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Tide of new nurses rises but shortages still loom large

Posted

Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele. Has 27 years experience.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The number of registered nurses entering the job market appears to be on a steady incline, with a total employment growth of over 200,000 R.N.'s since 2001, the largest increase since the early 1980's, but experts at the School of Nursing say it's still not enough to prevent a long-term crisis that threatens to cripple the entire health care system.

The new numbers come from Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., Valere Potter Professor of Nursing; senior associate dean for Research at the School of Nursing, in an article appearing in the Nov. 17 health policy journal Health Affairs. "While R.N.'s over age 50 have provided much of the expansion of hospital employment since 2001, it is striking that in 2003, employment of younger RNs grew by nearly 90,000, reaching the highest level observed for younger R.N.'s since 1987," said Buerhaus. "This entry of younger RNs into the workforce is consistent with reports of substantial gains in enrollments at nursing schools since 2001, and may represent the first wave of two-year program graduates."

The number of men entering workforce has also been growing at a steady rate over the past two decades, increasing from 5 percent in 1983 with about 60,000 R.N.'s in the workforce, to nearly 9 percent, or 160,000 in 2003. "Both of these groups are probably responding to higher wages and opportunities in nursing driven by publicity about the nursing shortage, and many have just graduated from associate degree nursing education programs," said Buerhaus. The research shows older women and foreign-born women are still a factor and account for a large share of the growth.

But Buerhaus said the most surprising findings from his research show that even with the significant increase in nurses joining the workforce, the nursing shortage is far from over. Buerhaus said it is unlikely that the recent increase in younger nurses will provide enough new nurses to solve the projected long-run shortage. "The workforce is projected to peak at a size of 2.3 million in 2012 and shrink to 2.2 million by 2020 - a modest increase of roughly 60,000 R.N.'s over forecasts without the new data. This total pales in comparison to the Health and Resource Service Administration's latest forecast of 2.8 million full-time R.N.'s that will be needed in 2020. Thus a very, very large shortage still looms on the horizon, a shortage so large that it could easily cripple the entire health care system, not just hospitals," he warned. Buerhaus said the growth in the number of nurses on the job can be attributed, in part, to second consecutive year of wage increases, relatively high national unemployment, and continued initiatives aimed at increasing interest in the nursing profession. Corporations and other groups have also aided the effort to attract more nurses to the profession and provided scholarships to nursing students. Johnson & Johnson launched the multi-million dollar "Campaign for Nursing's Future." The campaign focused on the image of nurses, educating the public on the opportunities offered by a career in nursing, improving retention of nurses in clinical positions, raising funds for scholarships and grants, and addressing capacity problems confronted by nursing education programs.

Full story: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-11/vumc-ton111504.php

Yes, many nurses over 50 have come back into the field to help out. That is great for as far as it goes but healthcare will not be able to tap into this large pool of nurses again because we are rapidly approaching permanent retirement age. I include myself in this group and I am back working now for year and a half. The next time I leave it will be for good.

Yes, many nurses over 50 have come back into the field to help out. That is great for as far as it goes but healthcare will not be able to tap into this large pool of nurses again because we are rapidly approaching permanent retirement age. I include myself in this group and I am back working now for year and a half. The next time I leave it will be for good.

That is true but another thing I don't think they are considering.......with the burn out rate so high I wonder how many of these young nurses will stay in the field. I know if I was younger I'd be looking for other avenues :)

That is true but another thing I don't think they are considering.......with the burn out rate so high I wonder how many of these young nurses will stay in the field. I know if I was younger I'd be looking for other avenues :)

Something else I haven't heard anyone mention, though I am seeing it a lot. I would say that many many of the newer nurses coming out of school these days are already planning to become nurse practitioners, in various fields. I'm not being critical of that, but there will remain a big shortage of BEDSIDE CARE GIVERS.

Something else I haven't heard anyone mention, though I am seeing it a lot. I would say that many many of the newer nurses coming out of school these days are already planning to become nurse practitioners, in various fields. I'm not being critical of that, but there will remain a big shortage of BEDSIDE CARE GIVERS.

Yes I've seen that too. These young nurses coming out are very bright and ambitious. All the power to them but I agree something to look at.

live4today, RN

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

I've also heard new nurses say that once they get their first year in nursing, they are going back to grad school to become NPs, or anything in nursing that does NOT involve DIRECT patient care. Can we blame them?:uhoh3: I know if I were just graduating, I would be making the very same goals myself. I've also spoken to new grads who want to do travel nursing after their first year is up. Many new grads choose ICU, ER, OR, Mother/Baby Units to work on. They have heard the nightmare stories about what it is like to work on Med/Surg Units, and prefer to avoid them at all cost. Some do...some don't...but I can't blame them for the way they think about Med/Surg because I've about had it with Med/Surg myself. :rolleyes: NO respect for the staff! NOT enough Staff to staff the units! :stone

I find it intersting that the travel nursing recruiters are now reflecting a great need for med/surg nurses. the hospital that I work in is at critical staffing levels. In fact I am not sure how they will fill the needs for December's Med/Surg. Many people do not like to work in direct care any more. I work ER now and also work ICU,Med-surg. I am going to phase out of Med/surg permanently. It is too much to have to be the only nurse for 12-14 people at a time with no help.

