Journal of Nursing

Nursing Outlooks Strong As Demand Drives Need


A mounting demand for health care services is bolstering the need for registered nurses across the country, and particularly in the greater Houston area.

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, this according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More than half a million positions for registered nurses are projected to open between 2012 and 2022.

Spurring this growth are several factors, including a growing senior population, which is living longer but suffering from more medical issues; a demand for education concerning chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and obesity; federal health care reform, which has resulted in a higher number of individuals having access to health care; and hospital and medical facilities' expansions as they try to meet the need of the growing communities they serve. More and more registered nurses will be needed to care for these patients.

According to the BLS, 61 percent of these registered nurses work in a hospital setting, be it state, local or private; 7 percent will work in nursing and residual care facilities; 7 percent will work in physicians' offices; 6 percent will work in home health care services; and 6 percent will work for the government.

"There is a high demand for nurses in the greater Houston area. We have a large metropolitan area to cover, more people have access to health care and our population is getting older and are in need of health care," said Kathryn Tart, dean of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing.

Tart said there is a range of nursing areas that are in demand, including gerontology, community health nursing, operating room nurses and, particularly, nurse practitioners.

Texas is one of the states with the highest employment of nurse practitioners, retaining 6,690 nurse practitioners as of May 2013.

Houston is also one of the metropolitan areas with the highest employment of nurse practitioners, retaining 1,570 nurse practitioners - nearly a quarter of the state's total.

Sheila Coggins, director of human resources at Houston Methodist Hospital, said the demand for registered nurses there is ongoing in all areas, including oncology, transplant, emergency medicine, cardiovascular medicine and surgical services.

"In addition, high acuity areas demand low patient ratios, resulting in an increased demand for nurses," Coggins said.

Between 2012 and 2020, the nursing workforce is expected to grow from 2.7 million to 3.2 million - a 19 percent increase, or 526,800 jobs.

Then, an additional 525,000 nurses will be needed to replace those who retire and leave the field, bringing the total number of new job openings to more than 1 million by 2022, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

"We expect the demand for nurses to continue to rise as (health care) services expand, as well as the planned retirement or reduction of hours by tenured nurses. With the increasing age of baby boomers, both health care needs and the demand for health care personnel will increase," Coggins said.


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Editor-in Chief:
Kirsten Nicole

Editorial Staff:
Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Robyn Bowman
Kimberly McNabb
Lisa Gordon
Stephanie Robinson

Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Liz Di Bernardo
Cris Lobato
Elisa Howard
Susan Cramer