Identifying Long-Term Job Trends, Opportunities in Healthcare

Posted On: 6/22/2010 | By: Terri McKinney

How will healthcare reform influence the need for qualified nurses in the coming decades? What demographic trends will determine where the growth opportunities in nursing will lie? What other trends present either long-term threats or opportunities to those in the nursing profession?

Azteria CEO Lloyd Fassett, head of one of the leading recruiting and career management systems for the U.S. healthcare Industry, recently talked to HES about both the short-term [URL link to article “Today’s Healthcare Profession – Job Trends and Opportunities”] and long-term challenges and opportunities that will shape healthcare careers in the coming decades.

HES:  Can you tell us a bit about Azteria?

LF:  I created Azteria because I thought the way the industry connected people and jobs didn’t make sense. The industry was marketing jobs to individuals, when what was needed was to create a process that marketed candidates to employers because candidates are harder to find than jobs for hard to fill jobs.

I had a background in Internet-based companies, and had joined a traveling nurse placement company to help them deal with some challenges and achieve success, which we did. That's how I got to know the industry from the ground up – from the viewpoint of a recruiter. I found that an awful lot of a recruiter’s time is wasted because all the recruiters get the same information from candidates, and each recruiter had a small subset of all the potential jobs out there. The outcome was that candidates weren’t being connected to the best opportunities possible.

So, after having turned around this traveling nurse placement company, I decided to focus next on coming up with a better solution for matching candidates, employers and potential job opportunities, to help ensure that candidates were getting the best jobs. The challenge was that to know the “best” jobs you need to know both all the jobs and how to compare them on an ongoing basis.

HES:  So how does your solution work?

LF:  Azteria uses an algorithm that matches people based on a specific set of criteria, including skills, specializations, experience, desired location and employment type and shift. Our unique business model and data aggregation and standardization technology enables us to bring together every employer and every job that exists – every day.  When a client is paying us to recruit for a specific position, we will interview potential candidates and call matched candidates for that job.  Most jobs, however, provide a link where an individual can apply directly to any of the jobs listed on the Azteria site.  We also let candidates openly provide feedback on employers, which is another element of deciphering the word “best” for a job.

The key part though is that in hard to fill positions, we call candidates because those are the hard sought after skills.  That’s why, we’re more like a candidate board than a job board, the really valuable flow of information goes from employer toward employee, not employee toward employer which is what happens with responses to jobs on the internet.

It gets back to the purpose of creating Azteria, which was to create a process for getting the best jobs for candidates. You simply can’t do that without knowing all the jobs, structuring that data and getting feedback from people who have been with that employer.  If you get the best jobs for individuals seeking healthcare jobs, then you're doing something useful for them and they're going to want to be part of your system.

HES:  Clearly, you have a tremendous knowledge of the healthcare industry. Based on that knowledge and your work with the industry, where do you feel the greatest number of opportunities lie for employment within healthcare?  We all hear that healthcare in general is growing, but what specific jobs or career paths would you recommend for the greatest growth?

LF:  The short answer is to get a lot of education and certification and go for jobs that pay a lot of money. If you can become a certified nurse anesthetist, that's fantastic. Physician assistants are also going to have great job opportunities. Interestingly, I don't think doctors will have as much leverage as they used to, so I’d recommend getting an MD only if you love that role, being the person who makes the leading decisions about a person's care. Doctors are in charge of healthcare decisions made on an individual, case-by-case basis. But a lot of healthcare institutions are now trying to hire physician assistants and nurse anesthetists to do what doctors used to do.   

It's a trend that's happened over decades.  This isn’t new. Nurses used to change bedpans back in the '60s. Then certified nurse assistants came along and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). They're doing more of the less-skilled work and they get lower pay for that. That's continuing now with doctors. A nurse anesthetist, who is less costly to employ than an MD anesthetist, is increasingly in demand by healthcare employers. Of course there are exceptions, but in the long-term, I would just generally recommend getting the highest degree you can, and constantly keep learning. Even if an ACLS is not required, get your ACLS. If you're a LVN, go back to school at night and get your RN. If you have an AS, get a BA. If you have a BA, get a MSN. It's good professionally, you'll enjoy your job more, and you're more employable.

In the long term, the internet will let employers more effectively reach out to find candidates with the skills that are in demand.  If you have those skills, you will not be lacking for opportunities.  The more you can differentiate your qualifications, and demonstrate you are committed to improving your capabilities, the more attractive you are as a candidate.

Health Education Solutions offers online courses for healthcare providers, including BLSStroke CoursesACLS certification and recertification, and PALS certification and recertification.

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