What comes to mind when you think of a nurse? As the nursing demographics will show, the traditional views of a nurse no longer apply. People from many different demographics are finding that becoming an RN is the right career choice for them.
14 states project an annual growth rate of 20% or more in the rate of nursing job growth, with 8 of those states being in the US West.
Another 30 states are projected to have annual growth rates that are above 15%. States like Texas, California, Florida, and New York [along with 6 other states] are projected to account for 50% of the new nursing jobs that are projected to be created through 2020. With up to 574,000 new jobs up for grabs and another 555,000 nurses expected to retire. , the time to consider becoming a nurse has never been better.
A Look At The Average RN In The United States
- The median age of a nurse today is 50.
- 53% of working nurses are actually over the age of 50.
- The percentage of nurses under the age of 40 has decreased from 54% in 1980 to just 29.5% in 2008.
- 89% of nurses between 2010-2013 were women. Since 2000, however, men have more than doubled in their presence in this medical field.
- The average number of nurses who have passed their annual exam: 143,000. This has increased by over 20% since 2005.
- 59% of nurses receive a job offer at the time they have earned their 4 year degree in nursing. For nurses that achieve a graduate degree, 2 out of 3 will have a job offer waiting for them upon gradation.
- 89% of nurses with a bachelor’s degree are working within 4-6 months of graduation.
- More jobs are offered in the US South [69%] than any other region. The US West [47%] has the fewest number of job offers.
- Compared to all other professions, a nurse is 2.5x more likely to receive a job offer at graduation.
- The median age for male RNs licensed in 2000 or later is 35, compared with 31 for female Rns.
- 18.3% of LPNs are 30 years old or younger.
Yes – nurses are generally women, but there many men are finding that this profession is rewarding as well. There is certainly a humorous stigma that men face in nursing – the movie Meet the Fockers is evidence of this – but it is a stigma that men are effectively battling. The one issue that nursing faces in the future is the growing age of the workforce. There are fewer nurses entering into this profession at a time when they are needed the most. At current rates, there could be a 1 million nurse shortfall in the next decade. If that happens, the standard of medical care in the US face a high risk of decline.
Is The Nursing Industry Creating a False Shortfall?
- In 2012, nursing baccalaureate programs turned away over 79,000 qualified applicants into educational programs.
- The national nurse faculty vacancy rate as of 2013 was 8.3%.
- 72% of full-time nursing faculty is over the age of 50. If a nurse holds a master’s degree in a faculty position, the median age is 57. For nurses holding a doctorate degree in a faculty position, the average age is 61.
- According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, just 55% of the RN workforce holds a bachelor’s degree or better.
- 43% of graduating nurses say that their preference for a job would be at a hospital or similar healthcare setting.
- Between 1995-2000, the US population rose by 6.1%, but the nursing population rose by just 4.1%.
- Since 1995, the number of graduates takeing the NCLEX-RN exam has dropped by 28%. Out of those who do take the exam, only 85% will actually pass it.
The fact that so many nurses are being turned away from educational programs is a disturbing trend. The fact that an RN is needed in many different healthcare settings, yet nearly half of all nurses would rather work in a hospital or similar institution, is also problematic. The fact that nurses are leaving faculty positions open because qualified teachers are aging out of the workforce is also problematic. Yet this all seems to be artificially created – in just 5 years, if qualified candidates weren’t turned away, the US would potentially have 350,000 new nursing students. In less than a decade, the shortfall would be covered. Why isn’t that being stressed?
Geographic Demographics in Nursing
- Massachusetts has the highest number of nurses per capita in the population at 1,194 per 100,000 people. 7 states in total have a per capita nursing population that is above 1,000 nurses per 100,000 people.
- Nevada has the lowest number of nurses per capita with just 524 per 100,000 people.
- 28 US states have seen declines in their RN populations.
- Alaska has seen a decrease of 193 nurses per 100,000 people since 1996, while Louisiana has seen an increase of over 100 nurses per 100,000 people.
- The number of new nurses from rural areas has dropped by nearly 34%.
Population movement can be associated with some of the geographic data about nurses, as can the rate of pay, but not all of it. One of the steepest declines in available nurses is in the New England region of the US, yet that region also has one of the highest per capita rates of nurses. Many nurses are willing to put up with being understaffed and having heavy workloads and odd working hours for the right amount of pay, but everyone has their breaking point. Because pay is typically lower in rural areas, they see the fewest amount of new nurses, and this is why the US West has such a shortage.
Minorities Working As Nurses
- Since 2003, the percentage of Black/African-American nursing students has remained fairly consistent at 10-14% of new enrollments.
- There are about 279,600 black/African-American RNs and 162,800 LPNs.
- In 2014, more Hispanic or Latino nursing students enrolled [8.4%] than ever before in the history of demographic data being kept.
- There are approximately 135,600 Hispanic/Latino RNs and 51,800 LPNs.
- Between 1995-2014, Asian or Pacific Islander new nursing students has never been below 4% of the total enrollment group.
- Native American enrollments for nursing programs consistently hover around the 1% mark.
- Men make up 15% of ADN and BSN programs according to 2014 data. The lowest percentage of enrolled men [9%] is in PN/VN programs.
- 84% of of nursing students who are enrolled in a doctorate level educational program are over the age of 30.
- 42% of ADN students are above the age of 30, while just 18% of BSN students are in that age demographic.
- 7.6% of LPNs and 9.1% of RNs are men.
- The Pacific region has the highest percentage of minority nurses, with 30.5% of nurses identifying themselves as belonging to a minority.
- 14.6% of black or African-American nurses have related master’s or doctoral degrees, compared to 13.4% of white nurses.
- 69.6% of Asian RNs entered the profession with a bachelor’s or higher degree.
Doesn’t it seem strange to list men as a minority demographic? Yet in nursing, men are very much in the minority. Unfortunately when it comes to racial and gender demographics, there is very little diversity in this field. There has been some year-over-year growth since 1995, yet those gains are often offset by losses the following year. Only men as a group and Hispanics have seen consistent growth in nursing as a demographic. There’s a good chance that if you need to have a nurse’s help in the US right now, that nurse will be a white woman over the age of 50.
Earning Demographics in Nursing
- The average RN works about 37 hours per week for an annual salary that is just above $67,000.
- A full-time employed LPN in the US makes an average salary of $42,400 per year.
- With a master’s or doctorate degree, a nurse can make upwards of $87,000 per year.
- CRNAs, which are nurse anesthetists, have the highest annual salary in the US at $154,390 each year.
- The Pacific region has the highest rate of pay for nurses in the country, with more than $10,000 more per year than any other region.
- 63% of nurses work in hospitals. Nursing care facilities come in second at 7%. Outpatient care, physician offices, and other health care facilities each come in at 5%.
Nurses can make a competitive salary in today’s world. It is a career that is high demand and this will mean that salaries have the potential to rise dramatically within the next decade, especially if shortfalls continue to happen as they are forecast. If you’re interested in being in the healthcare industry, love taking care of people, and have a good grasp of medical concepts, then this could be a career choice for you no matter what age you happen to be.