Nursing Jobs Are Becoming Harder to Fill
Nursing Jobs Are Becoming Harder to Fill
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for nurses is expected to grow by 19 percent over the next decade. That’s one of the fastest growing industries in the country! There are several reasons for the growth, such as an increase in need for healthcare services as the population ages and a growing trend to dismiss patients from hospitals sooner, increasing a need for home care nursing staff. However, many employers are finding it difficult to fill open positions with qualified applicants. This could mean disaster for the healthcare industry in the very near future as positions remain unfilled and patients do not receive quality care.
Qualified Nurse Shortage
In 2012, a report published in the American Journal of Medical Quality, a shortage in nurses is projected to grow with the most intense shortages in the South and West. In addition, a report in Wanted Analytics found that advertisements for nursing positions were up 46 percent in June 2011 from May 2010 and that the current nursing workforce includes only 55 percent of registered nurses with bachelor or graduate degrees. For those interested in a nursing career, these statistics indicate that there is a high probability that they will find employment after graduation.
Nursing School Enrollment Not Enough
One explanation for the shortage in qualified nurses is that nursing school enrollments are not growing at a pace to provide the qualified job candidates necessary to fill the increasing need for the jobs that are already open, let alone those that will be created over the next few years. In 2013, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported less than a three percent increase in entry-level undergraduate nursing programs.
Lack of Nursing Faculty
Another problem facing the nursing profession in the near future is that nursing schools turned away almost 80,000 applicants in 2012 due to a lack of qualified faculty, clinic locations, classroom space and other issues. In fact, a report by the Southern Regional Board of Education, there was a 12 percent shortfall in the number of nursing faculty necessary, and that this shortage is expected to grow as faculty retire, resign or return to nursing rather than remaining in the classroom.
Addressing the Shortage
One way that nursing schools are addressing the shortage is by creating partnerships and seeking private support to expand the capacity for students. In June 2013, the University of Minnesota announced that they would partner with the Minnesota VA Health Care System, which not only provide better care to veterans, but also allowed the university to expand clinical sites, fund faculty and provide students with more professional engagement. In addition, the Association of Colleges of Nursing announced that they would expand a program that provides a centralized location for nursing students to identify vacancies in nursing programs throughout the country. In 2013, vacancies were identified in bachelor and graduate level nursing programs, allowing 16,000 nursing hopefuls to enter programs. For those seeking a position in nursing school, this program could increase the number of students enrolling and help reduce the nursing shortfall.
Another area that may be leading to the shortage of qualified nursing applicants is job dissatisfaction. Recent studies have found that nurses are more satisfied with their positions when they are provided a work-life balance and more entrepreneurial opportunities. This indicates that employers who nurture advancement and autonomy may find less turnover in the nursing staff and be better able to recruit highly-qualified nursing staff to positions as they become available. The nursing shortage may actually be contributing to job dissatisfaction as when facilities are short-handed, nurses often must work long hours, making them less likely to remain in their position. by addressing the shortage, it is possible more nurses will remain in their positions.
Reports today indicate that a significant number of nurses plan to retire early or leave their current position for another that is less stressful, while many students who enroll in nursing school do not complete their studies. By being proactive, however, employers and nursing schools can reduce the number of nurses lost to other professions. It could mean educational programs that are more supportive of the work-home balance to encourage students to remain in school. .
There is no question that those entering the workforce today could find job security in the nursing field as the profession is expected to grow faster than most other industries in the country. The fact that the nursing shortage is at such a critical state means that those who do succeed in nursing school are highly likely to find employment. By improving the education possibilities for those who want to enter the nursing field, there is every possibility the nursing shortage could be addressed within the next few years.
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