The Nursing Shortage

April 22, 2012 in News

nursing shortage

Not only is there a nursing shortage in the United States, but it is a worry worldwide.  Everywhere we turn there is a growing health care need.  However, there is also a weakening number of nurses available to support this need.

Why is there a shortage of nurses?

If we step back from the problem and look at it from a different perspective, we can see that there are many causes contributing to this current shortage.  One of these causes being the increase in population.  As the population grows there is a growth in the need for health care services.  Then we have a waning in the number of new students in the nursing field.  This is problematic and there needs to be a way to increase it.  One other cause is that the current nursing workforce is “coming of age” where retirement is not so far into the future.

We also have the “double edged sword” of improved technology.  This is a great thing in terms of being able to better manage healthcare issue in patients.  Then we have the other side which only the sickest patients require hospital stays and intense treatment.  This sounds terrific, but creates a great demand on skilled and specialized nurses.

All this is happening concurrently with a majority of nurses at retirement age creating expanding job opportunities within healthcare.  So many nurses, especially those that deliver specialized care, are needed.

Supporting Research in Nursing

There has been a lot of research showing that the nursing shortage is here and does not seem to be getting better.

Between 1983 and 1998, the average age of working registered nurses increased 4.5 years to 41.9

By about 2010, 40 percent of RNs will be 50 years or older

As those registered nurses retire, the supply of working RNs is projected to be 20 percent below requirements by the year 2020

2000 was the  lowest reported annual increase in number of licensed registered nurses since data collection began in 1977

The number of registered nurses under the age of 30 is decreasing

Between 1996 and 2000, the average age of registered nurses increased from 42.3 to 43.3

Between 2010 and 2020, the growth rate for registered nurses is project at above average (14 percent) at 26 percent

The projected numeric change in employment for this occupation from 2010 to 2020 is 711,900

What is Being Done?

On August 1, 2002, President Bush signed the Nurse Reinvestment Act.  Its creation is intended to alleviate the nation’s severe nursing shortage by making it more attractive to train for and work in that profession.

There has also been a joint effort in a “Campaign for Nursing’s Future” by the Honor Society of Nursing and Johnson & Johnson to attract more people to nursing in hospitals and extended-care facilities.

As a sort of “band-aid” or a short-term help, some organizations are offering large signing bonuses and significant salary increases for certain specialties like intensive care nurses to attract good prospective applicants.

Nurses are an important and a necessary asset in any healthcare facility.  If you are reading this, hopefully you are considering a career in Nursing.  Good luck, we need you!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *