SAN ANTONIO (May 19, 2009) — In stark contrast to the bleak employment outlook for the college class of 2009, nearly 90 percent of nursing graduates from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio already have jobs.
A survey of graduating students shows that 87.8 percent of nursing students already know where they will be working once they have passed their licensing tests. About 97 percent of those students plan to practice in Texas and 78 percent plan to work in San Antonio.
Recent-year exit surveys historically have shown that the new graduates who are not yet employed most likely will have a job within a few months, because some nurses delay applying for a job until after they take their licensing exams, spend time with their families over the summer or relocate to a new city.
In contrast, a survey released earlier in May by the National Association of Colleges and Employers noted that “just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one. In comparison, 51 percent of those graduating in 2007 and 26 percent of those graduating in 2008 who had applied for a job had one in hand by the time of graduation.”
“These employment figures actually are about what we see from year to year,” said Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN., dean of the School of Nursing. “Nurses are in great demand nationally, statewide and in Texas.” In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016 and, because the occupation is very large, many new jobs will result.”
Nursing provides respectable salaries, too. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, average annual salaries are $42,620, with signing bonuses of up to $5,000. Dean Breslin said, “We are seeing beginning salaries for our nurses running from about $44,000 to $54,000,” Dean Breslin said. “Salaries can vary significantly with overtime, shift incentives, location, specialty, and signing and longevity bonuses.
“Most people think of nurses working in a hospital. While many nurses do, there is a lot of variety in the field of nursing,” Dean Breslin said. “Registered nurses are needed to work in school nursing, in home health, in research, in the military, in public health and in academia, so a nursing career can be an especially satisfying career.
“With the national nursing shortage and the great variety of work that nurses can do during their career, this is a terrific field with a great future for employment,” she added.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $36 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 25,600 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.