As the baby boom generation continues to age, more and more nursing positions are going to open up. This might sound great to a prospective nursing student; however, once the bulk of the population ages out of the labor force and retires, it will cause a severe shortage in many different nursing departments. Here are some things you need to know about this coming labor shortage.
It Extends to Universities as Well
When considering the nursing shortage, one of the first things that comes to mind is its effect on hospitals. However, universities that rely on nursing educators will also be affected. Part of the reason for this is simply that it takes a long time for an individual to become qualified as an instructor of new nurses. The position requires not only significant experience but also a master’s degree at the very least. Sometimes a doctorate is sought. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that many nursing educators are baby boomers themselves. Moreover, as these baby boomers age, their departure will be placing even more of a demand on the healthcare industry. Considering this, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) is projecting a 16 percent increase in openings for registered nurses by 2024.
Nurses Are Hard to Replace
There are a lot of hoops to jump through in order to become a registered nurse, and it’s hard to replace years of training. Moreover, this doesn’t even include the additional education necessary for specialties. For example, ambulance nurses require very specific characteristics and qualifications. These include training for trauma emergencies, a full understanding of pediatric issues and experience with a number of different geriatric problems.
Current Nurses Are Stretched Thin
In decades past, the solution to the nursing shortage was to simply increase the hours of those who were already on the nursing staff. According to Duquesne University School of Nursing, the 12-hour shift, a response to the 1970s’ nursing shortage, leaves many nurses only getting about five hours of sleep a night during their “on” days. Not only does this lead to the potential of more errors, but the overexertion also provokes severe burn-out that causes some to leave the profession for other careers.
Clearly, competent and qualified nurses are badly needed. They provide a valuable public service and give people the medical care they require. Considering that people are living longer, there is a critical demand for more individuals to become nurses and help our aging population.
If you are looking to go back to work, check out this article about four professions that desperately need you!