How long do you think this nursing shortage will last? - page 2

Hi, Everyone: I am thinking going for nursing as my career. Yesterday I went to a community college to register for A&P I class. I saw the registry to see the counclor, 9 out of 10 people are for... Read More

  1. by   barefootlady
    I do not think there will be anything for you to worry about. There will always be sick people who need nurses.
  2. by   KacyLynnRN
    Just an example...
    I graduated LPN school in 2002. Started with a class of 60, graduated with a class of 24 (including myself) and now, 2 years later, 2 of the people I graduated with aren't working as LPN's cuz they hate it.

    I am now in a one-year LPN to ASN program, we've started with 33, already 4 have quit and we're only 2 months in. It's a shame that so many people in programs quit during the program and eat up spots for people that really, truly want to be a nurse.
  3. by   AcosmicRN
    Started with 51 in an ADN program, 22 graduated. The 51 that started level one came from about 2 or 3 hundred AP 1 students. I figure only half that 22 have the personality to work two years as a nurse. In 5 years, there will probably only be five of us actually working as a nurse. I have this theory that it's not the baby boomers or the aging nurses that are creating a shortage, it's the nature of nursing itself. It has a lot of people going into it, but it has a huge amount leaving it all the time as well. You have to be really smart and educated so you can work hard and feel as if you're hanging on a cross for your patients. If you want to be a nurse for the greater glory of God, you will always be in hot demand. IMO

    Acosmic
  4. by   roxannekkb
    Quote from lizz
    Excuse the length of my post, but I have looked long and hard at this question. I am a downsizee who's working on a second career. I can't afford to waste time on another career, just to be laid off.

    Therefore, I've done a lot of homework, and I don't think there's too much to worry about, even though there are many people going into nursing, and even though there are tons of RNs on this board who will tell you there's no "real" shortage.

    The primary reason is that the nursing shortage is expected to increase to 800,000 vacant positions in the next 16 years. So, even if there is increased supply, that still leaves a lot of room for job stability. Keep in mind that there are many reasons for the shortage. To name just a few:

    * While many students major in nursing, more than 80 percent don't make it, either in pre-reqs, nursing school itself, or they don't pass the NCLEX, limiting supply. You'll see this first hand in school.

    * The average age of RNs is 47, and half a million nurses are expected to retire in the next 16 years, limiting supply.

    * Aging baby boomers are expected to increase demand for RNs, 11,000 more positions this year alone and, the above mentioned 800,000 positions long term.

    So why do nurses say there's no "real" shortage? They point to this U.S. Health Department report (my primary source for the above mentioned info) which says 500,000 licensed nurses aren't working.

    http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce...ect/report.htm

    The reason, they say, is that many nurses have left the profession due to lousy working conditions. While I have no doubt that working conditions are a contributing factor, it's not the whole story.

    70 percent of those people are over age 50, and many may be on the verge of retiring. Not surprizingly, retirements and deaths jumped to 175,000 from a relatively stable 25,000 in the last two surveys. So we don't really know how many of those people are choosing not to work (i.e. lousy working conditions), versus those who simply can't work.

    But here's the bottom line for the future: Even if you assume that the pool of 500,000 non-working licensed RNs increases to 650,000 (at the same rate that pool has increased in the last decade) ...

    And even if you assume that working conditions improved, and all of them could and would return to work (although it's highly unlikely due to advanced age) ....

    You'd still have a "real" shortage since it wouldn't come close to filling those 800,000 projected vacancies. So, even if the supply side increases (with more nursing school grads and/or foreign nurses) it still leaves a lot of room for job stability ... Mostly because of increased demand from aging baby boomers.

    I'd say the nursing shortage will last another 20 years and, probably, longer.

    There has been a chronic nursing shortage since WW II, that simply waxes and wanes in intensity. The main problem is that nothing ever changes. If nursing was such a wonderful profession, it would not be continually suffering from a lack of warm bodies. I should say, if working conditions weren't what they are, and have always been.

    The nursing shortage now really isn't any different from others, except that the demographics are changing somewhat. The Government Accounting Office has called this an "emerging shortage" meaning that there will be a real shortage if things don't change. We've got an older work force, the population at large is growing older and will need more care, and so on. But as of right now, this "shortage" is not any different.

