How do you think the increased interest in nursing will affect the profession?

  1. It seems like a lot of nursing schools are busting at the seams these days--do you know of any school which doesn't have all its seats filled? Furthermore, I applied for a NA job at one of the hospitals and they have 4x the number of applicants than there are available training slots (unfortunately for me). Are hospitals going to be hurting as much in a couple of years as they have been? Over the short term, anyway--long-term retention in the profession is another issue. Will the shortage be affected at all by all these people getting into nursing? Or are the numbers of soon-to-be new nurses fewer than I anticipate? How do you all see it?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    There is NO nursing shortage, just a shortage of people who are willing to tolerate impossible working conditions.

    Follow the numbers for RNs for example.
    There are 2.2 million RN positions in the US.
    There are 2.7 million licensed RNs in the US.

    We already have a surplus of licensed RNs.

    For CNAs, I don't know you the numbers, but basically it depends on what you are willing to put up with at work. Talk to some CNAs in your vicinity and ask them your questions. Maybe you can shadow one or two for a few hours. Call some local temp agencies for leads and advice.
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 4, '02
  4. by   emily_mom
    It must be a wonderful place that you applied at, b/c around here it's the exact opposite. There are probably 4 openings with one applicant. The better facilities attract the better employees, with the crappy ones left with whatever is left. It is obvious when you walk into a place with bad staff. I don't think there is a shortage of CNA's per se, but a shortage of smart people unwilling to put up with the working conditions. I only know of one person in my class (of 40) who is currently working as a CNA, although we are all certified. The one who is will be a nurse tech at the end of the month. The rest of us are either nurse techs already, work in a different dept, or work someplace outside of healthcare. I did the CNA scene...I didn't think it was rewarding or pleasurable. It wasn't the work, just the work load. Having 14 people to get up every morning with 2 showers in there and an hour to do it all....I had sweat running down my face 10 minutes into my shift. The days never got any better either.

    I would shadow someone before I would commit to anything.

    Kristy
  5. by   oramar
    There will be an increase in people graduating from nursing school in some areas of the country for sure over the short term. How this is going to pan out at the bedside is really up for grabs. Right now it looks like new grads are leaving bedside at ever accelerating pace. If something isn't done about bedside conditions, i.e. nurse patient ratios, then the turnover will continue. However, some employers are improving conditions. Unfortunately they are in the minority at present.
  6. by   Tweety
    It comes and goes about five years ago new grads in this area were finding it hard to do jobs. We had a big layoff of nurses.

    Now we have dozens of unfilled positions.
  7. by   debyan
    There are a lot of schools that are filled here too my daughter was lucky to get in last year this year is harder to get in. The conditions we work in are the problem. In the LTC facilities the patient to nurse ratios stink and the CNA are no better. Once they solve this staff retention will be better. deb
  8. by   Dave ARNP
    I would trust alot of RN's with my life.
    They possess knowledge that has been gained from many years of clincal expeirence.

    However, when it comes to putting a pen to a script pad... I just think that is somethign best left to ARNP's and higher.

    Not because of competency, but because with any less training, the legal liability would be overwhelming!

    David Adams,
    -ACNP, FNP
  9. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Originally posted by sjoe
    There is NO nursing shortage, just a shortage of people who are willing to tolerate impossible working conditions.

    Follow the numbers for RNs for example.
    There are 2.2 million RN positions in the US.
    There are 2.7 million licensed RNs in the US.

    We already have a surplus of licensed RNs.

    Absolutely!
  10. by   sjoe
    emily writes: "I would shadow someone before I would commit to anything."

    However, many facilities do not permit this, claiming issues of "patient confidentiality."

    Yeah, right.
  11. by   jjjoy
    It would be good to see more numbers out there about exactly what the lack of filled nursing and CNA positions actually reflect. How many qualified applicants were there at the facility and how many got interviewed and offered employment? What is the employee turnover like? What are the working conditions and how many qualified people would choose to not even apply there because of the conditions?

    I do honestly believe that hospitals could get away with paying less for licensed nursing staff if the working conditions were better. Those nurses who don't mind the crazy conditions are reaping the profits working for high wages (travelers in particular), but overall nursing is losing out.

    And while I can understand the push for bachelors' degree training for nurses, it does seem impractical given the sheer number of nurses needed. Yes, it does push the wage up, since those with more training will demand higher salary, but that also encourages hospitals to find ways to cut those expensive nursing positions.

    Maybe we ought to stick to more vocational training for the majority of staff and encourage bachelors' for advancement beyond floor staff and have that extra training include a good deal of focus on management issues that nurses tend to have not had much exposure to.

    Much of the same relates to CNAs. Instead of raising hourly wages to entice folks to work in otherwise unbearable conditions (overload), keep the wage lower, but make the working conditions enviable. Lots of continuing education for the staff, encouragement to advance in the field (eg flexible scheduling, assistance with school fees), and work conditions that allow the staff to feel they are making a difference and doing quality work.

    That still takes money. So we also need more info about the bottom line of the healthcare business. We always hear that they are losing money, but then we hear all about these scandals, cooked books, and overpaid CEOs. We need more hard facts about the primary employers of nurses.

    Finally, there are the legal issues that often create other expenses, from outrageous settlement fees to the cost of rigorous documentation. Certainly, no one wants to allow unsafe practice, but we need carefully examine all those safety (state mandates, etc) measures and ensure that they aren't unnecessarily contraining quality service while trying to ensure quality.

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