An alarming trend is taking shape across America. A shortage of nurses is happening for the first time in decades. Due to an aging population, the rising incidence of chronic disease, and an aging workforce of existing nurses has led to a shortage in qualified nurses in the medical field. While this is some cause for concern among hospital administrators and other industry leaders, it means a great deal of opportunity awaits today’s nursing student. With a larger job market ready to accept qualified candidates, the prospects for nursing school grads are better than ever!
Nearly 3 million nurses exist in the healthcare field with nursing making up one of the fastest growing occupations in the country. In spite of growth, demand is going up exponentially. Millions of vacancies will emerge for nurses between 2017 and 2022. By 2025, the shortfall is expected to be more than twice as large as any nurse shortage experienced since Medicare and Medicaid was introduced in the mid-1960s.
There are many reasons why the nursing profession and industry for healthcare professionals is growing rapidly. Some of the reasons include:
- Looming Baby Boomer crisis of people over age 65 needing medical support
- Healthcare demand for chronic conditions
- Aging population and chronic disease are creating a perfect storm
- Country’s nurses are aging rapidly and retiring
Filling vacancies for retiring nurses is not as simple as training more nurses. Potential qualified nurses are being turned away due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, and graduate programs amidst budget constraints. Nursing faculty members are also facing retirement which makes it challenging to expand cohorts.
The Right Fit
Students who train to become nurses are looking for many things upon graduation. Among them are a good salary, strong cultural fit, flexible hours, and manageable expectations. Working where a nurse can practice in full scope of licensing is most desirable and each state allows for different things depending on guidelines. Nurse practitioners, for example, are more limited in some states and have more freedom in others. Education in rural areas may be limited to associate’s degrees but should not limit prospects to practice. Other strategies to address the nursing shortage have included:
- Public-private partnerships and incentives for nurses to become educators
- Launching a campaign featuring TV commercials, videos, website and brochures to promote benefits of a nursing career
- Fellowships and loan forgiveness offered to nurses who teach after graduation
- Federal grants for nursing schools and organizations to advance educational programs, promote diversity, repay loans and train nurses for seniors
A nursing shortage is one of the greatest assets to training in the field. For prospective nursing students who are considering a degree in nursing, the field is ever growing and ever changing. The dynamic nature of nursing will guarantee a place for qualified nursing graduates now and in the future for a long time to come.
Now is the time to consider a nursing degree. Felbry College is focused on excellence in teaching a diverse student body to enter the workforce with the highest level of education possible with support and resources provided throughout the process. Give us a call to find out how to get started.