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Nursing Job Market in Maine Tightens

See why there are fewer nursing jobs in Maine than expected

Written by Marisol on November 14th, 2011

Although many economists predicted nursing jobs to grow at a rapid rate from 2008-2018, Maine has experienced a tightening nursing job market in recent years. There are two primary causes that have contributed to create this result, and although this information is specific to the state of Maine this could easily occur in other states as well.

One of the assumptions that was included in previous estimates of nursing job growth was that many current registered nurses would be entering retirement during the last few years. This effect has been much more muted than economists predicted. As the economy began to decline many older nurses kept their jobs and continued working to remain financially stable. Many of these nurses are still working and are choosing to postpone their retirement plans indefinitely. This has capped the demand for new registered nurses in Maine as the previous nursing workforce is remaining in place longer than expected. This trend is still expected to die off eventually as aging nurses cannot physically continue working forever. Eventually they will be forced into retirement and their job openings will hit the open market. The true effect of this turn of events is more of a postponing of nursing job growth rather than a decrease or elimination of new nursing jobs.

The second significant factor affecting the nursing job market in Maine is the gap between education requirements and the qualifications of the current nursing workforce. Many hospitals are seeking to hire healthcare professionals right now but they cannot find a sufficient number of applicants with the appropriate credentials. In response to this situation the Maine Jobs Council’s Health Care Workforce Planning Committee has encouraged technical schools, community colleges and other academic institutions to increase their program offerings for nursing professions. Many community colleges in Maine currently have waiting lists for entry into their nursing programs. The state government of Maine is also supporting the idea of schools expanding their admissions to include more nursing students. While the Maine community college system is constantly adjusting its program offering to remain consistent with current employer demands, programs cannot be created and accredited overnight, so there is some lag time while school officials catch up to current economic factors. A more educated nursing workforce will allow the economy to work efficiently and for available positions to be filled by their right individuals.

In the near future the nursing job market in Maine should become more robust as academic institutions have time to adjust their course offerings to match current hiring demands and as more aging nurses retire leaving new job openings to be filled.

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