DiversityNursing Blog

Aging Population a Boon for Health Care Workers

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 03:02 PM

11:10AM EDT October 5. 2012 -From USAtoday.com

07clinic 4 3 r560As Baby Boomers age into retirement by the millions each year, their growing health care needs require more people to administer that care.

That makes fields such as nursing one of the fastest-growing occupations, and hospitals are hiring now to prepare for what's to come.

Central Florida Health Alliance has 140 to 170 open positions a week, and almost 90% of them are for jobs that include registered nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists and pharmacy technicians, says Holly Kolozsvary, human resources director.

The two-hospital system based in Leesburg and The Villages is hiring for its peak season from January to April, when many retirees seek winter refuge in the Florida sun. But it's also managing a trend that requires it to employ more people year-round: More retirees aren't leaving at the end of spring, Kolozsvary says.

"It's kind of a domino effect," she says. "They move here, they're well, they get sick, they're left here through their cancer or heart disease, and we have to take care of them."

Job postings on Monster.com for positions including registered nurses, physical therapists and physician assistants rose 13% from June 2011 through June 2012, according to a 2012 health occupational report by the job site.

The additional demand could be due partly to hospitals preparing for the retirements of many older nurses as the economy gets better, increasing the need for new skilled workers. Scripps Health, a group of five hospitals and 23 outpatient facilities in San Diego, plans to hire about 400 nurses a year over the next three years but might need to increase that by 200 annually because of retirements, says Vic Buzachero, senior vice president for human resources. About 30% of the hospitals' nurses are older than 50.

Jamie Malneritch applied for a part-time job as a registered nurse with Scripps in March and heard from the hospital the same day she submitted her application. She started working a month later.

The 31-year-old, who has worked as a nurse for four years, says the job security and growth opportunities were primary drivers in her decision to go to nursing school in 2006.

"It seems like we always need more hands," she says. "Nursing is flourishing."

With an average salary of $64,690 a year, according to 2010 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing may be the more desired profession, but lower-paid home health aides are actually in higher demand.

An industry shift that puts more emphasis on outpatient care and home health services makes home health and personal care aides two of the fastest-growing occupations in the country. Employment in both positions, which have an average salary of about $20,000 a year, is expected to grow by about 70% by 2020, BLS data show. Registered nursing is expected to grow 26%.

ResCare HomeCare, a national provider and employer of home health and personal care aides, who work primarily with seniors with chronic illnesses or disabilities, has received 32,000 applications this year, a 23.3% jump from last year, and it hired 6,000 of the people who applied, about 5% more than in 2011, says Shelle Womble, senior director of sales.

Home health and personal care aides are generally the same, providing services such as checking vitals, prepping meals and bathing and grooming the patient. But home health aides are funded by Medicare and, in some states, require more training, while personal care aides are funded privately and may require less training, Womble says.

ResCare, where aides make $22,000 to $30,000 a year, is anticipating the need for more workers in the near future.

"Right now, one of our key positions is that we are hiring the talent before we even get the clients so we can be prepared and have the staff available," Womble says of home health and personal care aides. "There's a lot more competition for that type of employee."

Topics: age, baby boomers, healthcare, nurse, nurses, care, hospital staff

Nursing Popular with Older Students

Posted by Wilson Nunnari

Fri, May 11, 2012 @ 10:31 AM

Nurses are as diverse as the patients they treat.

But that diversity will become grayer for the next few years as more middle-age people are going into nursing as a second career.

student nurses get older resized 600
That trend can be seen in the class that will graduate May 18 from Heartland Community College's two-year nursing program in Normal. Students graduate with an associate's degree in nursing and then may take the registered nurse licensing exam.

Non-traditional students — those who don't begin college right after high school — are the norm in Heartland's nursing program. But, in this class, none of the 40 students is a traditional student.

“I was pretty surprised when I started,” said second-year nursing student John Cook, 47, of Normal. “There was virtually no one right out of high school. I remember thinking that I'd be the oldest one in there by far and that's not the case.

“It's a huge cross-section of people with bachelor's degrees in other fields, including a lot of moms.”

Students begin clinical rotations at area hospitals and long-term care facilities during their first semester, said professor of nursing Barb McLaughlin-Olson. For every hour that they are in the classroom, in the lab and at clinical sites, they are expected to spend three hours on course work.

The nursing-as-a-second-career trend has been in place for several years, said Deb Smith, vice president and chief nursing officer of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington.

Some people who pursue nursing as a second career take advantage of accelerated, one-year nursing programs for people who already have a bachelor's degree, Smith said. For example, Illinois State University's Mennonite College of Nursing in Normal has an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program.

