U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Jobs report includes many healthcare positions. The industry had 44 of the top 100 jobs, with physician assistant, nurse anesthetist and nurse practitioner among those leading the way.
Healthcare also had most of the best-paying jobs list. Anesthesiologists topped the list of highest paid at an average salary of $265,990. Surgeon, oral and maxillofacial surgeon and obstetrician/gynecologist were next on the list.
The publication said industry's dominance on the top lists is connected to "high salaries and low unemployment rates."
Healthcare jobs are often seen as great jobs. The industry is growing faster than just about any other. In 2018, healthcare added 346,000 jobs, an increase from 284,000 jobs the previous year. Most of the new jobs came in ambulatory services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
About 11% of jobs in the U.S. economy are connected to healthcare. That's expected to grow 18% by 2026 as Americans grow older and need more care.
But there are still numerous job-related issues for the market. In recent years, nurses and other hospital employees have spoken out about labor complaints, which have led to strikes in some cases. Staffing levels and pay have been common causes for protest. Last year, 4,000 employees at Kaiser's San Francisco Medical Center held a five-day strike after six months of contract negotiations.
Burnout is also a common issue. In a white paper in October, Press Ganey said nurse burnout poses a risk to "patient and organizational outcomes." Nurse burnout costs $9 billion for hospitals each year and $14 billion from the healthcare system overall.
Multiple reports point to overworked and stressed out nurses. A 2017 Kronos Incorporated survey showed that 90% of nurses are contemplating leaving their hospital for another job because of a poor work/life balance. Most of the surveyed nurses (83%) said hospitals are losing good nurses because other employers offer a better work/life balance.
Burnout could be exacerbated with predicted provider shortages. There are already shortages in rural areas. A recent UnitedHealth Group report found that 13% of Americans live in a county with a primary care provider shortage, and that's expected to get worse in the coming decades. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants will likely take on larger roles of care in the coming years to fill primary care gaps. That could help in one way, but may also make the burnout problem worse.