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Health Care Expected To Help Fuel Job Growth Yet New Nurses Having Difficulties Finding Jobs

Orlando Sentinel: “Thousands more health-care workers, from doctors to nurses to physical therapists, will be needed in the coming decade in Florida and across the country to treat the increasing number of older Americans – particularly the enormous baby boom generation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care is expected to generate 3.2 million new jobs through 2018, more than any other industry and mainly because of the increasing number of elderly. In Florida alone, U.S. Census data shows, the population of persons 65 and older is projected to increase by nearly 82 percent through 2020 to 5.1 million. Add to that scenario the game-changing effects of federal health-care reform and the rapid evolution of medical technology in diagnosing and treating disease and it’s easy to see why job-growth projections in health care are so robust” (Zaragoza, 9/12).

Still, Nurse.com offers a different perspective on immediate job prospects for nursing students: “Despite a widely held belief that nursing was a ‘recession-proof’ profession, new graduates in many areas of the country report difficulty finding jobs. Surveys by the National Student Nurses Association of 2009 and 2010 new graduates show more than 40% of respondents had not found a nursing job by midsummer. The American Hospital Association reports an RN vacancy rate of 4% in March, down from 11.4% in 2006. Some nursing school deans say their students are having a much more difficult time finding jobs than in the past. … Analysts say most of the hiring slowdown is because of the economy, with older RNs deciding to stay in the workforce because their retirement funds have not recovered from a stock-market drop in 2008, or a spouse was laid off, or they are just nervous about the economy” (Domrose, 9/12).

Kaiser Health News: “One of the groups most affected by the changes in the new health law are medical school students. When they graduate – and complete the hospital residencies that follow – they will begin practice under a system that will be significantly different than when they began college. With millions more people expected to have health insurance, demand for primary care physicians is expected to go way up. Allison Fero, of Kaiser Health News, recently sat down individually with four medical students to discuss their career expectations, their concerns about the changing environment for doctors and their assessments of how the new law will affect the practice of medicine” (Fero, 9/13).

The Wall Street Journal: “Thirteen of Lenox Hill Hospital’s doctors-in-training gather for one more class at the end of another long day of lectures and rounds: How to peel onions and chop garlic. It’s a cooking class, and the organizers hope that it helps teach young doctors how to plan and cook nutritious meals so they can better advise patients on healthy eating. … The program – which organizers say is the first of its kind in the city – includes six seminars on everything from nutrition, to weight management to exercise and a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. It is based loosely on a joint project of the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard Medical School called Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” (West, 9/11).

The Wall Street Journal, in a separate story: “There’s a lot more to health care than doctors, lab results and complex reform bills. … Dynamic and rapidly growing, the health care field offers young professionals the opportunity to explore emerging technologies while getting hands-on scientific and medical experience” (Cheney, 9/12).

The Boston Globe: “A new master’s degree program at Dartmouth College is intended to bring more of the business of safety, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency into medicine. The program – launched by the college’s new president, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a longtime activist for better, less expensive medical care worldwide – is a response to the health care crisis. By training doctors and hospital administrators to think more strategically about the success rate of a particular type of surgery, for example, or ways to reduce waiting times in emergency rooms, medical care will get safer and more affordable, school officials say. The interdisciplinary master of health care delivery science program, which will be launched next summer, is a collaborative effort between the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, the group that produces the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, which documents regional and hospital-by-hospital differences in how US medical resources are distributed and used” (Weintraub, 9/13).


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