Skip to main content
Carrington College Blog

Registered nurses are in high demand

May 7, 2014

Registered nurses are in high demandRegistered nurses and students enrolled in nursing programs can look forward to a bright future as their field expands in the next 10 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for registered nurses is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the average growth rate for all other occupations.1

The market for registered nurses is expanding

Several factors are contributing to this accelerated growth rate. For one, the baby boomer population in the U.S. is very large and is aging. Older individuals tend to need more medical care than younger people, and nurses are an important part of every doctor’s office, clinic and hospital staff. Nurses are the medical providers who are the first point of contact for patients when they enter the facility. As more elderly patients visit doctors’ offices, nurses will be needed to handle extra duties to free up the doctor’s time to perform complex procedures.1

The demand for nurses is increasing because instances of chronic illnesses including diabetes, arthritis, obesity and dementia are growing. Nurses will be called upon to educate their patients’ and patients’ families about these conditions and how to treat them. Also, thanks to the new health care reform system, more people will be able to afford to visit the doctor, creating an increased demand for nurses on staff.1

An increased demand for travel nurses

One specialty that nurses or students in nursing programs should be aware of is the growing field of travel nursing. In the past few years, the travel industry took a hit due to the economic downturn in the U.S. But, as the economy recovers, more people are investing in travel. Staffing companies are seeing a significant increase in demand for travel nurses in just the past two to three years.2 This demand can be attributed to the health care reform laws that are allowing people to invest in health insurance as well as travel, and the fact that many nurses are leaving traditional clinic positions in favor of traveling jobs that pay more. Travel nurses are placed in medical positions for a period of about 13 months, after which they transfer to another location, and that kind of change appeals to many healthcare professionals.2

Traveling nurses and staffing professionals explain that many nurses prefer the lifestyle of a traveling medical professional. It helps nurses avoid burnout by frequently changing their environment and allowing them to learn new things with every assignment. For nurses who are flexible, have experience and can handle demanding patient care environments, this type of position is ideal.2

Nurses needed in Intensive Care Units

Another specialty field for nurses to consider is that of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse. According to Richard Kousgaard, a recruiter and account manager with Aureus Medical, nurses with experience in the ICU are among the easiest to place because hospitals nationwide need quality nurses who can handle high-pressure environments.2

Currently there are more than 500,000 nurses in the U.S. with expertise in high acuity and critical care. Having high-acuity experience means the nurse is versed in medical interventions that are used in the emergency room and assisted-care facilities. Those interventions have been designed to treat seriously ill patients.2

Today, many hospitals in the U.S. face financial pressures that require them to discharge patients as soon as possible, meaning more people will be admitted to long-term care facilities and outpatient care centers.1 Doctors will discharge patients who are not severely ill or injured to these facilities. The majority of the patients in the hospitals will be people who are very sick and require complex, technology-dependent care that can be performed by properly certified nurses.2

Nurses can earn specialty certifications for high acuity and critical care through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation in order to make themselves more marketable and further their skills. According to Ramon Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN, senior director of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, more than 60,000 nurses have received certification through the organization.2

Outpatient care requires nurses

Outpatient care facilities are those where patients do not stay overnight. Examples of these include places that provide same-day chemotherapy, rehabilitation, and surgery. Nurses will be needed in facilities like these to provide long-term rehabilitation for stroke and head injury patients, as well as in clinics that treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Many older people prefer to be treated at home or in assisted living or residential care facilities, so registered nurses will be in demand in those settings as well.1

Registered nurses interested in a change in their environment, and students looking forward to a career in nursing should research the growing specialty fields. Skilled nurses are needed in such a variety of environments, and there is an increasing number of job opportunities, so now is the time to pursue a career as a registered nurse.

1 “Registered Nurses,” Bureau of Labor,

2 Sederstrom, Jill, “7 Specialties Lead Demand for Nurses,” Healthcare, Apr. 22, 2013,