A survey by the Connecticut League for Nursing reveals where new registered nurses plan to seek employment, and the findings suggest many new nurses may be ignoring career paths that industry watchers believe could be the most rewarding during the next several years.
The survey includes employment plans for both new RNs and LPNs graduating from educational programs in Connecticut. A total of 475 nurses participated, of which 247 were registered nurses. The average age of all respondents was 33, with RNs being slightly younger with an average age of 32. Nurses were given the opportunity to name more than one anticipated place of employment as they began their job searches.
The vast majority of registered nurses (86%) plan to seek employment in hospitals, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most aggressive job growth for registered nurses may be found elsewhere. According to the bureau, employment growth for nurses in hospitals is expected to reach 17% by 2018, but that estimate places hospitals far behind other venues in anticipated job growth for nurses.
The Labor Statistics Bureau expects the number of available jobs for nurses in doctor's offices to grow by 48% in the next seven years, but among graduating RNs in the Connecticut survey, only 12% plan to seek jobs in private offices. Only schools were listed by fewer nurses as expected places of employment.
Twenty-nine percent of registered nurses in the survey expect to practice in nursing homes. That figure is more in line with job-growth estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that predict employment to grow by 25% in those facilities. Fourteen percent of RNs polled plan to seek employment in community health centers or other clinics while 5.5% listed schools as an expected place of practice and a matching 5.5% responded, "Other."
As indicated by the discrepancy between BLS employment estimates and their own career plans, only 5.4% of graduating RNs in the poll listed favorable career opportunities as their primary motivating factor when choosing a venue for practice. Only one other factor was less popular among nurses; less than three percent planned to choose a workplace based on the organization's mission and their ability "to make a difference" there.
Distance and location were most frequently cited as factors affecting the practice decisions of surveyed RNs with 18% and 19% indicating them, respectively. A good work environment was also sought out by a higher percentage of nurses (14%), as was good pay and tuition assistance (11%).
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Source: Connecticut League for Nursing survey: "Workforce Survey of 2010 Connecticut Nursing School Graduates." http://www.cthealthpolicy.org/pdfs/2010_nursing_workforce_survey_results.pdf
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics registered nurse occupational outlook http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm