Thursday, February 26, 2009

Current and Projected Shortage Indicators

The shortage of registered nurses (RNs) in the U.S. could reach as high as 500,000 by 2025 according to a report released by Dr. Peter Buerhaus and colleagues in March 2008. The report, titled The Future of the Nursing Workforce in the United States: Data, Trends and Implications, found that the demand for RNs is expected to grow by 2% to 3% each year.

In a statement released in March 2008, The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, an independent group of health care leaders based at the University of Pennsylvania, has determined that 30,000 additional nurses should be graduated annually to meet the nation's healthcare needs, an expansion of 30% over the current number of annual nurse graduates.

According to the latest projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published in the November 2007 Monthly Labor Review, more than one million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2016. Government analysts project that more than 587,000 new nursing positions will be created through 2016 (a 23.5% increase), making nursing the nation’s top profession in terms of projected job growth.

According to a report released by the American Hospital Association in July 2007, U.S. hospitals need approximately 116,000 RNs to fill vacant positions nationwide. This translates into a national RN vacancy rate of 8.1%. The report, titled The 2007 State of America's Hospitals - Taking the Pulse, also found that 44% of hospital CEOs had more difficulty recruiting RNs in 2006 than in 2005.

Based on finding from the Nursing Management Aging Workforce Survey released in July 2006 by the Bernard Hodes Group, 55% of surveyed nurses reported their intention to retire between 2011 and 2020. The majority of those surveyed were nurse managers.

In April 2006, officials with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released projections that the nation's nursing shortage would grow to more than one million nurses by the year 2020. In the report titled What is Behind HRSA's Projected Supply, Demand, and Shortage of Registered Nurses?, analysts show that all 50 states will experience a shortage of nurses to varying degrees by the year 2015.

According to a report published in November 2004 as a Web exclusive of Health Affairs, Dr. Peter Buerhaus and colleagues found that "despite the increase in employment of nearly 185,000 hospital RNs since 2001, there is no empirical evidence that the nursing shortage has ended. To the contrary, national surveys of RNs and physicians conducted in 2004 found that a clear majority of RNs (82%) and doctors (81%) perceived shortages where they worked."

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