Competing for nurses in Louisiana

It’s a good time to be a nurse in Louisiana.

Thousands of nurses are needed in Louisiana in cardiac cath labs, outpatient surgery units, emergency departments, pain management clinics, endoscopy centers, clinical research, hospice care, critical care – the list goes on. This means that employers will be competing for nurses, and, if you have a bachelor’s degree, employers will put you at the head of the job-applicants’ lists. This is because many hospitals and other healthcare institutions and organizations are aiming for a staff that is comprised mostly of registered nurses who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or are at least in the process of earning the degree.

Why the time is right for nurses in Louisiana

The recent recession was a difficult time for the country, including Louisiana nurses. New graduates found it difficult to find work because nurses who otherwise were ready to retire remained at their jobs to compensate for other family members who had lost theirs.

For the most part, the economy has rebounded and the demand for nurses in Louisiana has soared, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which surveyed 609 hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory care facilities and public health departments throughout the state.

The situation is similar on the national scale. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say that employment opportunities for nurses are expected to grow by about 22 percent through 2018, which translates into 3.2 million new jobs.

Why nurses are needed

Two factors account for most of the job growth in the nursing profession: the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which means an additional 32 million Americans and legal residents are being added to healthcare insurance rosters, and the aging of the boomer generation. The oldest boomers turned 65 in 2011, and every day, 8,000 to 10,000 more reach age 65 and become eligible for Medicare.

Recent findings of the Louisiana State Board of Nursing

The Louisiana State Board of Nursing produced a report in 2014 that found:

  • From 2013 to 2014, there was a 3 percent increase in the number of graduates from Louisiana BSN programs, a 23 percent decrease in the number of graduates from associate degree programs and a 10 percent decrease from the one diploma program offered in the state.
  • In the past five years, there has been a 186 percent increase in the number of RNs enrolled in Louisiana’s RN to BSN programs, and a 135 percent increase in the number of graduates.

What the findings of the Louisiana State Board survey mean

These findings by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing are significant for several reasons. There are fewer students graduating with degrees from diploma and associate degree programs, but a huge increase in the number of nurses who are earning degrees through RN to BSN programs. This means that job competition is coming from nurses with good clinical experience who also have or are earning a bachelor’s degree, so nurses without a BSN will be at a disadvantage.

The high demand for nurses in Louisiana also means salaries are competitive. The average salary for nurses in Louisiana is between $59,000 and $62,000. This and the current supply-and-demand situation in the state means that now is the time for nurses to pursue an RN to BSN degree to ensure they are not only qualified to compete in the job market, but also have the greatest possible number of job options.

Learn more about University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s online RN to BSN program.


Sources:

Hilburn, Greg. “Demand, salaries on the rise for registered nurses,”http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/local/2015/04/18/demand-salaries-rise-registered-nurses/26008975/

Louisiana Center for Nursing – Louisiana State Board of Nursing. “Nursing workforce demand report 2012,”http://lcn.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/0/Documents/NursingWorkforceDemandReport.pdf

Louisiana State Board of Nursing 2014 Annual Report https://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/1/Documents/AnnualReport/AnnualReport2014.pdf

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