Nursing Shotage Statistics part one

Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 6:18 pm.

Nursing Shortage

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The United States is projected to have a nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing colleges and universities across the country are struggling to expand enrollment levels to meet the rising demand for nursing care.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is concerned about the shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) and is working with schools, policy makers, kindred organizations, and the media to bring attention to this health care crisis. AACN is working to enact legislation, identify strategies, and form collaborations to address the nursing shortage. To keep stakeholders abreast of current statistics related to the shortage, this fact sheet has been developed along with a companion Web resource.

Current and Projected Shortage Indicators

  • In June 2011, Wanted Analytics reported that employers and staffing agencies posted more than 121,000 new job ads for Registered Nurses in May, up 46% from May 2010. About 10% of that growth, or 12,700, were ads placed for positions at general and surgical hospitals, where annual turnover rates for RNs average 14% according to a recent KPMG survey
  • According to a special issue of the Monthly Labor Review released in April 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “the health care industry added 428,000 jobs throughout the 18-month recession from December 2007 until June 2009, and has continued to grow at a steady rate since the end of the recession.” As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, RNs were recruited to fill many of these new positions.
  • On April 1, 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the healthcare sector of the economy is continuing to grow, despite significant job losses in recent months in nearly all major industries. Hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other ambulatory care settings added 37,000 new jobs in March 2011, the biggest monthly increase recorded by any employment sector. As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, RNs likely will be recruited to fill many of these new positions. The BLS confirmed that 283,000 jobs have been added in the healthcare sector within the last year.  
  • In October 2010, the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report on The Future of Nursing, initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80% and doubling the population of nurses with doctoral degrees. The current nursing workforce falls far short of these recommendations with only 50% of registered nurses prepared at the baccalaureate or graduate degree level.   
  • In July 2010, the Tri-Council for Nursing released a joint statement on Recent Registered Nurse Supply and Demand Projections, which cautioned stakeholders about declaring an end to the nursing shortage. The downturn in the economy has lead to an easing of the shortage in many parts of the country, a recent development most analysts believe to be temporary. In the joint statement, the Tri-Council raises serious concerns about slowing the production of RNs given the projected demand for nursing services, particularly in light of healthcare reform. See www.aacn.nche.edu/Media/NewsReleases/2010/tricouncil.html
  • In December 2009, workforce analysts with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that more than 581,500 new RN positions will be created through 2018, which would increase the size of the RN workforce by 22%. Employment of RNs is expected to grow much faster than the average when compared to all other professions.
  • In the July/August 2009 Health Affairs, Dr. Peter Buerhaus and coauthors found that despite the current easing of the nursing shortage due to the recession, the U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025.  A shortage of this magnitude would be twice as large as any nursing shortage experienced in this country since the mid-1960s.  In the article titled The Recent Surge In Nurse Employment: Causes And Implications, the researchers point to a rapidly aging workforce as a primary contributor to the projected shortage. 
  • In the November 26, 2008 Journal of the American Medical Association, workforce analyst Dr. Peter Buerhaus stated: “Over the next 20 years, the average age of the RN will increase and the size of the workforce will plateau as large numbers of RNs retire. Because demand for RNs is expected to increase during this time, a large and prolonged shortage of nurses is expected to hit the US in the latter half of the next decade.”
  • According to a report released by the American Health Care Association in July 2008, more than 19,400 RN vacancies exist in long-term care settings. These vacancies, coupled with an additional 116,000 open positions in hospitals reported by the American Hospital Association in July 2007, bring the total RN vacancies in the U.S. to more than 135,000. This translates into a national RN vacancy rate of 8.1%.
  • In a statement released in March 2008, The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, an independent group of health care leaders based at the University of Pennsylvania, has determined that 30,000 additional nurses should be graduated annually to meet the nation’s healthcare needs, an expansion of 30% over the current number of annual nurse graduates.
  • According to a report released by the American Hospital Association in July 2007, U.S. hospitals need approximately 116,000 RNs to fill vacant positions nationwide. This translates into a national RN vacancy rate of 8.1%. The report, titled The 2007 State of America’s Hospitals – Taking the Pulse, also found that 44% of hospital CEOs had more difficulty recruiting RNs in 2006 than in 2005.
  • Based on finding from the Nursing Management Aging Workforce Survey released in July 2006 by the Bernard Hodes Group, 55% of surveyed nurses reported their intention to retire between 2011 and 2020. The majority of those surveyed were nurse managers.
  • In April 2006, officials with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released projections that the nation’s nursing shortage would grow to more than one million nurses by the year 2020. In the report titled What is Behind HRSA’s Projected Supply, Demand, and Shortage of Registered Nurses?, analysts show that all 50 states will experience a shortage of nurses to varying degrees by the year 2015.

www.nche.edu

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