Laurie Round, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing executive at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, said the recession has driven some people from their original careers into nursing. Both ISU-Mennonite and Illinois Wesleyan University's School of Nursing in Bloomington reported an increase in enrollment last fall.

There is a demand for nurses because nurses work in hospitals, doctors' offices, businesses, insurance companies, long-term care facilities and churches. But second-career nurses also are drawn to the field for altruistic reasons, Smith and Round said.

“They want to do something that's meaningful,” Round said. “They want to touch peoples' lives.”

Middle-age adults going into nursing need to learn a career quickly and need to keep their energy level up.

Some middle-age adults are challenged by all the technology involved with patient care, Round and Smith said.

But the maturity and experience of second-career nurses generally makes up for any challenges.

“I love the energy, the intensity, the maturity and the decision-making skills that they bring to the field,” Round said. “These people are choosing nursing while raising a family and working at the same time and that shows perseverance, commitment and discipline.”

Second-career nurses not only come in with the experience of previous employment and raising a family. They also have social skills and because they are close in age to nurses already in the field — the average age of nurses is 47 — they fit in with other nurses quickly, Smith said.

McLaughlin-Olson said, “They can use their life experiences to help them become better nurses. Because they've lived through life's challenges, they've learned how to critically think when issues come up, and they have empathy and can relate to people having problems.”

But Smith and Round also are impressed with traditional nursing students, who graduate to enter nursing in their early 20s. They are intelligent, energetic and learn quickly, they said.

For that reason, both Round and Smith said middle-age, second-career nurses are not necessarily the new face of nursing.

“I see a great mix across generations,” Round said.

Adds Smith: “It's good to have people entering nursing with a variety of life experiences. That further enriches our profession.”

 

Topics: disparity, hiring, wellness, baby boomers, diversity, Workforce, employment, education, nursing, diverse, Articles, Employment & Residency, healthcare, nurse, nurses, communication

Healthcare's Jobs Boom

Posted by Pat Magrath

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 @ 11:30 AM

Baby boomers are turning 65, and they will need lots of help
By Ilan Kolet and Shobhana Chandra
Businessweek.com
econ jobs06  01  600
While the economy lost 7.5 million positions during the 18-month recession, the health-care industry added doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel. Together with the social assistance category, which includes day-care workers, career counselors, and similar positions, the sector will add more than 5.6 million employees and be the biggest job gainer by 2020, according to new projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing is forecast to lose 73,000 jobs by then.

“The first baby boomer just turned 65 last year, so when it comes to health-care jobs, we haven’t seen nothing yet,” says Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York. Almost 87 million Americans, or one in four, will be 65 or older by 2050, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Health services require face time with patients, which means “these jobs are protected from the forces of globalization,” says Rupkey. “We can’t imagine a time when we’ll be able to outsource the job of a home health aide giving a senior a bath or helping with physical therapy.”

Openings in health care are broadly distributed geographically, even in economically distressed small towns where they often are “all that’s left,” says David Card, a director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. They also provide “pretty good” opportunities, particularly for women, he says. During the recession, health care added almost half a million positions, while construction, which typically employs more men, shed 1.1 million workers.

Sharon Rudolph, 64, is studying to be a registered nurse alongside classmates who had previously worked in real estate and banking, as well as one who owns a nail salon. The Fort Lauderdale resident was a radiologic technologist before she took a break in the 1990s to raise her family. Now she’s in a 27-month training program at the city’s Nova Southeastern University. “I felt I’d become more marketable once I get out,” says Rudolph, who has managed to keep her other licenses in diagnostic medical and cardiac sonography current. “I have to work twice as hard as some of the kids” to keep up with the coursework.

Registered nursing, which requires at least an associate degree, will have the largest growth of all U.S. occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adding 711,900 jobs between 2010 and 2020, reaching a total of 3.4 million. The number of home health aides, who don’t need a high school diploma but require on-the-job training, will increase by 69 percent, to 1.7 million. Hiring of physicians and surgeons will rise by 24 percent, to 859,300, the bureau predicts.

While the additional jobs probably will lift employment, many pay low wages. That means these workers will be less able than employees in higher-paid industries to boost consumer spending. Yet health-care jobs may provide more stability than factory and construction work, which tends to fluctuate with the economy. According to BLS data that are seasonally unadjusted, the unemployment rate for health-services employees was 6 percent in December, compared with 16 percent for construction.

According to Charles Roehrig, director of the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health in Ann Arbor, Mich., every 10 jobs in health care ultimately generate an additional 12 elsewhere in the economy. If he’s right, then without the industry’s recent hiring growth, the unemployment rate would have been 9.5 percent in December, instead of 8.5 percent.

Topics: hiring, baby boomers, Workforce, employment, health, healthcare

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