    The 500,000 nurses are not working for a number of reasons, but they do represent almost 20% of the nursing population. Add to that number nurses who have left nurses and allowed their licenses to lapse. We don't have any statistics on them. But a number of surveys have showed that many of these "500,000" will return to the nursing workforce if working conditions. Even if 10% returned, that would be more than 50,000 nurses, enough to fill about one third or more of the vacancies, depending on whose statistics you read.

    The main problem is that nurses are leaving nursing at a rapid pace. The rate of nurses leaving the profession has increased over the past ten years. That is the problem, and they are leaving primarily because working condition stink. Yes, some just don't like nursing, but most can't deal with the working hours, conditions, management, and so on. Others leave the bedside but find other jobs in healthcare. However, the shortage is being most acutely felt in hospitals and LTC facilities, not in pharmaceutical sales, or case management.

    So I have to disagree emphatically with the above poster, but there is no real shortage--no more real than its ever been. Nursing can't keep its nurses working, primarily because of the work environment. It's been this way for decades, and unless some real changes are made, it will continue. And then as nurses start to retire, in addition to the ones escaping, and if not enough people enter nursing and STAY with it (I emphasize the word stay because so many seem to think that all we need do is just throw more warm bodies in), then we are in for a terrible shortage.

    More people have shown an interest in nursing over the past few years, but that is quite common in economic downturn. Healthcare jobs are stable and always seem more attractive. However, when the economy picks up, and new industries develop, then I highly doubt that this interest in nursing will remain--unless of course, nursing actually becomes a profession that is well paid, employees are treated well, have decent working hours and flexible schedules, are respected, can work in a safe environment, and are not dumped on to do everyone else's work. Then maybe nursing will hold its own in good times and bad, become a profession that is really in high demand, and only then will be see an end to nursing shortages.

    But to be honest, I just don't see that happening.
  5. by   suzanne4
    I love working as a nurse, I just happen to be away from the bedside because I am now teaching nurses and doctors overseas. Does that say that I would ever return if conditions were changed? No.....but again I didn't have any problems with any of the facilites where I worked. I just found that I prefer living over here so I found how I could have the best of both worlds and make it work for me.
  6. by   bbear
    Here is an excerpt from a Vanderbilt researcher:

    "Over the next 20 years, the federal government estimates that the demand for RN's will increase 40 percent, with the majority of this employment growth occurring in hospitals. Meanwhile, the number of older RN's is expected to peak in the year 2010 and decline thereafter as large numbers of nurses start to retire. "In the absence of a corresponding increase in the supply of RN's, further shortages and upward pressure on RN wages are likely in the future," Buerhaus said."

    http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/nursing...release31.html

    To expand upon something--the fastest growing segment of the population is individuals over the age of 85. The aging baby-boomers are only going to increase this trend. This is going to tax our health care system and health insurance industry alike. To deal with this problem, policy initiatives are being implemented to deal with the problem by having middle-level providers (nurse practitioners) and clinical nurse specialists handle a far greater percentage of the care previously managed exclusively by physicians. This provides patients with greater access to health care at a reduced cost (which benefits the insurance providers) = many more nursing jobs.
    Last edit by bbear on Jun 7, '04
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from roxannekkb
    So I have to disagree emphatically with the above poster, but there is no real shortage--no more real than its ever been. Nursing can't keep its nurses working, primarily because of the work environment. It's been this way for decades, and unless some real changes are made, it will continue. And then as nurses start to retire, in addition to the ones escaping, and if not enough people enter nursing and STAY with it (I emphasize the word stay because so many seem to think that all we need do is just throw more warm bodies in), then we are in for a terrible shortage.
    I wasn't arguing that there is a "real" shortage today. I was talking about the future. Obviously we don't know for sure, but you may be right about the current situation.

    Let's say at least 150,000 of those 500,000 licensed non-working RNs quit because of lousy working conditions. And let's say working conditions improved and 150,000 returned to work in the next year. Then you probably wouldn't have a "real" shortage today.

    But, long term, you probably will have a "real" shortage. The pool of 500,000 licensed non-working RNs increased by about 90,000 in 12 years from 1988-2000. That's about 7,500 new licensed non-working RNs added to that pool each year.

    So, if you assume the pool increases at the same rate in the next 20 years from 2000-2020, you'd have 650,000 non-working licensed RNs by 2020.

