Study: Indiana ranks 19th for nursing work conditions and job opportunities

Indiana hospitals are scrambling to hire nurses to fill thousands of openings in one of the biggest hiring sprees in decades, caused in large part by the pandemic.

Recruiters are scouring the state—and beyond—to find nurses to staff shorthanded units in the wake of burnout, promotions, resignations and reassignments.

So how does the Hoosier state fare as a place for a nurse to work?

Another study is out to help answer this question, ranking all 50 states for working conditions and opportunities. The conclusion: Indiana comes out with a mixed grade.

Indiana ranks 13th among all state for “opportunity and competition,” which considers starting salaries, average annual salaries, quality of nursing schools, nurses per 1,000 residents, health care-facilities per capita and other factors.

But the state ranks far lower—33rd—for “work environment,” which includes ratio of nurses to hospital beds, friendliness toward working moms, mandatory overtime rules, average number of work hours, and COVID-19 death rate.

Overall, Indiana ranks 19th among states for best states for nurses, according to the study, conducted by Wallet Hub, a financial consumer website.

The study compared 50 states across 22 key metrics that paint a picture for nursing job opportunities in each state.

WalletHub said it conducted the study to help nurses see how they might fare during one of the toughest job environments in memory.

“Sadly, nurses have experienced extremely dangerous working conditions during the pandemic, with critical shortages of respirators, surgical masks, gloves, gowns and other necessary protective equipment,” the report said. “It’s more important now than ever for states to step up and make sure that nurses are properly equipped to do their jobs and have the best work environment possible.”

The five best states for nurses, according to the study, are Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico.

The five worst states, in descending order, are Alabama, New Jersey, Vermont, Delaware and Maryland.

Indiana did not score in the top or bottom five in any individual breakout category, such as most or fewest nursing-job openings per capita, highest or lowest annual nursing salary, most or fewest health care facilities per capita, or highest and lowest percentage of the population aged 65 and older by 2030.

The study, released May 5, said it determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score.

The report said it used data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Council for Community and Economic Research and other public and private agencies.

One conclusion: Nursing is “expected to grow at nearly double the rate of the average occupation through 2029.”

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