This career will see huge growth as Boomers age


Written by:


The U.S. is expected to experience an increase in demand for medical care — a trend that will be shaped by a demographic shift some call the “gray tsunami.” Baby boomers, the generation born immediately after World War II, have left their mark on the U.S. population — 21% of all Americans are expected to be 65 or older by 2030. The aging population will put increasing demands on health care in hospitals, in-home care, and long-term care facilities.

In many respects, nurses are the unsung heroes of the health care industry. Nurses are generally less recognized than their physician counterparts, despite the fact that they work directly in dangerous environments, for long hours, and relatively low pay. But according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, patients spend more than 86% of their time in-care with nurses, against just 13% with physicians. This high ratio of proximity has borne some alarming numbers in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More nurses have passed away during the pandemic than any other health care occupation.

The ever-aging population also has had a further effect aside from an increased need for care. Many nurses are ready to retire or leave the bedside. In fact, one study has shown that nearly half of nurses do the latter within two years of joining the profession. The natural aging process and physical demands of nursing are taxing. The largest exit of nurses ever recorded in the U.S. occurred in 2020, and 500,000 retirements are expected to happen by 2022, leaving the country with a critical nursing shortage. The wave of retiring nurses may not allow time for administrators to work collaboratively to promote a self-sufficient and sustainable nursing workforce.


SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals get started now.





1 million nurses are expected to retire by 2030 as the older adult population grows

Just as a large population will begin needing care, an exodus of skilled nursing professionals due for retirement is projected to occur. When these experienced nurses–who have accumulated invaluable knowledge and skills over many years–leave the workforce, organizations will face multiple risks.

The knowledge experienced nurses have to assess, identify changes, and respond to evolving medical conditions can only be learned over time. Patient care organizations and care settings will need to train and monitor novice nurses, as well as ensure the workplace morale is safe and effective in promoting professional growth. Those in leadership roles can develop programs to have older nurses mentor new nurses to assure consistent, quality patient care.

Before the pandemic, several statewide initiatives were underway to address the impending shortage of nurses and nurse educators. Among them is the University of Wisconsin’s $3.2 million Nurses for Wisconsin initiative to provide financial assistance for nurses who become educators within the state. The initiative comes from a state-funded grant–the UW System Economic Development Incentive Grant–which was launched in response to the projected shortage of 20,000 nurses by 2035.

Demand for nurse practitioners is expected to grow the most

Nurse practitioners share in the foundational principles of nursing, providing an integrated approach and unique perspective on total health. As the fastest-growing primary care provider professional, nurse practitioners focus on health promotion, education, and disease-preventive care. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employed nurse practitioners is projected to grow by 114,900 by 2030 to reach an estimated total workforce of more than 335,000.

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, four of the top certifications for nurse practitioners were in primary care: family (65.4%), adult (12.6%), adult-gerontology (7.8%), and pediatrics (3.7%). As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, nurse practitioners were permanently authorized to order and provide care for Medicare-eligible home health patients, many of which are within the aged population. Currently, 43 states now allow nurse practitioners to practice independently without physician oversight.

Wages and benefits may need to expand to retain nurses

As the aging population requires more acute and chronic care management, they will need more geriatric services and long-term care services. Between March 2020 and January 2021, the demand for in-home caregivers (also known as home health aides), certified nursing assistants, and personal attendants grew by 125%. At this time, home care agencies are struggling to retain staff due to low wages, which are comparable to entry-level positions that assume far less responsibility.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that registered nurses in long-term care settings earn lower wages (average $72,420) compared to hospital nurses (average $78,070), and the general median wage for all nurses is less than other diagnostic and treatment positions in the health care industry.

Regardless of the care setting, nurses report feeling underpaid and undervalued. A Brookings report showed that while home health and personal care aides outnumber RNs, their wages are nearly two-thirds lower on average. In general, nurses who have passed the NCLEX-RN and other certification exams earn higher wages than less qualified nurses. Although better wages are part of the solution, federal and state actions are required to sustain the nursing workforce. Targeted efforts are creating wage boards, stable and predictable shift scheduling, and consistent access to personal protective equipment for safety. Employer investments such as career progression, tuition aid, and ongoing training are also being considered.

There may be increased demand for hospice care

When a patient agrees to hospice, they relinquish medical care to treat their illness. The focus is shifted to ensuring comfort care and other personal goals. As the aging population with life-threatening conditions increases, the demand for hospice services also increases. Medicare costs for hospice care coverage increased by $5 billion between 2015 and 2019, reaching more than $20 billion for hospice-covered benefits.

Hospice benefits include nurses, health aides, social workers, chaplains, and counselors to support patients and their families. Aside from staff, hospice benefits include medical equipment, drugs for pain and symptom management, rehabilitation therapy, and–in some cases–room and board at a specified care setting.

