Where have all the nurses gone?

  1. While reading some thread here, I saw that there were several school of thoughts.

    Some people believe that there's no real shortage of US nurses, there's only shortage of US nurses working as nurse.

    Some people believe that there's real shortage of US nurses and many nursing jobs left unfilled because of that.

    Some people believe that there's real real shortage of US nurses because the former nurse have gone to other professions and there's no way of getting them back.

    What else is there? Where have all nurses gone?
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Rep
    To complicated to answer.

    Just take the opportunity that US hospitals are hiring foreign nurses to fill the vacuum.
  4. by   RN4US
    It looks like this subject is a field no one dare to thread.

    So you believe there's a "vacuum" that foreign nurses need to fill?
  5. by   suzanne4
    I am not afraid to answer this at all, and have done so in many other threads.

    Not all areas have shortages, first of all. And not all areas are even willing to petition a foreign nurse. Examples: You see very few being petiioned from hospitals in Washington, Oregon, NY, as well as other states. Even certain areas in CA are not petitioning either.

    There are shortages in nursing homes, always has been, and always will be due to the work conditions; many Americans do not wish to work there where the legal responsibilities are overwhelming. Or in areas where there is a high crime rate or where you will have a very large number of patients to be taking care of in one shift. One thing that many do not pay attention to is the fact that if you lose your nursing license, thent he VSC is cancelled,. and that cancels the green card and the nurse has to leave the US. Many fail to tell you that.

    Nursing unions are quite strong in many areas and they will not permit a nurse on a temporary work visa of any type, that is why you also do not see the H1-B visa for nurses being available anymore.

    Next issue is that people in certain fields have gotten laid off because their company has been moved overseas; for the same amount of money that is spent on bringing over a foreign nurse, it can be spent towards training an American in the same amount of time and then give them a job, and a way for them to support their family. Americans are always going to come first in the scheme of things, and they need to.

    Average waiting time to get to the US and ready to begin work has been about two years from the beginning of the process of testing, to arrriving in the US; same time to provide training for an American.

    What many fail to think about it that if visas are created, the nurse still needs to go thru the process; nothing is speeded up for them, and the same two years can train and pay for an American to do the work. Those that have trained out of the US usually require a longer orientation period than those that trained in the US, or under an American type system in their country in terms of how hospitals function and the responsibility of the RN.
  6. by   elkpark
    I am in the "no current overall nursing shortage" camp, and have made that point on many threads here. (Just to clarify, I don't dispute that there will be a significant shortage in the not-too-distant future, as demand increases dramatically due to the increasing age/declining health of us Baby Boomers.) There are certainly real shortages in some areas due to issues with "distribution" of nurses, same as there are with medicine, law, and many other professions.

    There are more than enough licensed (but not currently working in nursing) US RNs right now to fill all the existing vacancies. As for how many of them are "lost forever" to nursing and would never come back no matter what, if individuals had really made that decision, why would they maintain their licensure? I have to assume that people who spend the money (and go to the effort & expense of getting CEUs, in the states that require them) to keep their licenses active are at least open to the possibility of returning to nursing.

    I believe that large numbers of nurses have "voted with their feet" and left because of the lousy working conditions they were expected to tolerate. Also, it suits the interests of the financial interests in healthcare to tout the nursing "shortage" as an excuse for understaffing and poor working conditions, and importing foreign workers.
  7. by   oramar
    I do believe the demographic shortage is nearly upon us. However, up till now it has all been about bad conditions and low pay and general poor treatment.

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