Registered Nurse Labor Supply and the Recession Are We in a Bubble?

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    Registered Nurse Labor Supply and the Recession Are We in a Bubble?

    According to this article, the nursing shortage exists but due to the economic recession, it's hidden under a blanket of nurses returning to the workforce after leaving it.

    The article ends with the warning:

    " Employers and workforce policymakers should not be lulled into complacency by the current absence of a nursing shortage. Instead, they should anticipate that the current positive effect of a weak economy on the RN labor supply is likely to evaporate as the economy improves and that shortages will reemerge. Shortages of RNs may reduce access to care and increase costs as employers raise salaries to attract nurses, potentially imperiling the success of health care reform. Therefore, plans to counter the reemergence of a post-recession shortage and to use existing RNs both incoming and outgoing as efficiently and effectively as possible should be a priority for policymakers."

    Although, I'm partial to agree with this article, it doesn't take the reality that right now there are literally thousands of nurses graduating from Nursing schools across the country that will not find jobs.

    What is your take on the issue?
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Sep 1, '13

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    Shortage of nurses can be caused by many reasons and the be all and end all is not simply the number of licensed RNs or LPNs.

    Without mandatory safe staffing levels facilities are left to decide pretty much on their own how many nurses they employ per patient. Nurses on the otherhand mindful of their duties and or fearful for their licenses do what women throughout history have done under various but similar situations; make do with what they've got.

    To their credit many nurses have taken to labour actions to bring many issues to the public's attention including safe staffing, but by and large long as someone answers that bell/provides care they couldn't care if it is a RN or Daffy Duck.

    If and when this economy does improve you will see what happens historically whenever nurses feel they can do better elsewhere, RN/LPNS will leave the bedside in numbers. To date no one can say exactly how many will go but make no mistake a good number will leave.

    As the push towards community nursing goes forward there will be more and more openings in ambulatory care/out patient settings for nurses. Even if balanced with the reduction of inpatient beds for some services there will be increased competition for skilled nursing services. AC/OP offers often straight "9-5" "M-F" hours with no weekends, nights or holidays. Get em in, get the proceedure/treatment done, get em stable and send em home or someplace else to recover. No remaining hours afterwards to get charting done and usually none of the other drama associated with hospital nursing either.

    Wages are going to rise because of the above and other factors as well. Hospitals know already they are being "used" by a good number of new grads and or those just seeking to aquire enough clinical experience to enter AP programs. To keep well seasoned and experienced nurses on the floors/units places are going to have to raise the bar. Increasing educational requirements and skill levels sooner or later will push up wages as well. It is all very well to move towards an all BSN workforce, but four year degree holders normally are very aware of their education and what they deem proper wage/benefit packages. They also have a wider employment field than diploma and ADN nurses by virture of said degree.
    kcmylorn likes this.
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    Agreed. And this is when these CEO's and top Sr managment better start buying a new wardrobe of scrubs for their family members- they're going to need them. These CEO's and Sr management people have shot themselves in their foot.

    The new grads that have given up and moved on, used their education to get jobs in other fields or gone back to the careers they had first are not returning. Us crusty old bats are making due with our new found lowered income level and poverty and will not let these corporate schmucks shake our world again. These are a times we are remebering and who is responsible. I know this one refuses to ever go back to the hospital bedside again. I have seen what else is out there and where my exprience will take me- the work is alot cleaner, less stressful, and as pointed out- the hours are better and more enjoyable and pays just as well.
    I think this dark period in Nursing is not going to be easily forgotton by many, present and future. It's going to be impossible to live down- the many who sank thousands of dollars into an education, and couldn't use it and have had to pay back anyway. It's going to be impossible to forget all the old ones who lost homes due to foreclosure and short sale, marriages destroyed and the bankruptcy that on the credit report for the next 7-10 years and whose kids didn't get a college education or worse yet- had to drop out because of no money, or those who lost their licenses either early in their carrer or somewhere in between due to medical errors due to poor staffing and por to no orientations, and exhaustions, all the while these corporate mongrols/ pond scum made miliion dollar paydays and never cut one dime to themselves.

    They fail( not meeting standards) in "customer service" and decency to their own "internal customers'- their nursing staff. Just alot of salt into the wounds they inflicted.
    Last edit by kcmylorn on Jul 26, '12
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
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    What's interesting about it is that they are saying exactly the opposite of what most people say here when they talk about the nursing shortage which is that "nursing is just like any other sector of the economy so people will not be hired in big numbers until the recession ends". Their premise is that the opposite effect front loaded several hundred thousand nurses into the system so therefore there is still a shortage but we just can't see it yet.

    The same study authors posted a similar article in December 2011 in the journal Health Affairs if anyone is interested in seeing it.

    Registered Nurse Supply Grows Faster Than Projected Amid Surge In New Entrants Ages 23-26

    Metrical Pound, I think you're right to be concerned about the fate of new nurses now and perhaps alarmed at this statement form the Tri-Council for Nursing a coalition of the AACN, the ANA, the NLN, and the AONE.

    "Given the magnitude of these long-term challenges, it is important to resist the short-term urge to curtail the production of RNs. If nursing education capacity is decreased now, the ability to respond to the longer term, yet more predictable challenges will be hampered, as well as responding to the unpredictable near-term challenges should a strong and swift jobs recovery develop."

    If their self-interested projections are wrong, there will be thousands more new nurses in the same boat (or worse) than we have now. They don't seem very concerned about that.
    Susie2310 likes this.
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    Keeping the supply of nurses high keeps wages down and there is no incentive for employers to improve working conditions when one can easily fire and replace staff. Of course business wants to keep the supply of nurses high.