Automated solutions may aid nursing shortages

With the growing demand for medical care–including for activities of daily living–nurses would benefit from the ability to delegate certain tasks to supplemental staff. Human-like robots can be programmed with artificial intelligence capable of navigating clinical decisions and may assist patients with personal care tasks.

Stanford University reports that Japan’s aging population is reaping the benefits of adopting robots to address health care worker shortages. The National Bureau of Economic Research confirms that robot adoption in Japanese nursing homes enhanced staff retention and reduced burnout. Technological breakthroughs are bound to happen to transform health care and wellness.

In areas where therapeutic and diagnostic errors are correlated with nursing staff shortages, artificial intelligence systems can aid in retaining large volumes of health data and clinical information, as well as improve accuracy in reporting. Technological advancement can aid in restoring a nurse’s ability to actively engage and develop rapport with their patients.


This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

More from MediaFeed:

Terrifying jobs that no longer exist, thankfully


“When I grow up, I want to capture and sell rats from pubs!” said no one in the 21st century ever (well, at least almost no one, we suppose).


While the age of the machine and automation have taken away some jobs, there are plenty that we’re probably all pretty glad have gone away. After all, chances are OSHA would not approve of having little boys stuffing gunpowder into canons these days. Or catching rats, for that matter.


With that in mind, here are some of the most dangerous and, well, odd, jobs that we’re really glad aren’t around anymore.



State Library of New South Wales / Wiki Commons


If Covid didn’t make you appreciate hairdressers, just wait until you hear about ancient Roman hairdressers, called ornatrices. These were enslaved women who were in charge of making their mistress’s hair look as ornate and “fashionable” as possible. Part of that was often dying their hair (did we mention that hair dye back then was made of rotten leeches, pigeon poop, urine, dead leeches and other nasty stuff?).

Related: The mullet is back, but it’s been around for centuries


Tetraktys / Wiki Commons


Ewerers were medieval workers whose main job was making nobles have the best bath time possible. They got them hot water for bathing, warm water for washing their hands, dried their clothes, and, of course, drew them a bath fit for a king (sometimes literally).



Lawrence Alma-Tadema / Wiki Commons


Hairdressers weren’t the only ones who had the short end of the sheers. You’ve heard of barbers, but what about barber-surgeons? They did all the things you’d think a barber would: lice removal, hair trimming, beard trimming, and, you know teeth removal and bloodletting. If you’ve ever wondered about what that old timely barber pole is about, it’s actually a symbol of the latter stuff on that list: brass for the basin used to collect patient blood, blue for bandages, and red, of course, for blood.


Franz Anton Maulbertsch / Wiki Commons


Personally, getting paid to eat food doesn’t sound too bad. But when the title’s food/poison taster? Maybe not so much. Since the advent of kings and queens, poison tasters would taste a noble’s food for poison placed there by enemies. Probably not too surprisingly, this does exist to some extent today. Actually, at the Summer Olympics in 2008, mice tasted athletes’ food to ensure it wasn’t poisoned.


Giorces / Wiki Commons


Luckily, “necessary woman” is no longer a necessary job. These poor women emptied chamber pots (aka toilets). For those lucky enough to serve royal and nobles, the pay was pretty decent (£60), and it came with free lodging and supplies.



John Riley / Wiki Commons


City dwellers know all too well how nasty rats can be. Enter (or we guess, exit): Rat catchers. These gross, often disease-ridden pests were (and arguably are, still) a menace to society in the Victorian era. So, rat catchers would go to pubs and other public places, trap mice, and often entertain passersby by doing tricks like grabbing as many rats as they could in one hand and let them crawl up and down their arms.



State Library of New South Wales / Wiki Commons


Remember the movie “Hidden Figures?” Well, NASA’s “human” computers used to be the norm before digital ones took over. Human computers, often women, solved (or computed) mathematical equations and literally crunched the numbers.


Related: 34 interesting facts about money (& 1 that will really gross you out)




Ah, witch hunters. While this is one past job that many people are probably realize that this was more of a side hustle than a full-time occupation. Still, these side hustlers did hustle hard, with many taking their job a bit too seriously. Case in point: Matthew Hopkins, the self-appointed “Witch Finder Generall” of England. He tortured and killed around 230 people in just three years, from 1644 to 1647. Makes you a bit more appreciative of less murder-y side hustles like Uber, huh?


Wiki Commons


While bowling alleys may not be as fashionable as they once were, they sure are easier to maintain! Back before the advent of mechanical pin setters in 1936, someone (often young boys) called a pinsetter had to manually reset the pins.



Lewis Wickes Hine / Wiki Commons


No, we’re not talking about the animal! A badger was a farmer’s market middle man for city slickers back in the 1880s. They would buy food from a farmer, go to the city, and “badger” city dwellers to buy their fresh foods.



Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen / Wiki Commons


While this job may have looked happy-go-lucky on “Mary Poppins, it was anything but. Chimney sweeps got soot buildup out of chimneys. Many chimney “masters” pretty much bought poor kids off parents unable to take care of them since kids could fit in the chimneys better than adults. Unsurprisingly, these children often suffered from horrendous health issues.



