Kansas nursing occupational outlook 1998-2008

Kansas nursing occupational outlook 1998-2008

In 1998, the population of Kansas was at 2.6 million with the majority of residents living in urban areas. Kansas has consistently experienced unemployment rates below the nation as a whole. In 1998 the state unemployment rate was 3.8% compared to a national unemployment rate of 4.5%. Currently the Kansas unemployment rate stands at 5.2% and the nation at 5.8%.

The base year used for the study was 1998. The average annual job openings are estimates of annual job growth and replacement needs. The report is an indication of economic trends based on knowledge of the industries at the time of the study. At the time of the report’s writing, Kansas is experiencing an economic slowdown; and the ramifications of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, are still working their way through the nation’s economy. Prior to the economic slowdown, Kansas and the rest of the nation were experiencing a period of historic economic growth, combining near full employment with low inflation. Slow population growth and the lack of trained personnel were considered the main obstacles to faster economic growth in the state.

National Trends

In 1998 registered nurses held more than 2 million jobs nationwide. Approximately three out of five jobs were in hospitals. Others were in offices and clinics of physicians, home health care agencies, nursing homes, temporary help agencies, schools and government agencies. More than one-fourth of all RNs worked part-time.

Job prospects in nursing are very good. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2008 and, because the occupation is large, many new jobs will result. Thousands of job openings also will result from the need to replace experienced nurses who leave the occupation, especially as the median age of the registered nurse population continues to rise. Some states report current and projected shortages of RNs, primarily due to an aging RN workforce and recent declines in nursing school enrollments. Imbalances between the supply of and the demand for qualified workers should spur efforts to attract and retain qualified RNs. For example, employers may restructure workloads, improve compensation and working conditions, and subsidize training or continuing education.

Employment in hospitals, the current largest sector of employment, is expected to grow more slowly than in other healthcare sectors. While the intensity of nursing care is likely to increase, requiring more nurses per patient, the number of hospital inpatients is unlikely to increase. Rapid growth is expected in hospital outpatient facilities, such as those providing same-day surgery, rehabilitation, and chemotherapy.

Employment in home healthcare is expected to grow rapidly. This is in response to a growing number of older persons with functional disabilities, consumer preference for care in the home, and technological advances which make it possible to bring increasingly complex treatments into the home. The type of care demanded will require nurses who are able to perform complex procedures.

Employment in nursing homes is expected to grow faster than average due to increases in the number of elderly citizens. In addition, the financial pressure on hospitals to discharge patients as soon as possible should produce more nursing home admissions. Growth in units to provide specialized long-term rehabilitation for stroke and head injury patients or that treat Alzheimer’s victims also will increase employment.

In evolving integrated health care networks, nurses may rotate among employment settings. Because jobs in traditional hospital nursing positions are no longer the only option, RNs will need to be flexible. Opportunities should be excellent, particularly for nurses with advanced education and training.

The report breaks Kansas into 7 areas that encompass several counties per area. The following is a brief summary of each area’s projections.


Registered nurses were listed in the top 10 occupations adding the most jobs. In 1998, average employment of RNs stood at 23,020. Registered nurses are projected to experience a 28.0 percent growth or the addition of 6,440 new jobs by the year 2008. RNs maintaining an active license and Kansas residency total 27,817. (Kansas Board of Nursing FY2001 report: not a total of RNs actually practicing nursing.)

RNs are also considered a high demand occupation. To be considered high demand, the occupation must have 500 or more projected average annual job openings. RNs are projected to experience a growth of 640 new jobs per year. Replacement positions are projected at 380, which are separate from growth projections.

New job increases are also expected for nursing aides: In 1998 there were 16,040 nursing aides and orderlies employed. This occupation is expected to experience a growth of 26.1 percent with the addition of 4,190 new jobs.

North East Kansas

17 counties; [Atchison, Brown, clay, Doniphan, Douglas, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Marshall, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Washington.]

Major employment centers include Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, and junction City. The unemployment rate for the region has historically been stable, but higher than that of the state as a whole. The 1998 rate for this region was 4.5 percent compared to 3.8 percent for the state. RNs are a fast growing occupation with annual job openings expected of 28.0 percent or the addition of 1,300 new positions.

Kansas City

4 counties: [Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, Wyandotte.]

The region is one of the most densely population in the state. The 1998 unemployment rate for the region was 3.9 percent. RNs are considered to be one of the Kansas City occupations adding the most jobs by 2008. The area is projected to experience a 27.8 percent increase in nursing positions.

South Central Kansas

7 counties: [Butler, Cowley, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Sedgwick, Sumner.]

Wichita is the major employment center in the area. In 1998, south central Kansas led the state in manufacturing employment, with 37 percent of the workers in this industry. The unemployment rate for this region is closely related to the economic stability of the aircraft production industry. In 1998 the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent compared to the state rate of 3.8 percent.

RN positions are expected to increase 28.0 percent or 1,470 jobs by 2008. Nursing aide or orderly positions will also increase by 25.9 percent, which will add 890 jobs.

South East Kansas

17 counties : [Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Lyon, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, Woodson.]

Major employment centers include Emporia, Pittsburg, Coffeyville, and Parsons. The unemployment rate for this region has remained stable in recent years, but has been above that of the state, with a rate of 5.4 percent in 1998.

Registered nurses and nursing aides/orderlies are listed second and third respectively in occupations adding the most jobs. RNs will add 530 jobs at a rate of 28.5 percent, and nursing aides are projected to add 27.0 percent or 500 new jobs by 2008.

South West Kansas

21 counties: [Barber, Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Finney, Ford, Grant, Gray, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kiowa, Meade, Morton, Pawnee, Pratt, Seward, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens.]

Major unemployment centers include Garden City, Dodge City, and Liberal. The unemployment rate has historically been lower than the state average with a 2.6 percent rate for the region.

RNs are projected to experience a 27.5 percent growth (420) in jobs by 2008 and nursing aides/orderlies will add 250 jobs at a rate of 25.5 percent.

North Central Kansas

14 counties: [Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, McPherson, Marion, Mitchell, Morris, Ottawa, Reno, Republic, Rice, Saline.]

Primary employment centers include Salina, Hutchinson, and McPherson. The unemployment rate for the region has historically been stable and below that of the state average rate. In 1998 the regional rate was 3.1 percent. Nursing aides/orderlies have an anticipated growth of 27.2 percent or 520 new jobs. RNs have a projected growth of 28.4 percent or 570 new jobs.

North West Kansas

25 counties: [Barton, Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gave, Graham, Greeley, Lane, Logan, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, Wichita.]

This area has the lowest population density of all the regions. Major employment center’s are Hays and Great Bend. Agriculture is a major factor in the region’s economy. The unemployment rate in the area is one of the lowest compared to other regions and the statewide average. In 1998, the rate was 2.9 percent compared to 3.8 percent for the state. Registered nurses and nursing aides/orderlies are listed second and third respectively in occupations adding the most jobs. RNs will add 450 jobs at a rate of 27.8 percent, and nursing aides are projected to add 25.5 percent or 350 new jobs by 2008.

Copyright Kansas State Nurses Association Mar 2003

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