. It is too much to have to be the only nurse for 12-14 people at a time with no help.

12-14 people is crazy. I've never heard of such a ratio, and I'm hoping that was a hyperbole. Still a nursing student here, but I also work as an intern in CCU and so far I like it. The posts on here about some future RNs bypassing bedside care is true. We're almost at the end of the RN program, and just about everyone in my class say they plan to do bedside care only for a year or so before going on to grad school or into some higher specialty care area of nursing.

The hospitals have only themselves to blame for the problem they're having with retaining nurses. Those of of us who are soon to be new RN arrivals on the scene are aware of the low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of respect that many hospital staff nurses receive, and these are major reasons why many of us don't plan on making a career out of bedside nursing.

12-14 people is crazy. I've never heard of such a ratio, and I'm hoping that was a hyperbole. Still a nursing student here, but I also work as an intern in CCU and so far I like it. The posts on here about some future RNs bypassing bedside care is true. We're almost at the end of the RN program, and just about everyone in my class say they plan to do bedside care only for a year or so before going on to grad school or into some higher specialty care area of nursing.

The hospitals have only themselves to blame for the problem they're having with retaining nurses. Those of of us who are soon to be new RN arrivals on the scene are aware of the low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of respect that many hospital staff nurses receive, and these are major reasons why many of us don't plan on making a career out of bedside nursing.

this is not uncommon in many rural areas throughout the United States.

how is to work in haemodialysis unit?i have 5 years of experience,how much salary should i expect per hour.pls advice any one

asha

That is true but another thing I don't think they are considering.......with the burn out rate so high I wonder how many of these young nurses will stay in the field. I know if I was younger I'd be looking for other avenues :)

I agree! I don't plan on being a full-time nurse for more than 4 years and I haven't even graduated yet!

I've also heard new nurses say that once they get their first year in nursing, they are going back to grad school to become NPs, or anything in nursing that does NOT involve DIRECT patient care. Can we blame them?:uhoh3: I know if I were just graduating, I would be making the very same goals myself. I've also spoken to new grads who want to do travel nursing after their first year is up. Many new grads choose ICU, ER, OR, Mother/Baby Units to work on. They have heard the nightmare stories about what it is like to work on Med/Surg Units, and prefer to avoid them at all cost. Some do...some don't...but I can't blame them for the way they think about Med/Surg because I've about had it with Med/Surg myself. :rolleyes: NO respect for the staff! NOT enough Staff to staff the units! :stone

It's funny 'cause where I am there are very few openings for ICU, OR, ER, and L&D. It's kind of a shock to nursing students to find that not every dept. is in a shortage crisis. Actually, the only nursing shortage up here (Northern NewEngland) is the night shift on Med/Surg...which isn't an attractive option to most new nurses (at least the ones I've talked to).

angel337, MSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Room.

it's true, most younger nurses do not plan on making bedside nursing a long term career. in fact the media says that the generation X crowd are not as committed to working the way our parents (baby boomers) were and that we jump around from job to job to often. most of my friends that are nurses were already in grad school after one year nursing experience. i personally plan to return back to school for my masters in about two years once i have more experience. i like being a nurse and bedside care doesn't bother me, but i always feel like i need to increase my knowledge base. i know some things only come with experience, but i figure by the time i turn 50, i will NOT want to run around the ED the way i do now. the goal for most people is to work smarter, not harder and of course the more education you have the better your chances are of landing a job that pays well with less physical demands unlike bedside nursing. i think nursing is a great career but in order for people to consider it as a possible long term career, conditions must change and the image of nursing must become more positive.

The problem we have in the UK is that the universities are pushing more nursing students throught the qualification who really aren't competent and so it comes down to a case of quantity not quality. These nurses then either end up with no job because the wards they have been placed on during training do not want them or end up loosing their registration due to incompetent performance. It really just comes down to a numbers game with our government, they want to show the public that they have delt with the nursing crisis by training more nurses and having more nurses get through the training. What they 'forget' to tell everybody is that they havn't created any more jobs and they are not providing good quality staff for the jobs that are out there.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The number of registered nurses entering the job market appears to be on a steady incline, with a total employment growth of over 200,000 R.N.'s since 2001, the largest increase since the early 1980's, but experts at the School of Nursing say it's still not enough to prevent a long-term crisis that threatens to cripple the entire health care system.

The new numbers come from Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., Valere Potter Professor of Nursing; senior associate dean for Research at the School of Nursing, in an article appearing in the Nov. 17 health policy journal Health Affairs. "While R.N.'s over age 50 have provided much of the expansion of hospital employment since 2001, it is striking that in 2003, employment of younger RNs grew by nearly 90,000, reaching the highest level observed for younger R.N.'s since 1987," said Buerhaus. "This entry of younger RNs into the workforce is consistent with reports of substantial gains in enrollments at nursing schools since 2001, and may represent the first wave of two-year program graduates."

