Due to factors like employee burnout, an increase in the aging population, and a scarcity of nursing professionals, states throughout the nation are facing a major issue: a nursing shortage.
While the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset in 2020 highlighted this shortage, a growing gap between supply and demand for registered nurses was brewing well before. Federal data collected by the US Department of Health and Human Services predicted a severe nursing shortage by 2030, and this was before COVID-19 came along. Once the global health crisis struck, even the healthcare sector faced sudden job losses. It saw the gap between the number of nurses needed and the number of registered nurses available grow further apart.
Factors Contributing to Nursing Shortage
Several combined factors contribute to the ongoing nursing shortage. As the baby boomer generation ages, the population of people with a greater need for healthcare services increases. Additionally, many nurses from the baby boomer generation have retired. The number of nurses above 65 years old is at the highest it has been since 2011. The next few years will see plenty more aging professionals retire.
To make matters worse, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) noted a 9.6% year-over-year decline in students enrolling in nursing programs. This drop marked the third consecutive year of dropping enrollment levels throughout the country.
Due to factors like the shortage of instructors, the number of qualified applications being accepted in nursing schools nationwide has also dropped. In 2021, almost 92,000 qualified applications were rejected, with most rejections being for entry-level nursing education programs. Budget cuts, inadequate clinical placement sites, and a lack of educators have furthered the shortage.
Nursing Shortage in the US: Final Thoughts
As big of a problem as the nationwide nursing shortage is, it also offers an opportunity for younger nurses to progress and advance their careers. Nursing is a highly regarded professional field where individuals positively impact their communities while enjoying a great career with exceptional pay. Being the backbone of the healthcare system, nurses are critical in several areas, needed in clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, school nurses, and much more.
Several states are working diligently to address the depleting number of registered nurses by encouraging more of the younger generation to pursue a career in this sector. For instance, the nursing schools in Minnesota created a coalition toward the end of 2022 to attract more students and expand the number of registered nurses. The move came as a result of a strike held by nurses in the state because of understaffing in hospitals. The University of Hawaii aims to double the number of nursing students it accepts by addressing its shortage of instructors.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for registered nurses will grow by roughly 6% in the next ten years. To keep the shortage at bay, existing nurses must continue taking nursing continuing education courses to have their license renewed. Between the tough nature of the job and being overworked due to the shortage, it can get challenging to find convenient nursing continuing education courses you can complete. Fortunately, online nursing CEUs like the ones offered by Fast CE For Less at https://fastceforless.com/ce-courses-for-nursing/ are here to address the problem by offering a quick, easy, and affordable solution.