Recession is making nursing shortage worse

  1. When the commencement ceremonies have concluded, the graduation parties are over, and the relatives have left town, many nursing graduates will wake up to an unexpected reality: a tough job market.

    This is surprising because some health experts warn that a nursing shortage, with dire consequences, is upon us. Others say the nursing shortage has been averted, and that the supply of nurses is meeting demand. The truth is both, and neither.

    In fact, the recession has given us a temporary reprieve, due to lower demand for elective health services and lower production of nurses. But that short-term bandage is about to be yanked off, and, unless we act quickly, what lies ahead will be painful for patients and the entire health-care system.

    Long considered a recession-resistant, if not recession-proof, profession, nursing has become a competitive field in some areas of the country. Some hospitals are laying off workers or closing their doors, which eliminates nursing jobs. At the same time, more older nurses are postponing or even coming out of retirement because their savings have all but vanished or their spouses have lost their jobs. As a result, we are seeing a temporary increase in the ranks of nurses and a decline in nursing vacancies, which is making it harder for some unemployed nurses to find jobs.

    From the Opinion section of philly.com

    Full Story: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opini...age_worse.html

    What do you think?
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    About Brian, ADN

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    allnurses.com founder; from US
    Specialty: CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele

    76 Comments

  3. by   VickyRN
    This situation is only temporary. Once this recession lets up, the nursing shortage is going to be more ferocious than ever. The demographic shift is about to occur - like a tsunami, it is coming.

    We have an aging Baby Boomer cohort, 76 million strong (the "pig in the python" demographic group), plus an aging nursing workforce (average age of staff nurse ~ 45). All those older nurses cannot keep working indefinitely. Once the economic situation brightens, many nurses will retire for good, leaving enormous gaps in coverage. At the same time, demand for nursing care will skyrocket from the aging Boomers.
  4. by   mochabean
    I hope this recession ends real soon!
  5. by   Lovelymo79
    Me too! Even though I start school next month..I've been trying to get a unit rep position..and they even have hiring freezes on the support positions at hospitals!

    I hope by the end of the year..things have turned around..for every industry!
  6. by   melisgood
    I'm definitely feeling the effects of the current economic situation. I graduated a couple weeks ago and will be taking the NCLEX in a few weeks and don't have anything lined up. I've applied at about 25 hospitals and have another 5 or so to apply to after receiving my license. I graduated in a class of 33 and only 3 people have jobs. One of those people, a good friend of mine, just got a phone call to let her know that she is not starting her new job in October anymore. The earliest they can start her is February 2010, if not later. I'm just hoping to land a nursing job within a year...if not, I'm trying to decide what to do. I quit my job two years ago when I started the nursing program. My husband and I have even talked about starting a family. It's really depressing to have worked so hard and now not be able to go out there and use the skills I've learned.
  7. by   lovethepeople
    yes, the baby boomers aging and showing up with more chronic conditions will surely make more of a nursing shortage...

    my hope (and it seems like a long shot) is that single-payer health care is implemented, which will mean we need more of all health care personnel. and hopefully if that happens, the government will see the value in putting more money into nursing education to attract faculty and expand programs. we need a major overhaul of the health care and education systems concurrently to address so many of our social needs!
  8. by   traumaRUs
    Due to lower reimbursement rates, hospitals in my area have frozen hiring of everyone including nurses and APNs. This lower reimbursement isn't going to go away. I think we need to consider that our medical system will be overhauled whether we like it or not.

    In the one payor systems though, there is no incentive to pay more since everyone works essentially for the same employer. You will see wages decrease.
  9. by   Nora777
    Two large hospitals just announced lay-offs...

    http://www.connpost.com/ci_12513354?...w.connpost.com

    Is it only the beginning?
  10. by   VanLpn
    Quote from traumarus
    in the one payor systems though, there is no incentive to pay more since everyone works essentially for the same employer. you will see wages decrease.
    why do so many people assume that with a single payer system wages go down? this isn't generally the case in canada. in my area, a brand new bsn grad starts out making $29.02 an hour. this is higher than many areas in the u.s. you also get a raise every year. if you acquire more education it puts you in a different pay bracket. my wife talked to a cardiac nurse yesterday who has 10 years experience and makes $47 an hour plus shift differentials. this is much higher than many places in the u.s. also the recession has not really impacted nurses here. we don't have to worry about patients not having money to pay for their surgeries because of layoffs, no money etc. my wife finishes her preceptorship this summer and already has several job offers. i realize that there are pros and cons to both systems, i just wanted to point out that single payer systems do not necessarily mean lower wages for nurses.
  11. by   Lovelymo79
    Quote from Nora777
    Two large hospitals just announced lay-offs...

    http://www.connpost.com/ci_12513354?...w.connpost.com

    Is it only the beginning?
    Atleast it hasn't CLOSED like 9 hospitals in Jersey..and not even counting the ones going bankrupt..
  12. by   oramar
    Quote from VickyRN
    This situation is only temporary. Once this recession lets up, the nursing shortage is going to be more ferocious than ever. The demographic shift is about to occur - like a tsunami, it is coming.

    We have an aging Baby Boomer cohort, 76 million strong (the "pig in the python" demographic group), plus an aging nursing workforce (average age of staff nurse ~ 45). All those older nurses cannot keep working indefinitely. Once the economic situation brightens, many nurses will retire for good, leaving enormous gaps in coverage. At the same time, demand for nursing care will skyrocket from the aging Boomers.
    The shortage might come roaring back as soon this fall when the pandemic hits. I feel sorry for the people in the front lines because the US healthcare system can not handle a modest increase in demand let along a big one. The people that are going to feel the wrath of the public first will be bedside, especially EMS and ER. They will be in no way responsible for sever shortage of services but they will feel the rage. The only good thing about it will be that people will finally realize healthcare should be about care not profit.
  13. by   DemeLVN2009
    America is no longer the land of opportunity right now. Especially, for nurses.
  14. by   misplaced1
    What is this pandemic you keep talking about? My background is in biology research and I have not heard about this and don't understand why there would be a pandemic unless you are talking about bird flu or something becoming airbourn

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