Nursing crisis looms over Iowa

  1. A shortage of nurses has caused concern among elected officials and health care analysts for decades. At least two Iowa governors have convened task forces to investigate the problem and offer recommendations.

    With all the added scrutiny and few practical solutions to show for it, most signs point to a nursing crisis that continues to get worse, and Iowa is likely to bear the brunt of it.

    The American Health Care Association estimated in July that 116,000 nursing positions in hospitals and more than 19,000 positions in long-term care facilities were vacant. The problem is projected to skyrocket by 2010 to an estimated shortage of 275,000 nurses. By 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services anticipates a shortage of 1 million nurses.

    A significant cause of the problem is a lack of qualified educators to train new nurses. Nearly 2,000 otherwise qualified applicants to Iowa nursing programs were not able to attend in 2008 due to educator shortages.

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    Last edit by brian on May 5, '09
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    About Brian, ADN

    Joined: Mar '98; Posts: 15,418; Likes: 16,382 founder; from US
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  3. by   Gr8Dane
    Lets all travel to Iowa

    PS: Is Iowa in the United States? If so where? lol!
  4. by   mariposabella
    Well one thing Im sick and tired of is the gov't and other institutions blaming the nursing "shortage" on lack of educators. From what I have been reading on numerous nursing forums its working conditions and pay that is the biggest problem.
  5. by   ANnot4me
    Iowa now has gay marriage and should they be able to figure out how to get my Thai partner into the country, I'd work there. I bet I wouldn't last long though as even a fully staffed hospital with no enforceable ratios in unbearable: I can't imagine how awful it would be with managers crying "shortage" AND "recession." I'm also not sure I could deal with the demands of "customers" anymore either.

    I have to say that there is a bit of schadenfreude for me. I have had years of being ignored and told "If you don't like it leave." I left. Now whatya gonna do?

    I think that people really need to learn to care more for their own (and themselves) anyway. Working here in NZ has been an eyeopener in that regard. I almost feel like a pervert for the amount of "total care" I was expected to give relatively able people. Gross!
  6. by   Brian
    would love to hear from actual nurses in Iowa (boots on the groun) to get their perspective of the nursing situation.

    I spoke to a cousin who is a fairly new grad in Iowa a few weeks ago, she said almost all the hospitals have a hiring freeze right now. She luckily got a job in a hospital before the freezes took place.

    Iowa Nurses, speak up
  7. by   AtomicWoman
    "A significant cause of the problem is a lack of qualified educators to train new nurses. Nearly 2,000 otherwise qualified applicants to Iowa nursing programs were not able to attend in 2008 due to educator shortages."

    Hmm. And how many new grad nurses in Iowa have not been able to land jobs?
  8. by   S.N. Visit
    I think a huge problem is that floor nurses are getting paid more than nurse instructors and professors, which isn't that much to begin with. Why get your Master's degree to work for less than $20 something an hour? I have a couple of instructor friends who quit teaching at my local C.C to go back to the hospital because of this very reason.

    p.s My hospital (South Central part of Iowa) is also in a nurse hiring freeze.....
    Last edit by S.N. Visit on May 5, '09
  9. by   lalalalexi
    I just graduated and live in the Des Moines area and can tell you that, just like everywhere else, jobs are scarce for new grads. There are some RN jobs out there, but experience is needed. And I know some Des Moines hospitals are under a hiring freeze. Not a good situation for me. I dont think this article says anything we havent already heard before. I think eventually there will be a shortage due to baby boomers etc but as for right now, it doesn't matter if there is a shortage or not because no one is hiring due to the economy.
  10. by   indigofann
    I agree with mariposabella. It's the working conditions that drive nurses away. Since becoming a nurse in 1987, I have seen five of my colleges obtain their real estate licenses, two go on and obtain their law degree, three become consultants, and others that dropped out of nursing to pursue other avenues outside of the medical field. All of them stated the reason was working conditions; stress, patient overload, frustration at not being able to perform their job to the best of their ability, insurance haggling stating what they can or cannot do or have to outsource, discharging pts home too early, hospital policies and the increasing demand of documentation! When I worked in the hospital it seems that all I could do was keep up with IV's, meds, and paperwork! I still am in nursing but would never recomend it to my daughters.
    Last edit by sirI on May 8, '09 : Reason: quoted edited post
  11. by   JeanettePNP
    I would gladly move back to Iowa but not to work for $19/hour!
  12. by   NeosynephRN
    I am from Iowa...worked there as an RN...moved away to get paid closer to what I am worth. Working nights for 19 an hour is absurd! I nearly doubled my hourly wage by relocating, I mean it is not all about the money but I have to feed my family! Some of my friends that are still in IA tell me that times are tight there too. Few new grad jobs and most experienced nurses are hanging on to what they have and not risking leaving for fear of not finding a new position.

    Iowa pays nurses the 48th worst salary in the nation...hmmm I wonder why we all run!
  13. by   CrazedStudent
    It was in the local news (I live on the border of IL and IA) that one of the hospitals on the Iowa side just let 40 nurses go.

    They want retention and more nurses, yet are laying them off...
  14. by   massrn116
    Nursing took a huge hit when the goal was for nurses to have a lot of initials after their names and make us "professionals" because with "BSN, MSN," etc after our RN we would have more respect. For me to get my BSN and spend thousands I can make $5.00 more a week. Bring back the nursing schools and don't expect instructors to have a lot of initials after their names. Many of us in the field have a lot of hands on knowledge and many years of experience.