in thelast 2 years my unit has been on a hiring binge. we have between 2 to 4 new nursesto be oriented to the icu every 3 months. it is taking a huge toll on the experiencednurses having to continually precept. at the moment we have core experiencedgroups that are mostly in their late 40's to mid-50's, some of which willretire from nursing if the economy improves. we have a few in their 30's, allof which are going back to school, so they can get out of bedside nursing. thenwe have the expanding group of 20 year olds. unfortunately when i talk withthem, not one of them thinks that they will still be an icu nurse in 5 years’time. they all have plans to go to np school or crna school, most have alreadystarted that journey.
so yes, if the economy improves there will be a shortage of nurses will to workunder current conditions. however, the difference in the shortage of the futurecompared with the past will be in experienced nurses (those with more than afew years of bedside experience). the schools will still turn out massiveamounts of new nurses to fill the warm body slots.