HHS Report on RNs

  1. The Registered Nurse Population:
    Findings from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses
    The 2000 Survey found too few young people are choosing careers in nursing, and the average age of registered nurses has increased substantially. In 1980, 52.9 percent of RNs were younger than age 40; in 2000, 31.7 percent were younger than 40. In 1980, 26 percent of RNs were under the age of 30, but by 2000, less than 10 percent were under age 30.

    Read more....

    http://www.bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnsurvey/
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   live4today
    My guess is kids are geared to earn lots of money so they can have, have, have! Instead of choosing occupations where they have to work really really hard, they are opting for the computer age type jobs that pay really well really fast. We have to keep in mind the generation we are looking at in terms of the slowdown in the nursing market. Nursing may not be offering them the "fast buck" in a short period of time with as little studying as possible. These are the babes of the Baby Boomers, and they are only living their lives as we taught them to live -- by example. :chuckle

    Offer a young adult right out of high school the opportunity to earn over $40,000/yr with excellent benefits, and their first question might be: "What kind of job is it?" Their second question might be: "How much training does it involve?"

    You see, we trained this generation to live on the "fast trac" of life, and get there "yesterday" without having to go through all the things their parents and their grandparents did in order for them to "get there quick". To them, who wants to save and work TOWARDS what one might be able to enjoy by the time they are their parents age when they can have it NOW!!!
  4. by   VickyRN
    BUSH ADMINISTRATION PROMOTES CAREERS IN NURSING
    Survey Shows Critical Shortage of Nurses
    With new evidence of a growing shortage of nurses, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and Education Secretary Rod Paige today launched a campaign to encourage school children to consider careers in nursing and the health professions.

    Secretary Thompson also released the final report of the 2000 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, which shows that the average age of the nation's RNs continues to increase and the rate of nurses entering the profession has slowed over the past four years.

    "We have a severe nursing shortage in this country and it's absolutely critical that we encourage more of our nation's students to choose careers in nursing," Secretary Thompson said. "Secretary Paige and I both want students to realize that nursing is an exciting and satisfying career that makes a difference in people's lives."

    "There is a growing national need for nurses, and we look forward to doing our part to address the shortage of qualified nurses in this country," Secretary Paige said. "By making students in America's schools and postsecondary institutions aware of careers in the health professions, particularly nursing, we hope we can interest these outstanding young people in filling the critical need for qualified nurses."

    Secretary Thompson unveiled "Kids into Health Careers" -- an education campaign to attract more children's interest in careers in nursing and the health professions -- during a visit to Jefferson Junior High School in Washington, D.C.

    "Now, for the first time, we are making available the kind of information parents, teachers and organizations need to motivate and encourage our nation's promising young talent to pursue a career in the health professions," Secretary Thompson said.

    The "Kids into Health Careers" tool kit has information on more than 270 health careers, such as nurse, physical therapist, x-ray technician, sports therapist and emergency medical technician. The kit includes information on the level of education preparation needed to pursue specific health careers, salary outlook and resources on obtaining financial assistance to pursue an education in the health professions.

    There are hundreds of health career opportunities available, and not all of them require advanced college degrees. Many are attainable through six-month certificate programs, while others such as nursing may require a college degree. Organizations that receive health professions grants through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will be required to reach out to schools in their local communities to get more kids involved in the health professions.

    HHS' nursing survey is the most extensive and comprehensive statistical resource on registered nurses with current licenses to practice in the United States. When compared to the 1980 survey, the new 2000 survey suggests that too few young people are choosing careers in nursing, and the average age of registered nurses has increased substantially. In 1980, 52.9 percent of RNs were under the age of 40, but by 2000, only 31.7 percent were under 40. In 1980, 26 percent of RNs were under the age of 30, but by 2000, less than 10 percent were under age 30.

