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Nursing recruitment

Are you up to date on the latest nursing shortage predictions?

BY: Heather Cygan on January 17, 2018

Competition to attract and retain nurses is heating up along with the nursing shortage.

A 2016 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nursing will grow by 15% from 2016-2026. That rate is double the average 7% growth rate for all other professions, according to the BLS.

nursing shortage

The BLS also predicts the number of RN vacancies will be nearly 1.2 million by 2022, with nurses needed most in the home care, long-term care, outpatient and rehabilitation work settings.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration predicts an even bigger shortage.

The HRSA report predicts a 21% increase in nationwide demand for RNs by 2025, which translates to 612,000 more full-time employees. But not all states will experience the same shortage demand, according to their data.

According to the December 2014 report, the shortage will affect U.S. regions differently in 2025:

  • Midwestern states will have a surplus of 204,700 nurses
  • The Northeast will have a surplus of 71,600 nurses
  • The South will have a surplus of 119,000 nurses
  • The West is the only region predicted to have 64,200 too few nurses

The overall report shows the U.S. with a surplus of 340,000 nurses by 2025 if the number of nursing graduates continues at the growth rate observed in the report. If these predictions are accurate, nurses who live in states without a shortage may need to move to find work.

Many factors are contributing to the nursing shortage. The shortage is a result of nurse retirements, lack of nursing faculty, low nursing school enrollment growth, insufficient staffing ratios, the aging American population and disenchanted nurses who leave the profession altogether.

Our 2017 Nurse.com survey revealed 14% of nurses are considering leaving the profession. Baby boomers are most likely to leave the profession to retire. But 14% of millennials and Generation X are considering leaving the profession as well, which is alarming.

How does this affect recruiters?

A nursing shortage creates challenges for employers to recruit, hire and retain qualified nurses at their facilities. To make matters even more complex, nurses are aware of the shortage and expect more from potential job offers.

But the shortage can increase or decrease based on factors outside of recruiters’ control, such as healthcare delivery changes, population growth, the number of aging patients, the economy and healthcare reimbursement changes.

Recruiters must make an effort to regularly read new reports about the shortage and how any of these factors may have impacted previous predictions.

Don’t get left behind. Arm yourself with the latest facts about the shortage so you can plan accordingly.

Resources to start your research

Know of other helpful nursing shortage reports? Share it with me at hcygan@oncourselearning.com so we can add it to the list.


Heather Cygan

Heather Cygan is senior director of content and creative strategy for the advertising solutions division of Nurse.com. She has been developing healthcare content for more than 10 years and has a bachelors of arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Connect with and follow her on LinkedIn.