Is the Nursing Shortage Declining?

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I've been reading a few recent articles on the nursing shortage and how the economy has temporarily answered the call of the nursing shortage in many areas, due to an influx of schools pumping out new graduates over the past 2 years and many RN's who'd previously left the field who are now returning.

I've been catching wind of something in the air for a little while now. The hospital in which I currently work for, has cut its educational programs which provided loan forgiveness for employees returning to school for nursing in lieu of a 3-year committment of employment-- as well as a fully funded BSN completion program, which attracted many RN's to our hospital. As I searched for RN job postings for this hospital many people are commenting how it's the lowest the hospitals seen in decades.

I'm actually in the last class the hospital funded RN program and we're being told off the bat, 10 weeks before completion, that positions are HIGHLY competitive even though we were told in the beginning of the program that there wouldn't be a problem placing us.

Current students/employees have spoken with their managers for whom they are currently externs for and they are in turn telling them basically-- "sorry" and that they are not offering positions to new grads-- experienced nurses are what they're going for, we're just not as desperate for staffing.

New grads everywhere are having difficulty landing their first jobs.

So... what do you think?


14,633 Posts

The nursing "shortage" was highly debatable :rolleyes: to begin with. Since the US economy has tanked, it has completely vanished in many parts of the country, although there are some areas that still have big needs. Unfortunately, things are going to rough for new grads until things pick up in the economy. However, nursing is still in better shape than lots of other occupations, for what that's worth (cold comfort, I know).


486 Posts

I've been trying to read what I can about this topic, and there's a lot of different opinions out there, plus a lot of resources on this topic. It seems that the people who do demographic studies are the ones saying that there's going to be a nursing shortage. Right now seems to not be the time, but I've read that a lot of nurses will be retiring in years ahead, mixed with limited clinical sites to make up with new grads (yeah, plenty of wanna-be nurses, but out of those, who actually gets in, MAKES IT THROUGH, THEN, if not enough, who can handle the pace/challenges of nursing in order to be effective and stay in it...?)....anyway, it seems that nurses and new grads..those with the day-in, day-out view of the "nursing shortage" are calling the idea outrageous, cuz they aren't able to get jobs. We're in a recession, the worst economy as I hear on news sites, since the, it's not as though hospitals/providers are doing great,,,just look at the news re Obama's urgency for the reform of health care...I don't know, lots of people trying to think this one out, and yeah, kind of scary. It's not just nurses who are wondering how this is all going to pan out, for sure.


196 Posts

Scary is not the word for it. I was told my my unit manager that all of their postings for RN's are bombarded with applicants. 4200 applicants for less than 50 openings. This is all because it's a brand new hospital (just opened in March-09) and all the other hospitals are not hiring or are on hiring downturns due to budget cuts So they're having a tough time picking because now, its like weeding and seeding. How many years experienced-- and in what units-- for new grads it's almost like forget about it unless you have a contact and then they are going through this phone screening process before you are even contacted by a manager. The intern postings are requesting only students who have recently completed their BSN to apply. What happened to ... "there's no difference" between ADN/BSN's? ADN's are a dime a dozen, especially now. so if a hospitals staffing is lets say under control, wouldn't it make sense that they opt for the university graduates? It just doens't seem fair, but I guess in a competitive market, its all about whatever gives you an edge.


196 Posts

The way I see it, there IS a shortage of nurses, but hospitals would rather continue to pay their executives and management and top docs high 6-figure and 7-figure salaries than to fill that shortage and just overwork the nurses they have short-staffed.

And is it just me, or are salaries going down?


196 Posts

I shouldn't be this pessimistic, though:

There IS still a shortage in my area. I am only responding from what I hear from around the country, see on this message board, and I do see FEWER postings around here, but there are still postings every day. My company still offers to put students through nursing school if they'll sign a 2 year contract with them after they'll graduate, which I doubt they'd do if they weren't looking for nurses. They also have about a dozen nursing recruiters on staff.

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