    The survey, conducted every four years by HRSA, also found that:

    - the U.S. population increased by nearly 14 percent between 1990 and 2000, but the rate of nurses entering the workforce between 1996 and 2000 was just 4.1 percent, down from more than 14 percent between 1992 and 1996;

    - there are an estimated 2,696,540 active, licensed RNs in the United States, an increase of only 137,666 nurses from 1996;

    - 81.7 percent or 2,115,815 of active licensed RNs are employed in nursing;

    - 12.3 percent or 333,368 of all RNs reported being from one or more racial or ethnic minority backgrounds;

    - 5.9 percent of RNs employed in nursing are men, up from 5.4 percent in 1996; and

    - the number of nurses working in hospitals increased slightly from 1,270,870 in 1996 to 1,300,323 in 2000.

    Early in his tenure, Secretary Thompson identified the nursing shortage as a critical national priority. In September, Secretary Thompson announced a new series of grants and contracts totaling more than $27.4 million to increase the number of qualified nurses and the quality of nursing services across the country. The awards will help ease the emerging shortage of qualified nurses available to provide essential health care services in many communities nationwide.

    President Bush's fiscal year 2003 budget proposes a total of $15 million, nearly a 50 percent increase above last year's funding, to expand the Nursing Education Loan Repayment program to help address the nation's growing need for nursing professionals. The increase will support 800 new nursing education loan repayment agreements. The program repays a substantial portion of the education loans of nurses who agree to work for two years in designated public or nonprofit health facilities. A funding preference is given to nurses who have the greatest financial need and who agree to serve in health facilities located in geographic areas with a shortage of nurses.


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    Interesting reading. Glad that our wonderful President is making the nursing shortage a priority. My point--we all know that there is not an actual shortage of nurses (yet)--just a shortage of nurses willing to work in what is often crazed and unsafe environments. It is a good thing to portray nursing as an attractive career choice for young people, and to provide governmental support for scholarships, etc. However noble these efforts are, they are ultimately shortsighted and will fail unless the REASONS that so many nurses are bailing out of practice are addressed. Don't just try to increase supply without examining retention issues. Needed STAT: legislation mandating sane nurse-patient ratios, a ban on mandatory overtime, caps on frivolous lawsuits, amendments to nurse practice acts giving nurses true autonomy in their profession. We nurses have so much responsibility--we need the authority to go along with it--control over our practice environments--out from under the thumb of big business and the medical model (aka AHA and AMA )--if the nursing crisis is to be truly resolved.
  5. by   live4today
    Healingtouch...I give you a standing ovation for your wise and true words of wisdom!
  6. by   RN-PA
    I agree with Renee-- Applause, applause, Healingtouch!
    Interesting reading. Glad that our wonderful President is making the nursing shortage a priority. My point--we all know that there is not an actual shortage of nurses (yet)--just a shortage of nurses willing to work in what is often crazed and unsafe environments. It is a good thing to portray nursing as an attractive career choice for young people, and to provide governmental support for scholarships, etc. However noble these efforts are, they are ultimately shortsighted and will fail unless the REASONS that so many nurses are bailing out of practice are addressed. Don't just try to increase supply without examining retention issues. Needed STAT: legislation mandating sane nurse-patient ratios, a ban on mandatory overtime, caps on frivolous lawsuits, amendments to nurse practice acts giving nurses true autonomy in their profession. We nurses have so much responsibility--we need the authority to go along with it--control over our practice environments--out from under the thumb of big business and the medical model (aka AHA and AMA )--if the nursing crisis is to be truly resolved.
    I'm a babyboomer (age 46) and work with a lot of nurses under the age of 30. Whenever the topic of our working conditions arises, the younger nurses seem only to care about the money they make. They think, "everything would be better if we only made more money." And I always say I'd take LESS money for BETTER working conditions (put money toward hiring more ancillary staff, more nurses, etc.). They look at me like I have two heads and that what I've said is practically blasphemous.

    Of course I care about the money, but what would keep me working until I have to retire would be to work in an environment where I am not in a near whirlwind of chaos and frenzy of activity every night; getting the chance to care for the whole patient; getting the chance to eat a meal for 30 minutes off the floor-- little things like that!

