States with higher elderly populations will have more open nursing slots to fill, report predicts

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Good news for nurses may create staffing challenges for administrators, as a new report indicates states with more residents over age 65 will be creating more job opportunities in healthcare.

The 2017 Best & Worst States for Nurses ranking, released Wednesday by WalletHub, scored states based on factors of job opportunities (elderly population, average salary, healthcare facilities per capita) as well as work environment (share of best nursing homes, commute time).

The report found Wisconsin, New Mexico, Iowa, Texas and Colorado to have the best overall scores; Alabama, Louisiana, New York, Hawaii and Washington D.C. landed on the bottom of the list.

WalletHub also broke down the state rankings by which are projected to have the highest percentage of population over age 65 by the year 2030, with Florida, Maine, Wyoming, New Mexico and Montana taking the top spots. When sorting the states based on job opportunities New Mexico and Wyoming came in as the first and second best states; Florida also cracked the top 10.

Alaska, California, Utah and Washington were all ranked as the job markets that will have the lowest competition for jobs among nurses by 2024. Maryland, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Washington D.C. are expected to have the highest competition.

Nurses looking to stand out against the competition would be wise to understand shifting care settings, Elaine L. Smith, Ed.D., MBA, RN, acting dean in the College of Nursing and Public Health for Adelphi University, shared with WalletHub.

“The changing nature of where care is being provided requires nurses to acquire new skill sets that take into account out of hospital care environments,” Smith said. “Assisting patients and families as they traverse levels of care is a priority for nurses — new roles have been emerging that support this process.”

Click here to read the full WalletHub report.