The number of men entering workforce has also been growing at a steady rate over the past two decades, increasing from 5 percent in 1983 with about 60,000 R.N.'s in the workforce, to nearly 9 percent, or 160,000 in 2003. "Both of these groups are probably responding to higher wages and opportunities in nursing driven by publicity about the nursing shortage, and many have just graduated from associate degree nursing education programs," said Buerhaus. The research shows older women and foreign-born women are still a factor and account for a large share of the growth.

But Buerhaus said the most surprising findings from his research show that even with the significant increase in nurses joining the workforce, the nursing shortage is far from over. Buerhaus said it is unlikely that the recent increase in younger nurses will provide enough new nurses to solve the projected long-run shortage. "The workforce is projected to peak at a size of 2.3 million in 2012 and shrink to 2.2 million by 2020 - a modest increase of roughly 60,000 R.N.'s over forecasts without the new data. This total pales in comparison to the Health and Resource Service Administration's latest forecast of 2.8 million full-time R.N.'s that will be needed in 2020. Thus a very, very large shortage still looms on the horizon, a shortage so large that it could easily cripple the entire health care system, not just hospitals," he warned. Buerhaus said the growth in the number of nurses on the job can be attributed, in part, to second consecutive year of wage increases, relatively high national unemployment, and continued initiatives aimed at increasing interest in the nursing profession. Corporations and other groups have also aided the effort to attract more nurses to the profession and provided scholarships to nursing students. Johnson & Johnson launched the multi-million dollar "Campaign for Nursing's Future." The campaign focused on the image of nurses, educating the public on the opportunities offered by a career in nursing, improving retention of nurses in clinical positions, raising funds for scholarships and grants, and addressing capacity problems confronted by nursing education programs.

Full story: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-11/vumc-ton111504.php

11:11

Specializes in SICU-MICU,Radiology,ER.

I dont blame anyone for not wanting to be on the floor for more than a couple of years. If I was in my early twenties I would put in maybe four or five, then go to CRNA school most likely.

Hell I still might do it. There are four or five schools in my area and fellow staff have been asking me for a year if thats my plan. Most of the men on my unit have.

My prob is I am an ADN and I dont relish another five years of school. For that matter I might rather put the energy into business classes etc and get out of nursing all together.

Personally I love my job accept the poor wages and yes I do mean poor wages. I made more money as a tradesmen with no highschool diploma than I do as a well trained ICU nurse. And I didnt work weekends or holidays either for the most part.

But I would never steer anyone this direction. Help them once they started yes but not encourage.

BTW Ive heard much more ominous data regarding the nursing shortage looming within the next ten years. I would speculate that the articles author was being optimistic if not decietful.

11:11

Specializes in SICU-MICU,Radiology,ER.

first...

according to a study by dr. peter buerhaus and colleagues published in the journal of the american medical association on june 14, 2000, the u.s. will experience a 20% shortage in the number of nurses needed in our nation's health care system by the year 2020. this translates into a shortage of more than 400,000 rns nationwide. http://jama.ama-assn.org

and then...

according to the latest projections from the u.s. bureau of labor statistics published in the february 2004 monthly labor review, more than one million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2012. for the first time, the u.s. department of labor has identified registered nursing as the top occupation in terms of job growth through the year 2012. www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.toc.htm

but wait theres more..

according to a study published by dr. linda aiken and colleagues in the may/june 2001 issue of health affairs, more than 40% of nurses working in hospitals reported being dissatisfied with their jobs. the study indicates that 1 out of every 3 hospital nurses under the age of 30 are planning to leave their current job in the next year. www.healthaffairs.org

and..

according to a study commissioned by the federation of nurses and health professionals in april 2001, the nurse shortage: perspectives from current direct care nurses and former direct care nurses, currently 1 out of every 5 nurses currently working is considering leaving the patient care field for reasons other than retirement within the next five years. www.aft.org/fnhp/publications/index.html

i dont think any irony is lost on the fact that as a lowly enilsted man i will make more money in iraq than i do now on the floor-

11

I desperately want to become a nurse; a bedside nurse. This has been the focus of my life for a few years now, and it is so frustrating to see the shortage data, because I have been on a waitlist for school for a year now! If we want to begin to decrease the shortage, there needs to be a push to compensate nursing teachers. In Manhattan, I've been told that there are an average of 100 students who have to be turned away each year. In Manhattan, Kansas! It's okay though, I'll get there someday!

I desperately want to become a nurse; a bedside nurse. This has been the focus of my life for a few years now, and it is so frustrating to see the shortage data, because I have been on a waitlist for school for a year now! If we want to begin to decrease the shortage, there needs to be a push to compensate nursing teachers. In Manhattan, I've been told that there are an average of 100 students who have to be turned away each year. In Manhattan, Kansas! It's okay though, I'll get there someday!

Yep you'll get there. How long have you been on the waiting list? I remember when I was going to school some places had a 5 year waiting list. Two years later there was no waiting list.

Have you thought about BSN programs? Another thing that will help a lot while you are waiting is to work as a nurse tech in a hospital or nursing home. That has been invalueable to me and everyone else I talked to.

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