Published Feb 13, 2004
New Projections Underscore Need for Recruitment and Retention Efforts
Washington, DC - The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced yesterday that registered nurses top the list of the 10 occupations with the largest projected job growth in the years 2002-2012. Although RNs have listed among the top 10 growth occupations in the past, this is the first time in recent history that RNs have ranked first. These 10-year projections are widely used in career guidance, in planning education and training programs and in studying long-range employment trends.
"Given the aging of the U.S. population and the increased demand for nursing care, it's not surprising that the growth in RN jobs is skyrocketing," said Barbara A. Blakeney, MS, APRN,BC, ANP, President of the American Nurses Association. "Plus, many of those nurses currently working will be retiring and will need to be replaced in the workforce," she added.
According to the BLS report, there will be more than 2.9 million RNs employed in the year 2012, up 623,000 from the nearly 2.3 million RNs employed in 2002. However, the total job openings, which include both job growth and the net replacement of nurses will be more than 1.1 million.
"These new projections underscore the need to increase our recruitment and retention efforts at the local, state and federal levels," Blakeney said. "If sustained efforts are not made to address the nursing shortage now, both access to and quality of care will be impacted."
After years of steady decline between 1995 and 2000, enrollments in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs have risen the last three years, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. However, more than 11,000 qualified applicants had to be turned away because of insufficient numbers of faculty, classrooms and clinical sites.
Earlier this month, ANA applauded President Bush's fiscal year 2005 budget proposal for providing $147 million for nursing workforce development programs including the Nurse Reinvestment Act. That figure represents an increase of more than $5 million over the 2004 funding level and includes $32 million for student loan repayments and scholarships, $21 million for nursing diversity programs and $8 million for geriatric nurse education and nurse faculty loan-repayment programs.
However, ANA and other nursing organizations are requesting a total of $205 million for the nursing workforce development programs of Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act. "A modest investment in nurse education and retention programs now will yield significant results in the in the years ahead," Blakeney said.
If I understand this right, 1.1 million openings for nurses by the year 2012. With an importation of 700,000 of foreign nurses through the H-1B and the coming to a neighborhood near you FTAA programs, that should leave just over 300,000 jobs for AMERICAN nurses. With all the loan grants and no-interest loans given to new nursing students, we should have a nurse surplus by what - 2008 or 2009? And since the new immigrant nurses will be willing to work for 60% or 70% of what American nurses can afford to work for, and a surplus of nurses, I wonder what will happen to the wage of the American nurse?
NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN
IfAnd since the new immigrant nurses will be willing to work for 60% or 70% of what American nurses can afford to work for
It is against federal/most state employment law to pay immigrant nursing staff a lower wage than their American counterparts and reportable to EEOC.
Well if hospitals can hire enough foreign nurses, then they can lower the wage for everyone. And when American nurses quit, just hire more foreign nurses and new grads. There is no law which stipulates a set wage for nurses, hospitals are free to pay whatever they want, as long as the rules apply to everyone.
Once there is a surplus, then it's a free for all.
It cannot happen like that at facilities where nurses are unionized. The hospital cannot lower the wage for anyone. They are NOT "free to pay whatever they want". The unionized hospital cant decide on its own the salaries or anything else that affects the nurses. The NURSES & their union set the salary and negotiate it with the hospital. So, whether American nurses quit or not, whether there are more foreign nurses and new grads and whether they might be willing to work for lower wages doesnt matter. They cant work for less even if they wanted to. The unionized hospital still has to pay them the contractual union wages - even if there is not one American-born nurse left in the place anymore.
Most hospitals are not unionized. Only about 12% of all nurses are unionized, so in reality, this affects very few nurses. And unionized hospitals do get around it. One hosp. in DC, which is unionized, only gives foreign nurses half credit for their years worked. So if a foreign nurse arrives with 10 years experience, she is considered as a nurse with 5 years or less. I read about this one hospital, but others apparently do the same thing. Highly experienced nurses are not paid in the same range as their American counterparts, and it is quite legal. And what's to stop a unionized hospital from freezing its salary in place? Once the contract expires, management will be in the "buyer's seat" so to speak, if they've got a stable of foreign nurses biting at the bit to come and work. If all the nurses go out on strike, who's going to stop them from firing the striking nurses and hiring foreign nurses in their place? It's been done before, it was done with the Air Traffic Controllers when they went out on strike.
Having a union helps, but it is not a safeguard against the abuse which can happen if the immigration floodgates are opened, as many are pushing for, and an unlimited number of foreign nurses are allowed to emigrate.
FWIW, the nursing shortage is worldwide so some countries that were sources of foreign nurses for the U.S. are not so eager to relinquish their workforce.
And, point me to those grants and no-interest loans you mention!:balloons:
I guess my question is where is the 700,000 figure of foreign trained nurses coming from, is this a well known number? And I have been wondering, how much does it cost a hospital to sponsor someone to come work here and isn't there a substantial waiting period?
#1 The unionized hospital cant just freeze salaries. It would have to prove its financial situation to the nurses, make a case for why it is suggesting freezing salaries, and ask the nurses for permission to do so. If the nurses say no, the hospital cant do it.
#2 Once the contract is expired, NOTHING CHANGES. Management is not suddenly in a new driver's seat. The old contract remains in full effect & continues uninterrupted after its expiration date -- until a new one is negotiated, voted on, and approved by the nurses -- however long that may take.
#3 The LAW prevents the hospital from firing striking nurses and permanently replacing them. The situation with the air traffic controllers does not apply to nurses whose employer is not the government. The air traffic controllers were fired because their strike was ILLEGAL. Their employer is the government and it is ILLEGAL for those employees to strike. They broke the law and were fired for that. Other than nurses who work in VA hospitals, the same does not apply to us. We have a legal right to strike & NOT be fired for it or replaced permanently.
#4 The negotiated credit for outside experience does not just apply to foreign nurses. It applies to all experienced nurses who are new hires. The amounts differ depending on what nurses at different facilities approved. Adventist and WHC in DC were found to be paying foreign nurses less than it paid American nurses for their experience --- and that was in violation of the union contract. (One recruitment incentive in general is to do away with limits on crediting outside experience and just pay a nurse for all her years in nursing).
#5 No matter if the hospital is unionized or not, it is illegal for employers to pay newly hired foreign nurses anything less than it would be paying a newly hired American nurse for the same position.
Stealing an unlimited number of nurses from overseas to solve the "problem" of American nurses refusing to work in hospitals under current conditions is not going to help anyone.
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