And the jobs that registered nurses end up landing are increasingly likely to come outside of hospitals.
Those are two key findings from the latest biannual study of nursing supply and demand released by the Greater Cincinnati Health Council, a group of hospitals and health systems from the region. The study is based on data gathered from 13 Cincinnati-area hospitals and 10 nursing schools.
In 2010, the vacancy rate for nursing jobs at the hospitals fell to 2.5 percent from 7.3 percent two years earlier, according to a statement from the Health Council. That competitive job market gave employers the luxury of hiring a more educated nursing workforce. The number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees climbed to 41 percent from 33 percent during that time frame, while 12 percent had master’s degrees in 2010, compared with just 3 percent two years earlier.
“Hospitals in our region are beginning to demand more specific degree requirements in order to adapt to changing healthcare trends and meet changing patient-care needs,” said Mary Duffey, executive director of the Council’s Health Care Workforce Center.
In 2008, nearly all new nursing school graduates who stayed in the Cincinnati area and found jobs in healthcare organizations (99 percent) did so at a hospital. But two years later, that number dropped to 80 percent. The Council expects that trend to continue as more emphasis in the U.S. health system is placed on preventive care obtained in the community, and an aging population increasingly moves into long-term care and assisted-living facilities.
The continuation of that trend would put Cincinnati more in line with the rest of the country, in which about 60 percent of nurses work in hospitals, according to the report.
One area in which Cincinnati’s nursing workforce mirrors the national market is gender. In both cases, just 5 percent of registered nurses are men. For the Cincinnati area, that number dropped one percentage point from 2008 to 2010.
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