An increasing number of nurses are getting their first jobs outside of the hospital as the healthcare system moves from fee-for-service medicine to population health that focuses on outreach to keep patients well.

In 2005, 76% of new nurses in the U.S. got jobs outside of hospitals, compared to about 87% of nurses in 2012, according to studies conducted by the RN Work Project at New York University, which has been tracking career changes among nurses for a decade.

Hospitals continue to hire nurses and the profession remains in demand, but more and more registered nurses are taking on a greater role in team-based medical care. These new approaches, such as accountable care organizations or medical homes, are focused on patient outcomes and improving quality as opposed to fee-for-service medicine.

“The percentage of experienced hospital nurses going into ‘community jobs’ will increase as the jobs in case management and ambulatory care are seen as more desirable,” said Christine Kovner, professor of geriatric nursing at New York University and co-director of the RN Work Project, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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