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Shortage of Nurses in America
Quote from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing:
“The U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) that is expected to intensify as Baby Boomers age and the need for health care grows.” (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage)
Vacancy in Nursing Facilities (http://www.ahcancal.org/research_data/staffing/Documents/2012_Staffing_Report.pdf)
- Total shortage of 70,000 direct care staff positions, an increase of 16.8% from 2010 to 2012
- RN shortage = 9,800, up 21%
- LPN shortage = 12,900, up 13.2%
- CNA shortage = 47,300, up 17%
The Aging Nursing Population (http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnsurveys/rnsurveyinitial2008.pdf)
One of the main reasons for the nursing shortage in America is the aging population of nursing professionals. As more nurses near the age of retirement, there are not enough young nurses to fill in the gaps.
- In 1980, 54% of RNs were under 40 years old
- In 2008, only 29.5% of nurses were under 40
- In 1980, the biggest age group for nurses was 25-29 years old
- In 2008, the biggest age group was 50-54 years old
- ***LOOK AT CHART ON PAGE 12 OF RESOURCE ABOVE FOR OTHER STATS IF YOU WANT THEM
- 55% of the RN workforce is age 50 or older…2013 (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage is source but data pulled from http://jnr.metapress.com/content/m61518mn5001m025)
The Limits of Nursing Education Programs (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage)
Another cause of the nursing shortage is a lack of sufficient nursing programs for up-and-coming nurses. College applicants are being turned away from school because the facilities don’t have the staff to support them.
- In 2012, 79,659 nursing school applicants were turned away due to “insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints” (data in resource linked above but pulled from data reports here: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/research-data/about-data-center —- have to pay for)
- “Almost two-thirds of the nursing schools responding to the survey pointed to faculty shortages as a reason for not accepting all qualified applicants into their programs”
A Loss in Interest with Age (http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnsurveys/rnsurveyinitial2008.pdf pg 13 and 14)
As registered nurses get older, they are less likely to stay in the nursing profession, even though older nurses make up the majority of the current nursing population.
- 88.1% of RNs under 25 are employed full time
- 68.3% of RNs 50-54 (biggest age group) are employed full time, with 12.5% not employed in nursing at all
- The following are full time employment stats for older age groups: 65% for 55-59, 47.6% for 60-64, 21.6% for 65-69, about 25% for 70 and older
- “Among nurses 55 and older, 76,915 intend to leave the nursing profession within 3 years; another 54,539 intend to leave their current nursing jobs and are unsure if they will remain in nursing afterward.
- 17% of nurses between 60-64 plan to leave nursing within 3 years
Difference between Licenses and Employment
Yet another issue is the fact that America has a large number of licensed nurses who are not currently employed in nursing. License stats: https://www.ncsbn.org/14_2012_2013_NCLEXExamStats_vol61.pdf
- Number of active RN licenses: 4,182,881
- Number of employed RNs: 2,661,890 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm)
- Number of active LPN/LVN licenses: 1,018,435
- Number of employed LPNs: 705,200 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm)
- Number of active NP licenses: 173,865
- Number of employed NPs: 113,370 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm)
Fighting an Aging Population
The population is projected to grow at a much faster rate than the nursing profession, which may leave a lot of people in the future without access to proper healthcare.
- “The ratio of the population in the average caregiving range (ages 50 to 64) to the population age 85 and older is projected to decrease, from 11 to 1 in 1990 to 4 to 1 in 2050” (http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/ltcwf.htm)
- “The population age 65 and older is expected to more than double between 2012 and 2060, from 43.1 million to 92.0 million” (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb12-243.html)
- “The older population would represent just over one in five U.S. residents by the end of the period, up from one in seven today” (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb12-243.html)
- “The working-age population (18 to 64) is expected to increase by 42 million between 2012 and 2060, from 197 million to 239 million, while its share of the total population declines from 62.7 percent to 56.9 percent.” (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb12-243.html)
- Registered nurses are only projected to grow by 19% from 2012 to 2022. (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-6)
The Affordable Care Act Is Changing the Nursing Environment
The Affordable Care Act is shifting the work environment for nurses, which may result in a lack of job satisfaction. The lower the satisfaction is, the less likely nurses are to stick with their careers.
- “As a result of the ACA, RN employment is expected to grow more rapidly in outpatient settings and home health care. RNs will be expected to serve as care coordinators, case managers, patient educators, and chronic care specialists.” (http://www.nursingeconomics.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/NECJournal.woa/wa/www.nursingeconomics.net/necfiles/news/JF_14_42.pdf)
- “RNs can no longer assume they will get their first-choice job immediately upon graduating, unless they want to work in a geographic area that has a deep shortage of RNs. The match between an RN’s skills and employers’ needs will be the most important factor in future employment.” (http://www.nursingeconomics.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/NECJournal.woa/wa/viewSection?tName=newsArticle&od_id=805326456&s_id=1073744453)
The Never-Ending Cycle
The shortage in nursing in America is causing current nurses to do more than they have to, which results in lower job satisfaction. Ultimately, the shortage may lead to an even bigger shortage.
- “75% of RNs believe the nursing shortage presents a major problem for the quality of their work life, the quality of patient care, and the amount of time nurses can spend with patients.” (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage)
- “Nurses in hospitals with 8:1 patient-to-nurse ratios would be 2.29 times as likely as nurses with 4:1 patient-to-nurse ratios to show high emotional exhaustion” Short version: Nurses in shortage areas are twice as likely to get exhausted on the job (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=195438#RESULTS)
- Dr. Linda Aiken concluded that “failure to retain nurses contributes to avoidable patient deaths.” (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=195438#RESULTS)