not only does the ACA provide insured access to healthcare services, it also focuses on preventive and holistic approaches to healthcare — for which nurses are perfectly suited. The demand for nurses who can provide healthcare education and promotion strategies will continue its upward trend in the future, further increasing their value in the healthcare field.
As of 2013, 55 percent of the nursing workforce was over the age of 50. This startling statistic projects that in the next 10-15 years, approximately 1 million nurses will retire, further contributing to the demand for nurses. The aging of the nursing workforce comes hand-in-hand with the maturing Baby Boomer population. Not only will this increase continue to increase the need for nurses, it will also create a shortage of experienced nurses to care for the population.
Demand for Nurses
The U.S. healthcare market has never seen such a situation — one that has created a strong demand for nurses. Considering this stable job market and its projected needs, there has never been a better time to consider nursing as a career. Not only does it offer job security, it also offers the ability to help others and improve their lives.
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