What You Need to Know About the Nursing Shortage
Because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing is one of the most in-demand professions in the United States. Hailed as America’s heroes, nurses have always worked tirelessly to ensure the health and well-being of patients nationwide. And while this profession is a rewarding one, many nurses have become burnt out, overworked, and exhausted due to not only an influx of patients, but also because of the growing nursing shortage in the United States.
In this post, we’ll examine the statistics regarding the shortage, providing information on how healthcare professionals can best navigate it, and reveal some opportunities it has created.
Supply and Demand
Nursing shortages are nothing new. In fact, the United States has been dealing with them from time to time since the early 1900s. However, this current shortage (announced in 2012) is the largest nursing scarcity the U.S has ever experienced. In order to resolve the shortage, there will have to be 1.2 million new nurses by 2030. That same year, states like California are projected to have a 44,500 person difference between supply and demand.
This is mainly due to the fact that the United States has the largest population of 65+ people in history. In less than 10 years, this demographic is expected to reach 73 million people. And with more seniors that are in need of age-related health services, the demand for nursing professionals will be even higher than before.
Adapting to Change
Of course, the healthcare industry doesn’t have the option to shut down. So many nurse executives have been adapting to the changes within the workplace and offer solutions to keep experienced nurses and professionals to stay. This includes improving pay, gifting benefits packages, creating flexible schedules, and offering rewards to senior nursing staff for mentoring and training new nurses. Without the work of skilled senior nursing staff, the pipeline of new nurses would be severely interrupted–causing even more of a strain on the industry.
There have also been changes within nursing schools in order to accommodate this shortage. For example, flexible schooling options (such as online education) have become extremely important for recruiting students and nurses. Along with this, more and more nurses are being encouraged to pursue graduate school, which will result in a higher percentage of highly skilled nurses that can better tend to the needs of patients.
While the nursing shortage has been causing a strain on the healthcare industry, there’s a silver lining: opportunities. With the high demand for nurses, there are opportunities (and space) for new nurses to join the force. Nursing school is one of the best career paths to take when it comes to pursuing a future. In fact, according to the US News & World Report’s list of the 100 Best Jobs in America for 2021, nurse practitioners are ranked at the third-best career path. Furthermore, 13 of the top 20 Best Jobs are within the healthcare industry.
One of the biggest perks of being a nurse (aside from helping others, of course) is the fact that nursing is considered “recession-proof.” Meaning: long-term job security. While the tides of the healthcare industry continue to push and pull, there will always be a demand for nurses and, in turn, career opportunities.
This scarcity within the profession, while complex and intimidating, allows for more people to join a much-needed workforce. As the current nursing shortage is brought to the forefront, we should all develop a better understanding of the situation in order to help improve it.