Question about Nursing shortage cycle from a newbie ...

  1. I am a manager at a small software shop in North Carolina, I have an AAS degree in Industrial Engineering and have spent the last thirteen years working in manufacturing management (seven years) and in software (six years). I have been interested in the medical field since doing a two-week combat medical course for Infantry NCOs in the Army, and have decided to attend a local community college to prepare (more cheaply) for a BSN from Winston-Salem State. I want to work in the ER (that fits my personality) and I hope to obtain an MSN and NP cert down the road.

    My question concerns the cycle of Nurse shortages, which we are experiencing now. My fiance, a 20-year RN says that when she finished Nursing school in the late 1970s there were almost NO jobs to be had. I have also read here about similar circumstances in the early 1990s.

    So ... do you think this cycle of plentiful positions will continue into the next 20 years due to the aging population, or will we again see an excess of Nurses in another four or five years? I am going to pursue the BSN regardless, even if I wind up back in computers perhaps working in medical programming or something. But I am curious.

    Minh Thong
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   kimmicoobug
    Welcome to the BB and congrats on your decision to pursue this. I have no answer for you, but am curious to see what answers you will receive in regards to your questions.
  4. by   gwenith
    It will continue as a shortage for some time because in the 70's there was only a limited number of career options for nurses.

    Personally I feel like begging you on my knees to enter nursing we NEED and engineer/software programmer if for no other reason than to design a decent roster progam. If you are able to bring your previous expertise to the field and address many of the current time wasting energy sapping problems within our field you fulfill a great need and do an enormous service to our profession.
  5. by   2banurse
    Originally posted by Snakum
    I am a manager at a small software shop in North Carolina, I have an AAS degree in Industrial Engineering and have spent the last thirteen years working in manufacturing management (seven years) and in software (six years). I have been interested in the medical field since doing a two-week combat medical course for Infantry NCOs in the Army, and have decided to attend a local community college to prepare (more cheaply) for a BSN from Winston-Salem State. I want to work in the ER (that fits my personality) and I hope to obtain an MSN and NP cert down the road.

    My question concerns the cycle of Nurse shortages, which we are experiencing now. My fiance, a 20-year RN says that when she finished Nursing school in the late 1970s there were almost NO jobs to be had. I have also read here about similar circumstances in the early 1990s.

    So ... do you think this cycle of plentiful positions will continue into the next 20 years due to the aging population, or will we again see an excess of Nurses in another four or five years? I am going to pursue the BSN regardless, even if I wind up back in computers perhaps working in medical programming or something. But I am curious.

    Minh Thong
    Hi Minh Thong, welcome to the BB!

    I believe that due to the aging of the population and to the fact that schools have cut down on nursing classes (not enough nursing instructors), there will continue to be a shortage for quite some time.

    I, like you, have been drawn to the medical field for quite sometime. Although I was accepted into the nursing program when I first got out of high school, I wasn't ready. Yet, I have been finding myself being pulled towards nursing for a long time (20 years) and now I'm in the process of completing my prereqs.

    Good luck in your pursuit! You will be needed!

    Kris
  6. by   BrandyBSN
    Hi Minh!

    I believe that nursing will continue to cycle, although I am nurse sure it will be as dramatically as it was 20 years ago.

    The Baby-boomers are aging, and nearing retirement which will free up a lot of space for new nurses. As the supply dwindles demand will rise. I'm actually not that upset about the nursing shortage, and I dont spend a lot of time thinking about it. Its job security for the rest of us in a way. Oversaturation just means they will be able to make us fight to keep our jobs and work for less.

    I do think that nursing positions will be open in the years to come, and I don't see there being a shortage of opportunities in the relevant future.

    Congrats on your decision and welcome to the Board!
    BrandyBSN
  7. by   moonshadeau
    First of all- welcome to the board and the profession.

    From my understanding and you can certainly find out more information on the ANA website regarding statistics about this issue. www.nursingworld.org

    The average age of a nurse is 45-47 years old. Nursing is physically demanding and I know that when I am 50-55 I only pray that I am not standing on my feet all day long, pulling and pushing. So nurses are leaving due to retirement issues.

    Another source of the shortage is the lack of professors to teach nursing students. Many schools require Masters and Doctorate level degrees to teach, some a BSN will do. The problem lies that instructors are not getting compensated for their professional degrees that are expected of them. That along with state educational cut backs, classes can become larger with fewer teachers to teach. So like everything else in our society, the money is just not there. Until the Nursing reinvestment Act, which even then only gives 13,000 dollars to each SCHOOL in my state.

    Another source of the shortage is that there is increased demand for nurses. Patients are much more acute and require more care. Nurses are not able to care for such acute patients and so hospitals sometimes try to lower patient nurse ratios by adding more nurses.

    Yet, another source is that the physical, mental and financial burnout of being a nurse. It is very demanding and many nurses are leaving just due to the fact that other professions could offer more (insert money, benefits, better hours)... Nursing is a different profession than it was 100 years, 50, 25 and even 5 years ago. It has its benefits but to some, sometimes the disadvantages begin to outweigh the rewards.

    The final source that I can think of is that as a nursing student, due to the lack of instructors, there is a HUGE waiting period to get into a program. Some people just lose interest in waiting 2-3 years sometimes getting into the nursing core classes.

    If anyone else has anything to add...

