It is far too broad of a statement to say that there is a "nursing shortage, when there are so many factors to consider. Surpluses and deficits vary from state to state, as we know, but also along the lines of LVN vs RN. You cannot simply plug in LVN's into an area where there is a shortage of RNs, and vice versa. A time line must also be considered in order to accurately assess the fluctuation of job growth related to the number of FTE's retiring and being hired, population growth, % of said population that is more wiling to seek out medical care in a facility, and number of new graduates in each respective field of nursing annually. The timeline would more accurately express the nursing shortage data over a 10 year time period in order to make an accurate correlation, rather than simply using circumstantial evidence.
According to HRSA the key findings are:
Substantial variation across states is observed for RNs in 2030 through the large differences between their projected supply and demand.
Looking at each state's 2030 RN supply minus its 2030 demand reveals both shortages and surpluses in RN workforce in 2030 across the United States. Projected differences between each state's 2030 supply and demand range from a shortage of 44,500 FTEs in California to a surplus of 53,700 FTEs in Florida.
If the current level of health care is maintained, seven states are projected to have a shortage of RNs in 2030, with four of these states having a deficit of 10,000 or more FTEs, including California (44,500 FTEs), Texas (15,900 FTEs), New Jersey (11,400 FTEs) and South Carolina (10,400 FTEs).
States projected to experience the largest excess supply compared to demand in 2030 include Florida (53,700 FTEs) followed by Ohio (49,100 FTEs), Virginia (22,700 FTEs) and New York (18,200 FTEs).
Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses
Projected changes in supply and demand for LPNs between 2014 and 2030 vary substantially by state.
Thirty-three states are projected to experience a shortage - a smaller growth in the supply of LPNs relative to their state-specific demand for LPNs. States projected to experience the largest shortfalls of LPNs in 2030 include Texas, with a largest projected deficit of 33,500 FTEs, followed by Pennsylvania with a shortage of 18,700 FTEs.
Supply and Demand Projections for the Nursing Workforce: 2014-2030 4
In seventeen states where projected LPN supply exceeds projected demand in 2030, Ohio exhibits the greatest excess supply of 4,100 FTEs, followed by California with 3,600 excess FTEs."
This study does not include advanced practice nursing. The reason I say this is because many RN's will pursue this path, and this will be an additional factor affecting the decrease in the RN population. Same with LVNs. If they bridge, they now populate the RN population, and depopulate the LVN field. Since many ADNs cannot advance scholastically without starting over (accreditation factors), their population will remain more static than the other two. While many contest the nursing shortage and its legitimacy, the numbers projected in the individualized areas of nursing show dramatically varying surpluses and deficits state by state if those numbers prove to be accurate.
"HRSA's Health Workforce Simulation Model projected a national RN excess of about 8 percent of demand, and a national LPN deficit of 13 percent by 2030."
So, if we are to discuss the "nursing shortage," it is only prudent to analyze on a state-by-state basis, and articulate which nursing population is being discussed; RN, ADN, or LVN. They are not interchangeable in the nursing shortage conversation, even though they all are under the umbrella of nurses. It is possible for a state to have a surplus of RNs, but a deficit of LVNs. Since advanced practice nurses aren't even in the conversation, continuing education is kind of a no-brainer.