Phila, PA: Shortage Now of 669 RNs ---45,000 science workers by 2008

  1. Region faces shortage of science workers;
    A report warns that hospitals, biotechs, and drug companies won't be able to fill the 45,000 jobs created by 2008.

    Copyright 2002 The Philadelphia Inquirer
    All Rights Reserved
    The Philadelphia Inquirer...03/07/2002
    Linda Loyd Inquirer Staff Writer

    The life-sciences and health-care professions in the Philadelphia region are expected to create 45,000 jobs by 2008, according to a new report sponsored by a local hospital organization.

    But the report says that there is already a shortage of workers in some health-service fields and that employers will need to find ways to recruit and attract more workers to an industry that currently employs more than 250,000 people in the Philadelphia region.

    The Delaware Valley Healthcare Council will release the statistics today at a symposium where hospital executives, government officials and others will discuss how to recruit, train and keep personnel critical to the health of the Philadelphia area's residents and economy.

    "The economic future of the Philadelphia metropolitan area depends on harnessing the life sciences for regional economic development," said Andrew Wigglesworth, president of the council, whose members are 150 health-care organizations.

    The new report comes less than a month after Greater Philadelphia First issued its own study listing the pros and cons of the regional economy in an effort to spur investment in the life-sciences and other knowledge industries.

    Employment in the life sciences - including hospitals, health insurers, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies - has doubled in the last 25 years and represents more than 14 percent of the total workforce in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania suburbs and South Jersey, according to the Healthcare Council report, which was prepared by Temple University's Fox School of Business and Management.

    The report cites existing shortages in nurses, pharmacists and technical fields, such as laboratory, imaging and radiation therapy. Authors David Barton Smith and William Aaronson from Temple predict the region will need to recruit 83,110 workers for new life-sciences jobs and to replace workers who will retire by 2008.

    Participants in today's symposium at the Adam's Mark Hotel are expected to address efforts to avert a projected labor shortfall in the next decade.

    The shortage in health-services workers is a national problem, as fewer people opt for careers in health-related fields for many reasons, including the hours, shift work and demands of the job. Locally, a shortage of 669 registered nurses in 2001 is expected to grow to 3,158 by 2008, the report says.

    "Nurses feel very stressed. Hospital stays used to be 12 days. Now they are 4.7," Paul Brucker, president of Thomas Jefferson University, said. "With hospitals cutting back staff, and asking people to do more, that has been tremendously challenging for the nursing profession."

    According to the report, women made up 46 percent of new medical school students in 2000-01. As job opportunities for women have expanded, the report said health-service careers have faced the same "gender gap shortages" as other traditionally female careers, such as elementary school teachers and secretaries.

    The report lists 26 life-sciences and health-care jobs as "high-demand" occupations, including lab technicians, radiological technologists, pharmacists, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing aides and home-health aides.

    The report said "high-growth" occupations - those increasing 35 percent or more by 2008 - include: dental hygienists, medical-records specialists, health-information technicians, dental and medical assistants and home-health aides.

    Contact Linda Loyd at 215-854-4822 or
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  3. by   -jt
    <Locally, a shortage of 669 registered nurses in 2001 >

    they mean a "shortage" of 669 RNs who are willng to take those hospital jobs. How many RNs are there in PA who are licensed but not working? Ill bet there are much more than 669. Probably enough to take every one of those jobs - IF the job was made worth taking.

    It just amazes me that in every city, every state, the situation is the same - available licensed RNs already out there in numbers enough to end the present "shortage" tomorrow - but who refuse to do so while current workplace cnditions remain unhanged.

    But instead of improving the workplace conditions enough for them to be enticed back to work, this whole ready-made group of hundreds of thousands of RNs is totally being ignored by employers as if they dont exist.

    If hospital administrators really wanted to end this "shortage", wouldnt they be eager to woo these nurses & wouldnt they be listening to what they say they need in order to come back to the job - and then giving that to them?

