When people hear the word “economy” they seem to cringe…and who can blame them when the last few years have been tough – for everyone. The road to recovery has certainly been faster in some industries than in others and the good news is – it’s definitely a good time to be in healthcare.
Employment growth year-over-year has been positive across the three major sectors of the healthcare industry: ambulatory / outpatient, hospital setting, and nursing / residential care facilities. We are not where we were ‘pre-recession’, but we are certainly inching our way back day by day. Certain healthcare federal mandates that are in place – such as the ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion (a transition that involves expanding medical diagnosis codes from the current 14,000 to more than 67,000, and procedure codes from 13,000 to 85,000) and the conversions to EMR (Electronic Medical Record) – have also helped the recovery. These mandates offer new needs and demand within the healthcare space, which has created even more opportunities.
What does this mean to you?
Industry experts forecasted a nine percent growth in the healthcare staffing market in 2012 and an additional nine percent for 2013. What does this mean for you as a healthcare employee or candidate? The market is strong and there are more and more jobs becoming available each day due to the healthcare facilities improving employment growth. Randstad Healthcare’s own job orders are up and the demand for RN’s is the greatest it’s been since 2008. With this increase, we are starting to see locations and hospitals that have different specialty needs – more than we’ve seen in the last 2–3 years while demand was at a record low.
What does this mean for competition?
What this also means is more competition for jobs among candidates, especially in the travel nursing market. Randstad Healthcare recently attended a travel healthcare convention and attendance was twice what it was last year, indicating that people are, again, becoming engaged in the industry. I wish that every nurse who was thinking about traveling could have been there to feel the excitement level and the passion that people have for not just nursing, but travel nursing where they are helping to fill a void in a hospital in order to keep safe nurse-to-patient ratios. But, as more nurses pursue travel positions, the competition for those jobs increases. From what I’ve seen, there are plenty of open jobs available, but candidates might have to become more open to location, or start date, in order to get the jobs that they really want.
What does this mean about landing a job?
My first tip in a highly competitive market like this for those who are on the job market is to pursue a job in which you are most experienced. Hospitals want to bring on employees right now who have the core experience that they’re looking for (whether it’s a staff position or a temporary position) so that they can hit the ground running immediately and start making an impact on patient care from day one. There is definitely a shortage of some of the more specialized areas such as Cardiovascular OR RNs or Pediatric ICU RNs. In these cases, sometimes the hiring managers are willing to be a bit more flexible and not have as strict of requirements. Before, when demand was low, employers would not budge on their pre-requisites since they had the ability to be particular due to many candidates being out of work – they could get away with hiring only the best of the best. With that being said, this is a great time for someone with less tenure in some of these specialty areas to get into a position that may not have been an option say two years ago.
What does this mean in today’s healthcare?
For Randstad Healthcare’s hospitals and clients, it’s all about trying to understand and prepare for the ACA (Affordable Care Act) while also waiting to see what potential changes may still occur as a result of the recent re-election of President Obama. If healthcare reform does indeed require individual health mandates, this will result in more Americans having access to health insurance, thus, driving more need for healthcare services. This in turn will cause the demand for healthcare providers to increase even more, creating even more opportunities within the healthcare space. In addition, healthcare facilities / hospitals are also in the process of getting prepared for the ICD 9 to ICD 10 conversion – the deadline for which is October 2014.
Facilities are under pressure. What’s good about this for staffing services providers like Randstad Healthcare and the talent that is on the job market, is that along with hospitals being in the process of converting to EMR, all of these mandates and reforms are opening up relatively new types of jobs for healthcare employees. So, if an RN is burnt out on bedside nursing for example, her / his expertise may be used to help out a hospital in a time of need, in a similar but different space. Or, a nurse might be able to use their expertise and skills in a health insurance type of a setting where they have the healthcare knowledge that is needed.
In closing, what does all of this mean?
All in all, it’s an exciting time to be in healthcare. Eight out of the top 30 occupations expected to grow live within healthcare – so there’s a lot of change, but there’s even more opportunity. Take advantage of these differing times and get yourself in the healthcare job of your dreams!