Nursing Shortage: Demand Continues to Grow

May 6, 2014
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Most advertised nurse jobs 2014With National Nurses Week beginning today, Wanted Analytics took a fresh look at the hiring demand for nurses and found, to the surprise of no one who recruits and hires these professionals, that the number of advertised positions continues to rise.

The recession the nation is still climbing out of dampened demand at the end of the last decade, but since, hiring has come roaring back. Wanted’s report says the number of nursing jobs advertised online in the last 90 days was 18% higher than a year ago. Registered nurse was the most in-demand position, accounting for 63% of the posted jobs.

How many jobs does that represent? Wanted, which aggregates and analyzes help wanted postings from thousands of sites — corporate, agency and job boards — reports there were 850,000 different nursing jobs online during the last 90 days. A little simple math tells us 535,500 of them were for RNs.

If those numbers seem high, they are. But that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in a December 2013 report calculated there will be 1.1 million RN jobs created by growth and replacement (retirements, etc.) in the 10 years between 2012 and 2022. But the number of RNs will only grow by 526,800 during that period.

A research study published in the American Journal of Medical Quality declares that by 2030 there will be “a total national deficit of 918,232 RN jobs.” The study, “United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast,” graded each of the 50 states on the severity of their nurse shortage. In 2009, say the study authors, five states earned a D or an F. By 2030 30 states will get a D or an F.

Citing other studies, the authors noted that there’s no disagreement there will be a shortage, it’s just a matter of how big. Those other studies “project that there will be
a national shortage of 300,000 to 1 million RN jobs in 2020.”

If this isn’t enough of an incentive to make National Nurses Week a blowout celebration of your nursing staff, consider the cost of turnover. The Journal of Nursing Administration put the pricetag at between $62,100 and $67,100. And that was back in 2005!

One more point: Last summer CareerBuilder found that 48% of nursing jobs and 39% of allied health jobs go unfilled for six weeks or longer. At 20% of health care organization, nursing vacancies last three months or longer.

National Nurses Week ends next Monday, the 194th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. In between we recognize National Student Nurses Day (May 8) and School Nurse Day (May 7).

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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