Museo Sonogno / Wiki Commons


If you recall your intro to psych class, a phrenologist measured peoples’ intelligence by the shape of their heads. This pseudoscience was based in racist beliefs about the differences in skill shapes between white and Black people, among other since debunked myths.



The British Library


A whipping boy was a young prince’s designated “friend” who was whipped every time the prince misbehaved. While this sounds downright awful, many whipping boys were given some sweet perks in their adult lives, such as Charles I designating his whipping boy as the first Earl of Dysart back in 1643.



Walter S. Stacey / Wiki Commons


Proving yet again why child labor laws were desperately needed, a powder monkey was yet again a young boy who would load gunpowder into the cannons of warships.


Related: 50 facts about war you may not know


The Photographic History of The Civil War / Wiki Commons


Harkening back to pseudoscience-based jobs, alchemists attempted to turn pretty much anything and everything into gold. While we now know that this medieval practice doesn’t work (shocker), it is worth pointing out that Roberty Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, pretty much stole an alchemist’s own research for several of his own.



Joseph Wright of Derby / Wiki Commons


A what now? Knock-knobblers, as the name so elegantly suggests, was someone who ran around church services chasing out dogs. Thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be a problem anymore (although maybe they wouldn’t have needed whipping boys so much if they had dogs in churches to keep rascally young princes occupied…).


Related: The WW2 cat that wouldn’t die & other nearly unbelievable historical facts


Kriste Sorokaite / iStock


Section hands were railroad workers who maintained tracks before machines took over the job. Although John Henry the gandy man does have a right to it, gandy dancers was a common and prerogative slang term for this physically exhausting, often dangerous work.



Edward Hungerford / Wiki Commons


No, not that type of knocking up. These knocker-uppers were the 1800s version of alarm clocks. They’d literally knock on their clients’ windows, using pea-shooters, really long poles, or even a good old fashion tap with their knuckles to ensure the client got up in time for work.



Nationaal Archief


During Prohibition, a hush shopkeeper was essentially the gatekeeper of bootlegged alcohol for customers who were looking to wet their whistle by buying liquor at their local shop.



United States Library of Congress


Caddy butchers worked in both the U.S. and the U.K. all the way until the 1940s. They sold horse meat, which was considerably cheaper than beef, venison, and other proteins.



Peter Yezek / Wiki Commons


Before there were ice road truckers, we had the equally dangerous and crucial ice cutters. Back before your fridges and freezers were capable of storing ice, lakes were the main source of these luxurious ice slabs. So, you’d have to find a good ice cutter who could acquire the ice for you.



Russell Lee / Wiki Commons


A redsmith, or coppersmith, was an expert crafter of brass, copper, and other zinc alloys. They made and fixed household goods and tools for over 6,000 before the industrial revolution made this profession all but obsolete. Now, most coppersmiths are artists instead of toolmakers.



Heinz-Josef Lücking / Wiki Commons


A scissors grinder helped grind and give new life to a variety of sharp, pointy objects, like knives, scissors, and other tools. They used an abrasive wheel that they traveled door-to-door with to sharpen peoples’ pointy stuff. They managed to stay relevant until the 1970s, when it became much cheaper and easier to buy new tools than to sharpen old tools.



William Edward Fretwell / Wiki Commons


One of the many jobs for youngsters was the billy boys profession. Billy boys pretty much made tea for those who worked at railway yards, blacksmith sites, construction sites, and more. They used “billycans,” which were lightweight pots, to boil water over a fire for tea.



Johan Larsson / Wiki Commons


Barbers weren’t the only ones draining people of blood. Back in medieval-er times, the leech collector went around, well, collecting leeches and selling them to doctors, who would then use them for bloodletting procedures done to their patients.



Robert Havell / Wiki Commons


Leeches were in good company before modern medicine. In the 1600s, when leeches just wouldn’t do, a toad doctor would use dried or powdered toads to treat inflammation, headaches, and a slew of skin conditions. For some reason, these doctors believed toads had special healing powers they believed could cure their patients.





Proving once again that the 19th century was much grosser than modern times, the crossing sweeper literally walked in front of rich people to clear a path down the street from them. The wealthy hired these folks to avoid coming in contact with waste and other yucky things, as well as to keep their clothes clean while they were out and about.

Related: 8 tips to keep your home cleaner longer


William Powell Frith / Wiki Commons


Last but not least, enter the resurrectionist In the 18th century, modern medicine was becoming a thing, and doctors and medical students needed dead bodies to study and dissect to learn more about how the human body worked. (And yes, that sometimes meant unearthing already buried bodies when demand for cadavers was high.) So, resurrectionists acted like a creepier and nastier Amazon Prime by exhuming the recently dead and delivering them to medical professionals and students.


This article was produced and syndicated by


Hablot Knight Browne / Wiki Commons



LagunaticPhoto / istockphoto


Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos.