You are out of touch with the job market because you have been employed in the field for the long term. What I told you is what anyone will find if he/she looks on the web or talks with the Nursing department at their local college. Need more proof? Visit allnurses.com and ask. You will find out real quick just how saturated the market is for Nursing. CNN also published a story a few months ago too.
Job growth and percentages are fake numbers in Nursing like they are in IT. One can spend hours reading thousands of descriptions for "unfilled" positions. There is a good reason why these Nursing positions are unfilled. Just ask anyone in IT for a similar answer. Then you will understand why there are thousands of open positions, but yet supposedly no one available to fill the positions.
What the BLS numbers also don't tell the reader is that if the projected BLS growth rate for Nursing is 26%, the percentage of Nursing students will will 260%. Competition is so intense in pre-nursing degree programs that one better have an 'A' average or close to it. At some colleges demand is so high that GPA alone is not enough. One must wait as long as 3 years to get into the Nursing program AFTER the requirement classes are completed!
Not so much out of touch with the job market as you elude. The amount of research I've conducted over the past year on this subject in part as a contributory effort in both projects and two papers has left me well prepared to appreciate the state of nursing positions in the U.S. I also perform criminal investigations daily that are greatly affected by staffing levels. The discussions held on sites such as allnurses.com and the piece aired by CNN do not reflect the whole story. The issue you speak of concerning a high level of competition in nursing programs has existed for well over a decade. The waiting list was over 2 years in 1995 when I entered. The problem is, once the media began to pound the shortage issue into the ground, enrollment rose - 5.1% increase in BSN programs alone in 2011. However, the competition exists because of a tremendous shortage of nurse educators. The programs simply can't enroll as many as apply. Approximately 5 years ago, the AHCA reported over 19,000 RN shortages in LTC and an 8.1% vacancy rate overall in RN positions. Consider also in 2014, the market will see an influx of an estimated 32 million newly insured Americans, many of who did not seek routine healthcare in the past due to a lack of insurance coverage. Simply put, over the past decade, the number of nursing graduates has not outpaced the demand - now add another 32 million insured to that which drives demand.
I took your advice and read over several discussions at the AllNurses site. It seems those mentioning difficulty in locating jobs reveal a regional tie, and its not incredibly strong at that, with the exception of CA.
Notice that many people mention plenty of available positions in their area and many elude to a competitive market in their area, but plenty of positions in LTC, Home Health, etc. Like I said previously, new grads should anticipate working in a "general" area of nursing when starting out to learn the basics beyond nursing school. The issue with CA graduates has been a long-standing issue as well as many programs in FL. Before nursing school, I worked for the Kentucky Board of Nursing for a short while. There were only two states that the Board required to see program transcripts from for those wishing to endorse licensure to the state of Ky - Florida and California. The reason was that those two states saw a huge influx in nursing programs at one time because of the larger demand related to retirees moving to both FL and CA. Many of those programs were noted to have less than stellar curricula and high rates of NCLEX-RN failure. Because of that, many other state's Boards of Nursing doubted the training of new FL and CA nurses - unwarranted, maybe, but who knows.
Maybe all of this discussion is useless. Seeing that both of the comments that were somewhat negative toward the nursing career path originated from TX residents, and there seems to be an issue with new grads locating jobs in TX, perhaps it is better that we just agree to disagree as opinions are certainly based on what we see in our area. Apologies to the OP for cluttering up the thread with ridiculously long posts. Hopefully there is some useful information in here somewhere.
Rubi, GREAT conversation and debate! I'd enjoy continuing it, but maybe we should do it via pm or another thread elsewhere so we don't continue to mess up this thread on EMS positions.