    Let me say that nursing is very individualized and rewarding to those who make it so. As much as it may sound that there is something wrong with nursing, there must be something right for all of us to be here.
  8. by   Katnip
    Welcome.

    I think everyone pretty much said that needs to be said about the shortage.

    The only thing I'll add is that most analysts agree that this one isn't going to cycle like it usually does because of the aging population and the fact that schools aren't going to be able to crank out enough nurses to meet future needs.
  9. by   babs_rn
    The nursing shortage is always cycling in and out. When I graduated in 1988, hospitals were trying to sell themselves to YOU when you went on an interview. But Managed Care and the advent of many, many changes in the profession and in the medical field (becoming primarily profit-based, for example) have turned hospital nursing into something essentially unrecognizeable from what it used to be. Be careful in making your choice to enter clinical nursing. Keep an open mind. Nursing is always a good background to have, and I agree wholeheartedly with the previous poster who suggested you bring your background with you into the field. Have you considered informatics? If you want to be treated like a human being and have energy and time for a family life, that might be something to consider. Read the other threads and topics with an open mind so you can make informed decisions as you progress with your nursing education. Don't EVER sell yourself short and accept poor treatment on the part of hospital administrations - you'd be surprised how easy it can be to fall into that trap. You have a lot more autonomy and a lot more respect as an army medic than you do as a hospital RN.

    I ramble on with that to make the point that the nursing shortage we currently have is a direct result of the healthcare field as it is now. I see on the home page of this particular site a news article that suggests that PR and recruitment is the answer to the shortage. No, that isn't it at all. That is typical business-type thinking - forget the person, just make a sale. The nursing shortage is a direct result of nursing layoffs in the early - mid '90's (I wound up working at McDonald's for awhile, myself during that time) because nurses are viewed by the CEOs and the CFOs as expensive liabilities when it comes to the profit margin. They eliminate other ancillary positions and place those responsibilities squarely on the shoulders of the nurse. Well, when nurses got laid off, they found something else to do and didn't want to come back. Others found something else to do simply because of the way they had been treated. It won't be until nurses' true worth is recognized, appreciated, and fairly compensated for, that the shortage will end. If you're wondering if you'll be able to find a job, I can assure you that you will. Just, like I said, keep your eyes and mind open, keep your ear to the ground, strive to take the best care of your patients that you can and don't let the administration get you down. Don't do like a lot of nurses do and let your entire sense of self-worth lie in your profession and your ability to do a good job and make everybody happy. Take care of yourself and your family and don't apologize for it.

    And good luck!
    Barb
  10. by   Snakum
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    I have had three or four Nurses or Nurse Educators mention Infomatics after they find out I have an IT background, but I have yet to meet anyone who actually works in this field. Anyone here work in Infomatics, or know someone who does?

    Minh
  11. by   oramar
    To Babs, I am glad someone else took exception to the PR remark, matter of fact it gagged me. To Snakum, I have been a nurse since 1966. I can tell you two things for sure, the job market does have cycles for sure and almost all predictions about when and how much tend to me wrong.
  12. by   funnygirl_rn
    Originally posted by babs_rn
    The nursing shortage is always cycling in and out. When I graduated in 1988, hospitals were trying to sell themselves to YOU when you went on an interview. But Managed Care and the advent of many, many changes in the profession and in the medical field (becoming primarily profit-based, for example) have turned hospital nursing into something essentially unrecognizeable from what it used to be. Be careful in making your choice to enter clinical nursing. Keep an open mind. Nursing is always a good background to have, and I agree wholeheartedly with the previous poster who suggested you bring your background with you into the field. Have you considered informatics? If you want to be treated like a human being and have energy and time for a family life, that might be something to consider. Read the other threads and topics with an open mind so you can make informed decisions as you progress with your nursing education. Don't EVER sell yourself short and accept poor treatment on the part of hospital administrations - you'd be surprised how easy it can be to fall into that trap. You have a lot more autonomy and a lot more respect as an army medic than you do as a hospital RN.

    I ramble on with that to make the point that the nursing shortage we currently have is a direct result of the healthcare field as it is now. I see on the home page of this particular site a news article that suggests that PR and recruitment is the answer to the shortage. No, that isn't it at all. That is typical business-type thinking - forget the person, just make a sale. The nursing shortage is a direct result of nursing layoffs in the early - mid '90's (I wound up working at McDonald's for awhile, myself during that time) because nurses are viewed by the CEOs and the CFOs as expensive liabilities when it comes to the profit margin. They eliminate other ancillary positions and place those responsibilities squarely on the shoulders of the nurse. Well, when nurses got laid off, they found something else to do and didn't want to come back. Others found something else to do simply because of the way they had been treated. It won't be until nurses' true worth is recognized, appreciated, and fairly compensated for, that the shortage will end. If you're wondering if you'll be able to find a job, I can assure you that you will. Just, like I said, keep your eyes and mind open, keep your ear to the ground, strive to take the best care of your patients that you can and don't let the administration get you down. Don't do like a lot of nurses do and let your entire sense of self-worth lie in your profession and your ability to do a good job and make everybody happy. Take care of yourself and your family and don't apologize for it.

    And good luck!
    Barb
    Totally concur. Excellent post babs_rn!
  13. by   NRSKarenRN
    Check out our Nursing Informatics Forum---contact rninformatics --given me great advice!
    http://allnurses.com/forums/forumdis...ne=&forumid=28

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