    And, even if you assume that working conditions improved, and all them could and would return to work (although many people in that pool will be older and might not be able to work) ...

    You'll still have a "real" shortage because you'd be still be short 150,000 RNs with the 800,000 projected vacancies in 2020, mostly due to aging baby boomers.

    I agree that we might not have a "real" shortage right now, but it looks like we will have a "real" shortage in the future.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Jun 7, '04
  8. by   Gompers
    Just because there are a half million registered nurses out who aren't working in the field does NOT mean that there isn't a nursing shortage! There's still going to be a shortage unless ALL of them are planning on coming back to bedside nursing in the next decade. And since we all know that isn't going to happen, well, then we're going to have tons of empty nursing positions out there. Doesn't mean a thing how many RNs are out there - matters how many are willing to WORK.

    Am I wrong???
  9. by   Altra
    I think demographics alone will ensure the need for increasing numbers of nurses for at least the next 30 years.

    A question ...

    Whenever the topic of the nursing shortage is brought up, there is always discussion of the number of licensed nurses who are not working in nursing or in some cases not in the health care field at all. While it might be interesting to ponder why, is this necessarily any more significant than any other field? People with degrees in any field you can imagine aren't necessarily working in that field. Career changing is common these days. And many degrees are broad enough that the career path of any two people with that degree can be radically different.

    Also, I've observed that there seem to be other reasons why many nurses maintain their licensure after pursuing other career options, or even after retirement. So they get counted in that "nurses who aren't working as nurses" number, even though the reason they're not in a nursing position may simply be retirement!

    Just a thought ... do we wring our hands over accountants who aren't working as accountants because they're puttering around in their back yard in retirement but still maintain their CPA license?
  10. by   Sheri257
    Quote from MLOS
    Also, I've observed that there seem to be other reasons why many nurses maintain their licensure after pursuing other career options, or even after retirement. So they get counted in that "nurses who aren't working as nurses" number, even though the reason they're not in a nursing position may simply be retirement!
    Well, that's the point I was trying to make. 70 percent of those 500,000 are over age 50. So, yes, a lot of them may be retired. And, in fact, retirements and deaths jumped to 175,000 from 25,000 in the last two surveys. No surprize since the existing RN pool is aging, and another 500,000 RNs are expected to retire by 2020.

    I was trying to point out that even if you assume that working conditions are the primary issue, and all of those people could come back to work, you're still looking at a "real" shortage in the next 16 years.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Jun 7, '04
  11. by   Altra
    Quote from lizz
    70 percent of those 500,000 are over age 50.

    I was trying to point out that even if you assume that working conditions are the primary issue, and all of those people could come back to work, you're still looking at a "real" shortage in the next 16 years.

    Yep, yep, yep!
  12. by   suzanne4
    I love being a nurse and still am, but just in a different capacity. I may occassionally pick up shifts when I am stateside, but I prefer making a difference in some lives over on this side of the world. And when I went to school, I went because I wanted to help people...............I am but in a different arena and still in nursing. I wouldn't be doing what I am now if it wasn't for all of my years experience as a nurse doing the things that I love.
  13. by   Sheri257
    Quote from MLOS
    Whenever the topic of the nursing shortage is brought up, there is always discussion of the number of licensed nurses who are not working in nursing or in some cases not in the health care field at all. While it might be interesting to ponder why, is this necessarily any more significant than any other field? People with degrees in any field you can imagine aren't necessarily working in that field. Career changing is common these days. And many degrees are broad enough that the career path of any two people with that degree can be radically different.
    Just to follow up on that point, I do think people like to focus on those 500,000 RNs so they can say, "See, I'm not the only one who's fed up, look at how many RNs have quit because of lousy working conditions. There is no shortage."

    Of course, that's not the whole story, but it's probably more gratifying to vent about working conditions, rather than talk about high nursing school failure rates, or aging demographics in both the RN and general populations, when they're discussing the shortage.

    However, I have no doubt that working conditions are a major part of the problem. I just posted an article about two-thirds of California nursing home staff quitting their jobs in 2002. And LTC, as well as home health, are the projected job growth areas with aging baby boomers, more so than hospitals, etc.

    So, in the end, they do have a point about working conditions, even if it's somewhat exaggerated. There are probably many people who have or will quit, especially in elder care, unless working conditions improve.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Jun 7, '04

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