A Look at Nursing Jobs in Louisiana

For those wondering about nursing jobs in Louisiana upon graduation, it’s not so much a question of if as it is a question of where.

In fact, some predict that we’re facing a nationwide nursing shortage that will leave hospitals and other healthcare centers on the lookout for qualified nurses — and Louisiana won’t be exempt from that.

By 2020, the state will have 1,700 unfilled registered nurse positions, according to Cynthia Bienemy, director of the Louisiana State Board of Nursing’s Center for Nursing as quoted in a March 2017 article in The Advocate. The same article noted that by 2030, that number could increase to more than 10,000.

The state’s nearly 45,000 nurses, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are largely concentrated in the five metro areas.

By Metro Area

New Orleans has the most, of course, with about a third of the state’s RNs working in hospitals and for other healthcare providers. Baton Rouge has close to 20 percent of the state’s nurses.

Shreveport-Bossier City, Lafayette, and Alexandria also have significant numbers of nurses, and there are additional concentrations of nurses in three other, smaller Louisiana metro areas: Houma, Lake Charles and Monroe.

In Hospitals

If you’re looking for hospital employment in Louisiana, the New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System — which extends out to other parts of the state, including several hospitals in neighboring Jefferson County Parish and a hospital in Baton Rouge — is the largest and perhaps the best known. A 2015 U.S. News and World Report roundup of hospitals declared Ochsner the best in the state, ranking it nationally in three adult specialties and one pediatric specialty.

The Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, and the Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport also received recognition in the U.S. News & World Report overview.

Universities also figure into the state’s hospital landscape, with LSU’s medical school involved in New Orleans’ University Medical Center and several other hospitals throughout the state (including Monroe and Shreveport). Tulane University has its own medical center in New Orleans as well as a women’s and children’s hospital in Metairie.

Alexandria is served by two primary hospitals: Rapides Regional Medical Center and CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, the latter being part of the Texas-based network of hospitals extending to six states as well as Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

Other Employers

Of course, hospitals aren’t the only place Louisiana BSNs land. For an October 2015 report, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing’s Center for Nursing surveyed nearly 1,300 healthcare facilities — including 185 hospitals — employing nurses throughout the state.

Together, long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities and home healthcare agencies make up more than 35 percent of healthcare facilities that employ RNs. Additionally, the report identified more than 150 dialysis centers, nearly 150 hospice facilities, almost 125 rural healthcare centers, and more than 80 ambulatory surgery care centers throughout the state.

For nurses who want to work outside of a traditional healthcare setting, the state’s Department of Public Health employs nurses to take an active role in responding to health crises, working with businesses in health education efforts for their employees, and educating communities on preventive care, which includes organizing health fairs and coordinating health screenings.

And for those who want to go beyond Louisiana, that’s possible, as well — travel nursing is a viable option for those who want to stay anchored to their Louisiana roots but venture elsewhere.

RN Salaries in Louisiana

But how does the pay for nurses stack up in Louisiana, compared to the rest of the nation?

The salary for an RN in Louisiana averages close to $60,000 annually. Those working in the New Orleans metro area average the highest in the state, with salaries approaching above $66,000, just under the national average. Alexandria has the second-highest annual salary average in the state at about $59,000, while the other larger metro areas across the state range from over $55,000 to over $58,000.

Of course, a BSN enables nurses aspiring to management or educator roles — and those looking to add to their resumes and their knowledge base — to enter graduate nursing programs.

If you’re currently in nursing school in Louisiana, you’re in luck, and if you’ve thought about returning to nursing school to earn your BSN, this could well be the right time to do so. There’s definitely a need for nurses to fill a diverse range of roles in Louisiana’s vast healthcare network. In fact, RegisteredNursing.org projects an 8 percent increase in statewide nursing jobs through 2022 with a potential for even more growth after that should the LSBN’s projections prove true.

Learn more about the LSUA online RN to BSN program.


The Advocate: How Louisiana Schools, Hospitals Plan to Combat Expected Largest Nursing Shortage in Modern Health Care

RegisteredNursing.org: Registered Nurse Jobs in Louisiana

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages for Registered Nurses, May 2016

U.S. News & World Report: Best Hospitals in Louisiana

Louisiana Center for Nursing: Louisiana’s Nursing Workforce Demand Report 2014

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