Are Millennials Helping The Nurse Force Expand?


Anyone in the healthcare industry knows that behind every functional practice or hospital, nurses are playing a role. Nurses are trusted healthcare professionals who have large responsibilities in the industry.

There are many different job titles that nurses can hold. The most common being registered nurses, nurse practitioner, and registered nurse. Of course, other nurse titles like ER nurses, travel nurses, OR nurse, and many others are just as valuable while assisting physicians and saving patient’s lives.  All in all, nursing is a profession that results in overall satisfaction.

“In a recent Medscape poll, about one in five nurses said they would not make the same career choice again. Nurses with more than 21 years in the profession were more likely to be dissatisfied than those who were new to the practice.” Healthcare Dive reports. 

Nurses work hand in hand with doctors in order to achieve the utmost patient engagement. They can carry out duties like administrating medication, manage health records, and monitor patients. This role is so important, in fact, that a new study reports that the nurse force will grow 30% by 2030. This means the healthcare industry is continuing to expand.

You can thank millennials for that.

Millennials Dominate Nurse Force

We talk about millennials a lot, mainly because they are the generation that has disrupted many industries. The marketing and retail industry have shifted strategies and business operations in order to meet this digitally-driven generation. Healthcare is no exception.

“According to a study published in Health Affairs, millennials – individuals born between 1985 and 2002 – are 186% more likely to be a registered nurse (RN) compared to a baby boomer. This suggests that millennials will dominate the nursing industry in the next decade.” MIMS Today reports. 

The results of the survey were based on data from the years 2000 and 2015 and studied over 429,500 RNs.  2015 was a year where an abundance of young RNs doubled from 834,000. This was a shift in numbers compared to the year 2000 when the number of RNs dropped to 440,000 when Gen Xers were beginning to work.

Now, the expected number of nurses to enter the healthcare industry will be near twice the rate of baby boomers.

The reason why millennials are joining the nurse force more than any generation can depend on many different factors, according to the study. It boils down to the fact that millennials may be choosing to nurse as a profession due to economic pressures, and shifts, compared to 2000.

Besides the obvious reasons (financial security etc…) nursing is a desired profession for millennials because it is a career that helps people every day.

“Millennials seem to be going into it for perhaps a different set of reasons (than baby boomers)… it’s an area where you’re making a difference in people’s lives day to day. I think that is a motivator,” says Auerbach.” MMS reports. 

What This Means For Healthcare

The fact that the nurse force is expected to grow 30% well into 2030, suggests that the healthcare industry is only going to expand further. As a provider, it is important to pay attention to this fact, in order to successfully shift preferences with the new wave of nurses that are approaching.

Of course, technology plays a large role in nurses’ everyday duties. Since millennials are primarily used to digital tools, the workplace must shift in order to meet their skill sets. The future of nurses depends on patient care, efficient technology, and updated hospital strategies. The healthcare industry must learn to adapt to the new generation that is approaching the workforce.


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