AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the United States continues to have a nursing shortage, and it is expected to intensify as the baby boomers grow older. The problem is made worse because nursing schools and major universities are not able to expand enrollment levels to meet this rising care demand.

health nurse Analysis: A Fast Growing Nursing Shortage  2013 And Beyond

In March of 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the job growth of the healthcare sector was outpacing what was projected. According to the BLS, over 295,000 healthcare-related jobs were added in 2011, and registered nursing is the top occupation for job growth through the year 2020. They anticipate a growth in the number of employed nurses from 2.75 million in 2010 to 3.5 million in 2020, an increase of over 25 percent! The BLS projects that more than 580,000 new RN positions through the year 2018.

A shortage of RNs is projected to spread across the country between 2013 and 2020, according to the United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast. Also, Wanted Analytics reported that staffing agencies, healthcare facilities, and other nursing employers posted more than 120,000 new job ads for RNs in May of 2011, a number that is up over 45 percent from 2010. Additionally, the Institute of Medicine released the KPMG survey report in 2010, increasing the number of bachelor’s prepared nurses in the workforce to 80 percent, and for doctoral prepared nurses, the need is doubled.

Contributing Factors to the Current Nursing Shortage

So, what’s brought on this nursing shortage in America? Experts have many theories. First of all, nursing school enrollment is not growing fast enough to meet the demand for RNs. There has only been a 5 percent enrollment increase in entry-level bachelor nursing programs as of 2011, an increase that is not adequate to fill the necessary nursing service positions. The Affordable Care Act will give more than 32 million people access to healthcare services, and many of those services will be provided by RNs and nurse practitioners.

Another contributing factor to the nursing shortage is the low numbers of nursing school faculty that continues to restrict nurse program enrollment. The AACN reported that U.S. nursing schools turned away over 75,000 qualified applicants from bachelor and graduate nursing programs in 2011 due to a lack of faculty, insufficient number of clinical preceptors, and budget constraints. Approximately two-thirds of nursing schools that were surveyed indicated faculty shortages as a reason for not accepting more students.

Factors Impacting the Nursing Job Market

Despite the need for qualified RNs and advanced practice nurses (APNs), there are some factors that continue to impact the nursing job market. The healthcare environment remains volatile, especially in hospitals. The up-and-coming changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs could mean lower reimbursement for healthcare facilities, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Many hospital executives are focusing on budgets and cost containment, keeping patients from being readmitted, outsourcing staff and services, and cutting corners with benefits. This reality affects nurse managers’ decisions for filling vacancies in their units.

Many healthcare executives worry that the current healthcare system does not have the capacity to absorb the expected surge in patients related to both the aging population and the increased number of insured Americans. Also, a significant number of baby boomer nurses will retire by the year 2020, leaving a huge gap in the healthcare workforce.

About Author :  Angela Payan, who has been an RN for over 15 years, and believes that doing a Nursing program is well worth it.
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