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Healthcare Jobs: Nursing and Healthcare IT on the Rise

Published August 6, 2012 11:52 AM by Rebecca Hepp

As healthcare providers grapple with the historic June 28 Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, one thing seems to be clear: it is going to create more jobs. With an estimated 30 million people gaining healthcare insurance coverage on account of the new law, the healthcare system is already gearing up to accommodate the huge influx of patients.  According to HealtheCareers’ Q2 2012 Healthcare Jobs Snapshot, healthcare jobs across all specialties are expected to grow in the next eight years.  Some areas — such as nursing and healthcare IT — are already seeing significant growth.

Healthcare networks across the country continue to seek trained physicians and surgeons to combat the ongoing shortage. Amid the changing healthcare landscape, they remain the most sought-after healthcare professionals — accounting for about 40% of HealtheCareers network job openings in Q2. Even with this need, job openings only increased by 1%, the report said.

“Like many healthcare organizations, we have been operating [against] a physician and nursing shortage for quite a while… and our hiring volume has increased significantly,” said Willie French, director, talent acquisition, The Methodist Hospital System in Houston, TX.

Physician assistants and nurse practitioners seeking employment shouldn’t have too much trouble landing a job, as both of these professions saw significant increases in job openings from Q1 to Q2 — 10% and 16%, respectively. And the opportunities don’t seem to be disappearing: Forbes ranked physician assistant studies as the top long-term employment opportunity, according to the report. This increased interest in physician assistants and nurse practitioners comes as no surprise because many hospitals are tackling the physician/surgeon deficit in a different way by hiring a new variety of practitioners. Some states give these professionals the ability to prescribe patients medication, and it has become a popular cost-effective alternative that creatively meets the growing patient demands.

In conjunction with these increases, demand for skilled nurses skyrocketed in Q2, with openings increasing by 40% from Q1. Specifically, providers are now seeking more general/surgical registered nurses (a 12% increase in job openings), emergency medicine registered nurses (9%) and nursing assistants (6%). Unfortunately for those finishing their education and looking for an entry level position, most job postings focus on candidates with more than one year of experience and list more stringent job requirements. The report notes that this trend will most likely continue as older generations of skilled nurses retire and leave high skilled vacancies in the workforce.

Healthcare IT positions are on the rise as well with healthcare networks transitioning to electronic medical records and focusing on meeting meaningful use requirements. Although general IT openings increased by only 18%, 30% of those were specific to HIT analysts/systems analysts. The report postulates that HIT analysts will remain much sought-after hires while health systems are still in the process of evaluating potential technology innovations. Tellingly, though, enough healthcare networks are moving forward with their new technology implementation, as systems/network engineers were in high demand in Q2, with position opening growing by 190% from Q1.

HealtheCareers collected their data from their online database of job openings from April 1 through June 30, 2012. Given that their database is comprised of approximately 50,215 healthcare and medical job openings placed by 3,294 hospital and healthcare organizations, the report offers significant insight into industry trends in the job market:  Physicians and surgeons are still the top priority, but physician assistants, nurse practitioners and skilled nurses are all in higher demand as of Q2. Healthcare IT is growing, although it has yet to overtake healthcare provider needs.

To read the full report, click the link provided above, or visit HealtheCareers’ website.

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