Over the past several years, forecasters have been predicting there’s another nursing shortage on the way. If the old rule about what happens when demand is high, and supply is low still holds, those forecasts were correct.
The demand for nurses is high, and in many geographic and practice areas, the supply is low. Is it time to start gearing up for what may be ahead and start bringing back some of the recruitment initiatives — even the financially painful ones — we used in past shortages?
According to the latest data, this is likely a “here we go again” moment.
A 2016 CareerBuilder survey found 46% of healthcare employers said the role they struggled to fill above all others was that of qualified registered nurses.
According to The American Nurses Association, there will be more registered nurse jobs available through 2022 than any other profession in the United States.
Employment opportunities for nurses are projected to grow at a faster rate (15%) than all other occupations from 2016 through 2026, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 report. The bureau also projects 1.1 million additional nurses will be needed to avoid a further shortage.
In addition, the care needs of our aging baby boomer population continues to grow. Approximately 1 million RNs “are older than 50, meaning one-third of the current nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years. Nearly 700,000 nurses are projected to retire or leave the labor force by 2024,” according to an article in The Atlantic.
Nursing shortages come and go
Nursing shortages are cyclical. One year we’re in one and a few years later we are not. They are also geographic in occurrence and don’t hit at the same time in every city or state.
For those of you who are having difficulty recruiting nurses right now, maybe it’s time to look at initiatives you used in past shortages. Those of you who may not yet be affected can continue with your current hiring practices for now.
What’s important to understand is what the nurse recruitment trends look like on a nationwide basis. National trends will begin to reach everyone at some point.
- Stay in touch with the research.
- Connect with news on the shortage.
- Remember the question: As a nation, do we have enough nurses to care for the patients in our healthcare system?
The most current statistics and signposts say we do not have enough nurses right now.
News about the nursing shortage
If we are heading into a major nursing shortage, you know the drill. Many of you have been through shortages before, and you remember what your facility had to do to get nurses.
It seems everything old is new again, and the news we’re hearing and seeing is similar in different areas of the country. Here are a handful of headlines:
- “How 5 health systems are recruiting, retaining nurses during an RN shortage,” according to Becker’s Hospital Review.
- “Nationwide nurse shortage prompts signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, referral incentives,” according to LancasterOnline.
- “Short on staff: Nursing crisis strains U.S. hospitals,” according to Reuters.
- “Hospitals offering nurses as much as $10,000 in signing bonuses to fill shortages” according to ABC Action News.
- “Hospitals offer big bonuses, free housing and tuition to recruit nurses,” according to CNN Money.
What you can do to stem the shortage
Keep abreast of the news, prepare and be ready. Also, make a point to share the things you’re adding to your current recruitment programs with recruitment organizations.
Here are some incentives you can offer that have worked in the past:
- Sign-on bonuses
- Housing stipends
- Loan forgiveness
- Increasing salaries
- Better benefit packages
- More tuition reimbursement or paid continuing education
And take another look at all the facts and figures we put together for you earlier this year. Remember, we’re all in this together.