    As Healingtouch wrote, there is "...a shortage of nurses willing to work in what is often crazed and unsafe environments". I like my job, my co-workers, and I see my job as a calling as much as a way to earn money, but the current environment is what keeps me working part-time and rarely willing to pick up any extra hours. I have always felt that I'd rather have less materially and have more sanity (and time.) I continue to grow and find new ways to cope with the stress and the demands of my Med-Surg position-- spiritually, emotionally, and physically, and I truly would like to stay where I am as long as I can, but SOME nights...:stone
  7. by   tariet
    Dear RM-PA
    You said ..."Whenever the topic of our working conditions arises, the younger nurses seem only to care about the money they make. They think, "everything would be better if we only made more money." And I always say I'd take LESS money for BETTER working conditions (put money toward hiring more ancillary staff, more nurses, etc.)

    I'm not one of the "younger" nurses (age 36), although I am brand new to nursing and as I see it more money would definately not be out of line. I look at the amount of responsiblity we have and the amount of compensation we get for it and my mind boggles. When a basic computer networker or administrator (at my hospital) has a starting wage almost twice what a starting RN's wage is I have to wonder about my career choice. Before I get flamed I want to say I love my job and the opportunity it affords me to help my fellow man/women. It's one of the reasons I majored in nursing and not in computer sciences, but give a break!!!! I want to be equally and fairly compensated for what I do. It's ridiculous what nurses get paid in light of the responsiblity we shoulder. It someone in the computer dept makes a mistake it's an inconvinence for everyone, but if a nurse makes a mistake it's someones life. Where are the priorities? I agree with better working conditions being a major factor but please don't tell me the money isn't also of major importance. I want to be compensated for my skill and worth also. As far as I'm concerned you can teach a monkey to write code and enter data but a monkey can't help a patient through a major illness, only a caring, trained and dedicated nurse can. As far as I'm concerned it's time nurses were recognized for our worth and compensated accordingly (and I mean not only in being paid but also professionally). Sorry about the tirade but it irks me when I see nurses downplay the importance of being adequately monetarily compensated at the expense of working conditions. I strongly believe that BOTH are equally important. We shouldn't downplay either issue.
  8. by   RN-PA
    I agree with better working conditions being a major factor but please don't tell me the money isn't also of major importance.
    Tariet,

    I also care about the money and being fairly compensated, and I agree with much of what you posted. You're right, of course, that priorities are wrong in this society. Is it fair that professional athletes or Hollywood celebrities-- or a computer networker or hospital administrator-- make the money for what they do compared to what we do?

    For *ME*, as far as "retention" goes, I would rather have more help so that I can perform my job well and not get burned out by the stresses, demands, and short-staffing related to these retention/recruitment problems. All the money in the world cannot compensate for lousy "quality of life" issues on the job, IMHO.

    There's a finite amount of money out there-- Our hospital is going to be in the red for the first time ever this year by $4 million. The powers-that-be are going to have to come up with more money for retention/recruitment of nurses and to improve working conditions, but from where?
  9. by   wrightgd
    According to this data, the most frequent response for why nurses are working in fields other than nursing... Better Hours -- 45.7%, other position is more rewarding -- 44.9%, and better salary -- 35.4%

    See...
    Table 33. Reasons for registered nurses to have occupation other than nursing: March 2000 (in the original posted link)


    Also according to...
    Table 39. Registered nurse population in each State and area by activity status: March 2000

    In the United States that equates to 494,727 nurses total or about 18.3% who are not employed as nurses...

    Also, if you correlate this data to the last column of that table, you see that the states who have the highest percentage of nurses STILL working as nurses, also have the highest Nurse/population ratios... I'm not sure that necessarily correlates to nurse/pt ratios in the actula clinical settings, but in the long run, it must....

    The data speaks...

