4 things to know about the growing demand for nurses

The national nurse job market stayed relatively steady for years. However, the demand for nurses is now increasing in many areas of the country amid a retirement wave and regional shortages, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Here are four things to know about the nurse job market.

1. The increase in the demand for nurses is attributable to various factors, including expanded insurance coverage from job growth and the ACA, according to the report.

2. The rise in nursing demand can also be linked to a retirement wave of qualified nurses. Nurses who chose to remain employed through the uneven recovery of the Great Recession are now retiring or cutting back hours, recruiters said, according to the report.

3. Wall Street Journal reports that national numbers show the average U.S. nurse's wage has been flat and there have been enough new graduates to offset retirees in recent years. However, employers and workforce analysts said the national numbers are not representative of the emerging regional pockets of shortages, according to the report. For instance, Peter Buerhaus, a healthcare economist and nursing professor at Montana State University in Bozeman, told the publication he has heard of strains in areas, and he and colleagues expect greater shortages in New England and along the West Coast in the near future.

4. As demand for nurses increases, wages and sign-on bonuses for these frontline caregivers are going up. Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America has reported wage increases for nurses in some markets, but a representative for the company declined to tell the Wall Street Journal where. Additionally, signing bonuses — some $10,000 or more — are increasingly common in states such as Texas, California and Florida, recruiters and labor experts said, according to the report. Also, Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems recently raised nurses' wages in some markets, company CFO Larry Cash, said, according to the report. And Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System began offering nurses with as little as one year of experience sign-on bonuses up to $15,000 in September, officials there said, reports Wall Street Journal.


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