Is there REALLY a nursing shortage? - page 6

This is an interesting article guys/gals... Here's the letter I wrote to the President, Vice-President, U.S. Congress Rep. and Senator: "I'm an R.N. and I recently started working as an agency... Read More

  1. by   Quickbeam
    There does exist significant wage compression in nursing. Benefits also tend to lag far behind teachers for nurses in non-governmental roles, especially in terms of pension.

    Not to ignite the whole "Nurses/Teachers" debate but my 2 neighbors teach public school and within 2 years out of college, already made more money/better benefits than I did after 20 years of nursing. That's with 9 months of work and not taking any extra jobs, no tutoring or coaching or anything. It gives me pause.
  2. by   bobnurse
    Yup, but those are just projections.....Here in our state, the last month or two overall census has been down, putting many agency nurses out of work.......SO where does that put those projections????????
  3. by   payday
    If your state is near a bunch of universities and community colleges you won't have much of a nursing shortage. Maybe only in highly skilled areas. Every six months, the recruters have a stack full or resumes.
  4. by   PACNWNURSING
    Is there really a nursing shortage of total number licensed nurses as a whole, or is there a shortage of nursing willing to work med/surg units in hospitals? It seems every 7 years there is an announcement warning of a nursing shortage. Yet admissions to nursing programs have increased every year for the past 20 years. I just think nurses start on the those med/surg units to gain experience and quickly move on.

    What do you think?
  5. by   sunnyjohn
    Quote from PACNWNURSING
    Is there really a nursing shortage of total number licensed nurses as a whole,
    No

    or is there a shortage of nursing willing to work med/surg units in hospitals?
    There is a shortage of nurses willing to work at the wage healthcare employers are willing to pay in all specialties, med/surg being no exception. That work conditions are toxic on many units does not help the matter.

    It seems every 7 years there is an announcement warning of a nursing shortage. Yet admissions to nursing programs have increased every year for the past 20 years. I just think nurses start on the those med/surg units to gain experience and quickly move on.
    Yes, I do think new folks (myself being one) tend not to see med/surg as a long term option. God bless you guys in M/S. I couldn't do it long term.
  6. by   PMFB-RN
    Quote from PACNWNURSING
    Is there really a nursing shortage of total number licensed nurses as a whole, or is there a shortage of nursing willing to work med/surg units in hospitals?
    *** I live in central Wisconsin. As far as I can tell there is no nursing shortage at all, at least not in this area. If I were a nurse recruiter from a real shortage area I would head to central Wisconsin.
  7. by   PACNWNURSING
    Essentially what you are saying there is a shortage of nurses willing to work under those conditions, but really there are plenty of nurses out there.
  8. by   RunningWithScissors
    Essentially what you are saying there is a shortage of nurses willing to work under those conditions, but really there are plenty of nurses out there.
    Yes, this is true.

    We have a huge revolving door in our hospital, but there is never a shortage of agency nurses to fill those holes. We can't get nurses to stay much past their orientation, oftentimes not even completing orientation, before quitting.
  9. by   PACNWNURSING
    Regardless of how you look at it, the solution involves having to spend more money either on hiring more nurses to make the patient and nurse ratio's realistic or you start paying nurses in acute care settings a much higher salary. Either way hospitals are never going to get around having to spend more money on quality health care provided by nurses. They used the change from 8 hour to 12 hour shifts as a temporary solution to saving money by needing less nurses to cover shifts. Now they are in the same predicament again.
  10. by   Simplepleasures
    I am suspicious of the validity of the "nursing shortage". There may have been one, or even still may be one, BUT I believe it serves the agenda of the healthcare corporations to continue to blame the "nursing shortage" for their practice of short staffing units in order to save the almighty dollar.State and even better, Federal mandated nurse patient ratios may help aleviate this phenomenon, IF the healthcare facilities will be severly punished when they try to circumvent mandated ratios,by some of their devious methods, they seem to be so good at.
  11. by   Freedom42
    Right on, Ingelein. There's no shortage of nurses. There's a shortage of nursing jobs in good working conditions.

    If you haven't already seen it, you might find this report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research quite interesting. It's called "Solving the Nursing Shortage through Higher Wages." Bottom line: When hospitals boost wages, nurses go to work for them.

    The report also addresses nurse-patient ratios, which are supported -- in concept only, at this point -- by the union in my home state, the Maine State Nurses Association. Given that the union has just voted to affiliate with the California Nurses Association, this could get interesting.
  12. by   Mulan
    There wouldn't be a problem if they staffed appropriately, even on medsurg.
    Instead, one nurse has to do the work of two people. If the staffing were adequate so that one nurse was only expected to do the work of one person, people wouldn't mind working. It all comes down to money and where they can make it, and labor is a big expense and working the nurses short is one place where they can save money.
  13. by   HealthyRN
    I believe that there is a pseudoshortage of nurses. There is a shortage of nurses willing to work under the current working conditions. I was unable to find any data for 2006, but I found this government publication about the registered nurse workforce in 2004. Preliminary Findings 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses

    In 2004, there were over 2.4 million registered nurses in the US. Of these, 16.8% were not employed in nursing. Now, in any profession there is a small percentage of people who decide not to remain in the profession for numerous reasons. Also, nursing is a female-dominated profession, so it would be reasonable to assume that a greater number would leave to become stay-at-home mothers, etc. However, 16.8% is still a huge number- over 400,000 nurses that aren't employed in nursing! Remember, this does not include people who decided to leave nursing and let their RN license lapse.

    According to the American Hospital Association, in 2006, hospitals needed 118,000 RNs to fill vacancies. (AACN - Media - Nursing Shortage Fact Sheet)

    If only a quarter of RNs not employed in nursing returned, there would not be any shortage at all. Of course the population of the public is aging, the average age of nurses is getting higher, and there aren't enough faculty to teach. I believe these issues compound the problem, but someone should be examining one of the biggest issues. Why did 16.8% of the workforce leave nursing?

    I wish that I had thought about this before becoming a nurse. The "nursing shortage" was one of the things that attracted me to nursing. I thought that it would be a great field to get into because I could go anywhere and get a job. Well, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. When I leave my hospital nursing position, hopefully after less than a year in the field, there will be another idealistic grad eager to take my spot. That is part of the problem. So PACNWNursing, hospitals have learned that they don't have to change anything. They don't care about retention, because there are several local community colleges pumping out new grads every year. Also, I agree that hospitals want nurses to believe in the shortage because it helps to justify the staffing ratios.

close