The U.S. is struggling to cope with a nursing shortage as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a need for 1.2 million registered nurses between 2014 and 2022, according to a report in TheAtlantic.com.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.2 million vacancies will emerge for registered nurses between 2014 and 2022,” says the article dated early 2016. The website used updated information to reflect the latest figures from the bureau.
“By 2025, the shortfall is expected to be ‘more than twice as large as any nurse shortage experienced since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s,’” the article continues, citing research from the Vanderbilt University.
The article pointed to two primary reasons for the shortfall: the aging of the Baby Boomer generation as well as the aging of the nursing workforce.
“Between 2010 and 2030, the population of senior citizens will increase by 75 percent to 69 million, meaning one in five Americans will be a senior citizen,” says the article citing research from the National Council on Aging. “As the population ages, demand for health-care services will soar.”
2 Primary Reasons for the Shortfall:
The aging of the Baby Boomer generation and the aging of the nursing workforce
The study further projects that in 2050, an estimated 88.5 million people in the U.S. will be aged 65 and older, swelling the ranks of the Boomers.
The article further states that nurses are aging as well and that “one-third of the current nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years.”
“Around a million registered nurses (RNs) are currently older than 50. Nearly 700,000 nurses are projected to retire or leave the labor force by 2024,” it says.
The issue of aging RNs has been attributed to ongoing retirements and consequent vacancies in hospitals and nursing schools. There are not enough nursing schools, and nursing education is unable to cope with demand.
“Nearly 155,000 new nursing graduates entered the workforce in 2015,” says the article. It may be growing but not nearly at rapid pace.
Aspiring nurses need good college education and further training, and the number of nursing educators is likewise slowing as many go into retirement. “Without them, nursing schools can’t expand their cohorts,” it says.
“Around a million registered nurses (RNs) are currently older than 50. Nearly 700,000 nurses are projected to retire or leave the labor force by 2024”
The article quotes Pam Cipriano, the president of the American Nurses Association, speak about the so-called ‘experience gap.’
“Many health-care providers also shy away from recruiting these newer nurses, Cipriano explained. ‘When we think about nurses replacing retiring nurses, there is an experience gap…People like me who have 40 years of experience will be replaced by individuals with three to five years of experience.’”
Sally Nunez, CEO of RN Express Staffing Registry, LLC., agreed the shortage is real and is expected to rise unless something is done.
“There is a nursing shortage,” she said, “and we are trying to do something about it.”
Since its inception in 2010, she said her company has focused on providing opportunities to health care professionals. These are nurses with anywhere from minimal clinical experience of at most three months to experienced RNs with managerial skills.
“Our company has been blessed with multiple nursing facilities willing to accept those with less than three months of experience in the field,” she said. Training is provided by RN Express as well as the hiring facilities.
These are nurses with anywhere from minimal clinical experience of at most three months to experienced RNs with managerial skills
In 2015, RN Express began to accept qualified applicants outside of the U.S. on employment-based petitions or EB2. These are usually nurses with at least five years’ experience or those with master’s degrees. The hiring company should have a strong financial ability to support the approval of qualified applicants.
“The employment of highly skilled nursing professionals will help with the so-called ‘experience gap,’” said Sally.