    George
  10. by   thewhip
    Right now I don't think it matters what age nurses are coming in at as long as they are entering the profession and filling the void in the shortage!
    Also with age comes maturity and although "older nurses" (30 & up- that's a broad old age range! ) are going to be in the field maybe a few years less than the traditional college age student, I bet they will stay in their positions longer and not job hop as much!
  11. by   lissagirl
    I am 26 and entering nursing, I feel that the pay is "reasonable". It could be better especially in my state but cost of living is also cheap here. I have several friends who work in healthcare but not as nurses. Mostly as office managers in docs offices where they get paid better than nurses who work in the hospital. My friends are definately making career choices based on money and convenience of hours. All the men I know have chosen computer or math based careers and managment positions. People say why nursing to me all the time...They say you dont get paid enough to do the things you have to do as a nurse and the hours are so awful...
    I think my generation is very concerned with building a life full of DVDs and SUVs.
    Everything is digital and satellite. They want a clean seamless life full of Tommy Hilfiger and Abercromie and Fitch clothing.
    I always tell them nursing is what I need to do. This is something I am passionate about.
    The other side of life is death, the other side of youth is aging. My generation is very scared of these things I think. To them nursing is messy and depressing and if that is not countered by a big paycheck than its not worth it. My husband manages a car stereo installation business and already makes near 50k a year with no formal education whatsoever, he hopes that one day I will make near 70k a year as a nurse (sigh), I tell him dont be surprised if I cant break 30k in this state. He is very proud of me though and supportive but no interest in healthcare at all. Do nothing to remind him of his own mortality...my gen. hates that.
  12. by   babs_rn
    I, too, care about the money. I DO have to make a living and I would prefer it be a comfortable one. For all the running around I do and all the responsibility I carry, it would be nice to be able to afford to have some security when the day comes that I don't have the physical ability to continue that pace. Also, it would be nice to be able to afford a house!! I believe that if home is to be a haven from work and the world, it should be comfortable and not cramped (and my kids need another bedroom). EVERY SINGLE NURSE I KNOW has a second job (some work two full-time jobs) for whatever reason...to buy a car, put a kid through college, make the mortgage payment, you name it. I don't know of any other college-degreed profession that has such high numbers of moonlighters. Is it any wonder we're all burned out?

    And here's another twist to those numbers...are some of the nurses being counted twice? If one nurse fills two positions?


    And by the way, if a young person chooses a field that affords that person a better quality of life - salary, working conditions, etc...who are we to say there's something inherently wrong with the generation that chooses to do that? Maybe they're just being smart! It will certainly be better for their families when they have them. At any rate, let's not beat up on people who choose to make a better life for themselves and their families than most nursing positions will afford financially or time-wise. When we put our jobs first ahead of our families,we have our priorities completely out of order. I have put up with a lot of crap from hospitals and administrations before, and once on this very board was accused of being something parallel to a battered wife because I continued to put up with it. So we can't have it both ways. Either we proactively make positive changes in our careers - even if that does mean leaving nursing - to make our lives and our families' lives better, or we sit here and eat that plate of you-know-what that they give us and grin and pretend to like it, maybe focusing on that little scrap of dessert that we get thrown to us now and then. Even if you're happy with your job doesn't mean that others don't have a right not to be. Those who choose to stay in something they're dissatisfied with have no right to berate those who move on to something else. It's the same codependent mindset that got nursing into this boat to begin with. Our families are JUST AS IMPORTANT as our patients' families and we are JUST AS IMPORTANT as our patients. To think any less of ourselves is to do ourselves a great disservice. I'm not talking about SUVs and DVDs - I'm talking about mortgage payments and child support and daycare and tuition and groceries and power bills and gasoline and car payments and insurance....etc. It takes more than one nursing salary to cover all that and not every nurse has the benefit of a spouse's salary to help make ends meet. For what we do, for what we put up with, for what we are responsible for, we should be able to support ourselves and our children, and we should be able to BE THERE for our children and for our families when they need us without being berated by administration for needing a shift off once in a blue moon to do that. Bottom line.

    Plus, how many times have you given a work excuse to someone who is in better shape than you are? We work sicker than we allow our patients to work. What does that say?
    Babs
    Last edit by babs_rn on Mar 22, '02
  13. by   grouchy
    Babs- I loved your closing statement about working sicker than our patients! So true!
  14. by   lissagirl
    Well said Babs

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