May 8, 2018

WalletHub: Maine is top market for new nursing graduates

Maine is the best of the 50 states for new nursing graduates who are just starting their profession, according to the personal-finance website WalletHut's "2018's Best and Worst States for Nurses" report, whose release coincides with National Nurses Week that began on Sunday.

The report compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 21 key metrics, ranging from monthly average starting salary for nurses to health-care facilities per capita and nursing job openings per capita.

Data was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Council for Community and Economic Research, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and 12 other sources. Eleven metrics were considered in the "opportunity and competition" part of the evaluation (which comprised 70% of the total score), while seven metrics were evaluated in the "work environment" part of the total score.

Here's how Maine ranked among key metrics with (1=Best; 25=Average):

  • Health-care facilities per capita: 8
  • Nurses per capita: 28
  • Projected share of elderly population by 2030: 2
  • Nursing job openings per capita: 1
  • Share of best nursing homes: 12
  • Projected competition by 2024: 24
  • Average number of work hours: 20.

In the "most nursing job openings per capita" Maine tied with Vermont and District of Columbia at No. 1, followed by North Dakota (4) and Alaska (5).

In the "highest percentage of population aged 65 and older by 2030," Maine ranked No. 2 among the oldest five states, with Florida being No. 1, Wyoming (3), New Mexico (4) and Montana (5). States with the lowest percentage of population older than 65 by 2030 are: Georgia (47), Texas (48), Alaska (49), District of Columbia (50) and Utah (51).

WalletHub's reported challenges facing new nurses include the aging U.S. population, the student-loan crisis and concerns about the future of key entitlement programs.

"But such concerns are shared by recent graduates in all industries," it stated in the report. "More specific to nursing professionals are the various day-to-day demands placed on them, such as mandatory overtime, overstaffing, unionization and disrespectful behavior by patients. Despite those challenges, however, aspiring nurses have much to look forward to upon certification. Nursing occupations are some of the most lucrative careers with the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. In fact, the industry is expected to grow at more than double the rate of the average occupation through 2026."


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