The Nursing Shortage Ahead
The existing nursing deficit in the U.S. — largely caused by the aging population, increasing prevalence of chronic disease, an aging workforce and limited capacity in nursing education programs — is heading straight for a crisis.
Despite being one of the fastest growing occupations (view available nurse jobs) the demand for nurses is clearly outpacing supply, she wrote. By 2022, its estimated that there will be more than 1 million jobs for RNs.
One factor is the increasing demand for healthcare linked to the aging of the baby boomers, and the accompanying need for more services.
As the population ages, many will have more healthcare needs. In addition, Nurses are aging and beginning to retire from the field, contributing to the shortage.
Filling all these open nursing positions won’t be easy. Even with an increasing number of new RNs entering the workforce, nursing education programs haven’t been able to keep up.
Even if RNs do gain their entry-level degrees, the majority of facilities are reluctant to hire new nurses because of the experience gap between them and retiring RNs.
Is it so severe? And what can fix it?
Many Nurse executives believe having national licensing standards for RNs would help address pockets with more severe shortages, because many RNs prefer to work where they can practice to the full scope of their licenses.
The American Nurses Association is lobbying Congress to increase federal grants to help fund nursing schools and organizations that work to improve access to education, increase diversity in the field and repay loans for students who go on to work in underserved areas.