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Nursing Ranks, Employment Growing

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, September 24, 2010

Hospitals still remain the most common employer for RNs—increasing from 57.4% in 2004 to 62.2% of employed RNs in 2008. The increase in this percentage is the first increase since 1984. While nearly 90% of RNs under 25 years old work in hospitals, less than 53% of RNs age 55 and older work in hospitals. Fewer than half of nurses with master's degrees work in hospitals; more than 18% are in ambulatory care settings and nearly 12% are in academic education.

The most common job title of RNs in the U.S. is "staff nurse"—or its equivalent (66.3%). Between 2004 and 2008, the proportion of staff RNs increased by 2.2%. Just below 20% of RNs with graduate degrees are staff RNs, compared with 72.8% of those without a graduate degree. The next most common job title in 2008 included management and administration titles (12.5%).

Many registered nurses held more than one job in nursing, according to the report. Overall, about 12% of RNs with full-time primary nursing positions, and 14% of those with part-time primary positions have additional nursing positions.

More than half of RNs work at least 40 hours per week in their principal nursing position. Another 24.2% work 32 to 39 hours per week. A total of 19.1%t of RNs report that they worked on-call or could have been called to work (on "standby") during a typical work week in their principal nursing positions. Among RNs employed in nursing positions, 27.5% report that they worked overtime, averaging 7.5 hours per week and received pay for such work.

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