    I was at symposium in NY where the average age of RNs is 47. We have thousands of licensed nurses refusing to take hospital jobs too. We need jobs that are less of a strain on our "aging" bodies, that offer good retirement benefits and god pension plans, so if the hospital doesnt offer that, it cant find nurses who will work for them.

    Soooooooo..... what is their solution??? Purchase ergonomic equipment & lifing devices to help us with the physical labor of the job to allow us to keep working more years??? NO.
    Offer retirement packages that significantly increase the more years we work - as an incentive to keep us working???? NO. Make generous contributions to our pension plans that also are an incentive to keep us working for them building our nest egg? NO. Offer FREE health benefits for us & our family??? No. Use some of that unused space they have since getting rid of certain services and turn it into an onsite health club for employees (stress relief and execise). NOPE.

    They want to offer us CHILD CARE/DAY CARE services on site and truly think that will attact current nurses to come bak to work.

    Funny, but they resisted doing that when we needed it in the 80's & we had to fight tooth & nail for it. Does this make sense? On the one hand they tell us that there is a shortage bcause nurss are aging & retiring. Then they ignore that & now that our kids are in college, they want to entice us back to the job by giving us child care onsite again.

    Is somebody not getting it or what?
  4. by   dawngloves
    They want to offer us CHILD CARE/DAY CARE services on site and truly think that will attact current nurses to come bak to work.
    I'm sorry, but that's a huge incentive for me. I'd work full time at a hospital that offered me that in a heart beat.
    Not that the other benefits metioned are without merit, but I'd never get to the gym and don't want my kids far from me or my husband now a days.
  5. by   oramar
    Dear DAWNGLOVES, I think -jt means that offering childcare is an insentive that attacts younger nurses. Like she said there are thousands of people in over 45 group who don't need this options. It is great that they offer it and they certainly should. But the fact that the needs of older workers continue to be ignored sends this message loud and clear. WE DON'T WANT YOU if you are over a certain age and can't keep up with the demands of the job. Don't forget that the introduction of safe staffing and enough equipment to safely do the job would prolong the career of a lot of people who are young and uninjured at the moment.
  6. by   -jt
    <They want to offer us CHILD CARE/DAY CARE services on site and truly think that will attact current nurses to come bak to work. >
    <<I'm sorry, but that's a huge incentive for me. I'd work full time at a hospital that offered me that in a heart beat.>

    I know. Its good for some nurses. But the majority of nurses are in their 40's & there are hundreds of thousands of us already licensed but who will not work in hospitals today. Those nurses can be a ready made pool to draw from if the hospitals played their cards right. But offering us something we dont need is not going to get us to come back. If they want to end the current "shortage", they need to make the place one we want to work in & also offer us something we can use.

    By offering baby care as a way to entice some of the hundreds of thousands 40something-yr-old nurses to come back to work for a few more years either just goes to show how blind-sighted our administrators still are or that they are saying they dont want to have anything to do with those experienced nurses who are demanding improvements in the job. It seems they would rather keep things as they are, ignore this whole pool of nurses & go for the inexperienced younger ones who may not be so insistent.
    (and who cost less).

    A lot of the employers headaches (and costs) would be over if they got us out of the way. If thats not their plan, then I cant explain their continued refusal to make the job attractive for nurses who are already out there at the same time they keep crying that they cant find nurses.
    Last edit by -jt on Mar 9, '02
  7. by   Mkue
    Something wrong with this picture. There is a nursing shortage and hospitals are laying off nurses?
  8. by   RNKitty
    Just as an aside on the childcare issue:

    The hospitals I have worked that offered childcare only had it available M-F 8-6. No help for the nurses. Also, it is illegal to leave kids in childcare for longer than 10 hours a day, so 12 hour shifts are out as well.
  9. by   TracyB,RN
    I only know of a handful of hospitals in the Chicago area that even offer child care at all. Most of the time it is for day shift employees. What about 2nd & 3rd shifts? And how about those waiting lists for it. . .I have heard the wait can be very lengthy. We all know healthcare is a 24-7 thing, good luck finding an affordable, offshift child care center anywhere.
    And I don't even want to get started on staffing issues & retirement. . . I might not shut up for a loooong time.