Nursing labor pool needs a shot in the arm

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Nursing shortages are nothing new–they’ve been a recurring problem since the mid-1900s.

There was a brief period of balance in the 1980s, but by 2000 the writing was on the wall:

We’re running out of qualified nurses to meet patient demand. 

What’s behind this alarming trend? Underlying causes include:

  • Changes in the Medicare reimbursement system that increased nurses’ workloads
  • New patient care technology that requires a higher skill level and more education to use
  • A perception that nurses are undervalued and overworked, making it an unattractive career path
  • Nursing schools that have not kept up with the needs and interests of today’s students
  • Nurses choosing to pursue other lines of work or retiring as they age out of the workforce
  • Overall population growth (and a big upswing in the percentage of the patient population over age 65)

In 2004, the projected shortage by 2012 was anticipated to be 800,000. Now, as seen in the infographic below, that expected gap has jumped to more than 1 million.

Next: What’s the Solution? →

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2 Responses to Nursing labor pool needs a shot in the arm

  1. lguer47860

    Also now with the removal of LPNs/LVNs that is taking place we will be in a even bigger shortage.

  2. NYGette

    I keep seeing article after article about the nursing shortage, but very little about the horrible working conditions nurses are forced to endure. I have been in nursing for 22 years, mostly employed over the years in acute care, most recently in the hospital. Very rarely do I see addressed is the long shifts, sometimes 12-13 hours without a break. On our feet the whole time. Too many very sick patients to take care of. Unable to give quality care and the feeling of inadequacy that comes along with it. Management that is either indifferent to our complaints or unable because of budgetary constraints to to anything about it. Young nurses coming into the profession are not going to tolerate this type of work environment. Stop torturing nurses, or we are not going to have any left.