    Where is the ANA?

    Nurse156, reading your comment about the Tri-Council for Nursing, I feel greatly alarmed.
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
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    I noticed this in the early 80's recession as well. New grads despaired of EVER finding a job. The economy picked up - WHAM - huge shortage again.

    The thing I most like about nursing (flexibility) is what causes this phenomenon. Nurses who are SAHMs rejoin the workforce as their husbands' jobs evaporate or are scaled back. When the economy picks up - they return home. Ditto on the working nurses - picking up extra / going from PT to FT to make up for a spouses' job situation.
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    Quote from nursel56
    What's interesting about it is that they are saying exactly the opposite of what most people say here when they talk about the nursing shortage which is that "nursing is just like any other sector of the economy so people will not be hired in big numbers until the recession ends". Their premise is that the opposite effect front loaded several hundred thousand nurses into the system so therefore there is still a shortage but we just can't see it yet.

    The same study authors posted a similar article in December 2011 in the journal Health Affairs if anyone is interested in seeing it.

    Registered Nurse Supply Grows Faster Than Projected Amid Surge In New Entrants Ages 23-26

    Metrical Pound, I think you're right to be concerned about the fate of new nurses now and perhaps alarmed at this statement form the Tri-Council for Nursing a coalition of the AACN, the ANA, the NLN, and the AONE.

    "Given the magnitude of these long-term challenges, it is important to resist the short-term urge to curtail the production of RNs. If nursing education capacity is decreased now, the ability to respond to the longer term, yet more predictable challenges will be hampered, as well as responding to the unpredictable near-term challenges should a strong and swift jobs recovery develop."

    If their self-interested projections are wrong, there will be thousands more new nurses in the same boat (or worse) than we have now. They don't seem very concerned about that.
    Methinks what certain quarters are worried about is that shutting down a nursing program is easy, starting them up again is another matter.

    We saw during the 1970's through late 1980's early 1990's many nursing schools shut down, only to find during the "nursing shortage" that many areas had too few programs and or qualified clinical instructors,professors and others to staff new or existing programs.

    Consider here in NYC there are only two undergraduate BSN programs, Hunter-Bellevue and Lehman. City College's program was closed a decade or so ago and that now puts a strain on the remaining two four year colleges that offer a BofS to undergrad students.

    Some private nursing programs simply dropped awarding undergraduate BSN degrees an now concentrate on AP/masters and above. Columbia University no longer has a true BSN program but one can pick up one as part of going for an AP degree, but that isn't always ideal.

    Read somewhere that nursing schools/departments are one of the most dear to run in terms of cost for both colleges/universities and private stand alone programs. Remember it just isn't the nursing eduation staffing one has to worry about, but the ancillary sciences, core/general education as well.
    Last edit by DoGoodThenGo on Jul 27, '12 : Reason: Content
    NRSKarenRN likes this.
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    Quote from marycarney
    I noticed this in the early 80's recession as well. New grads despaired of EVER finding a job. The economy picked up - WHAM - huge shortage again.

    The thing I most like about nursing (flexibility) is what causes this phenomenon. Nurses who are SAHMs rejoin the workforce as their husbands' jobs evaporate or are scaled back. When the economy picks up - they return home. Ditto on the working nurses - picking up extra / going from PT to FT to make up for a spouses' job situation.
    Yes, while that may be historically true social and demographic changes in the United States are going to have an impact on the nursing profession.

    First there is the growing rate of women for whatever reasons are unmarried both with and without children. Without the luxury of a husband's income to fall back upon everything is on them. While they may if possible cut back hours when their children are infants or little, a vast majority have few if any other options than to return to work once their paid maternity leave (if they have it) is over.

    Next there is the vast damage to the wealth of many Americans that has taken a huge toll from this current economic crisis. From young adults/new college graduates who cannot find work and or must work for lower wages to adults and even seniors that have seen their savings and assets evaporate there is a huge financial hole that must be dug out of in order to *retire*, if that indeed can ever happen.

    It is going to take decades for the damage from this recession to heal an until then many women married or not are going to continue to work full time out of necessity.

    The promotion and acceptance of homosexuality means gay women that in another era may have married and retired from the world to become a wife and mother may choose another path. Even with gay marriage given that women still earn less then men on average a household headed by two women still may need more income than the traditional one headed by a male bread winner.

    Nursing at least in the hospital setting is becoming less the safe "full time" job it once was. Facilites are fine tuning staffing to the point that with call offs it can be hard for even a FT nurse to make what she would have say several years ago. Feast or famine employment cycles aren't the best for building a stable financial future unless one is very careful.
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    Interesting point DoGood- the feast or famine: it used to be working moms could work per deim and still make a decent wage. If the houshold needed extra money- working mom could "just pick up extra shifts" and problem fixed. Not so anymore. I found that out- we are now slaves to the dwindling or ups and downs of a census number. The per deim is cancelled @ approx 5:30, expected to sit by the phone and wait for the phone to ring, which in turn could just be a 4 hour cancel or an 8 hr cancel or an entire 12 hr cancel. And god help you if you find a temporary full time position in a non traditional nursing postion- one that is not census driven. Then you are subject to diciplinary action from the per diem place because then you are not accessable to their beck and call. You may be collecting full time wages at the temp place but you can not count on the perdeim position anymore. Taking a perdeim position is not a good idea in these economic times because of the disiplinary action and the expectations that go along with it.

    I know in my job hunts- I will not even consider a perdeim position unless it specifically addresses in the add - "working to supplement your income or working shifts around your regular job" I have only found one in 3-4 years of combing the adds. i got burned once and I am very leary of per deim positions.
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.


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