Tag: nursing jobs

Nursing shortage or nursing surplus?

February 11th, 2015 by

I’ve been a bit of a broken record about the so-called nursing shortage since at least 2009. (See here, here, here, here, here and here.) The conventional wisdom has been that we are facing a looming, massive shortage of nurses –in the hundreds of thousands in 10 or 15 years. I’ve always looked at those numbers with raised eyebrows, especially since they are often pushed by those with a vested interest in boosting the number of nursing students.

Of course there are variations by region, specialty, and level of expertise but in general the idea of a big nursing shortage just didn’t make sense to me.

So I was gratified to receive the following note from a researcher at Staffing Industry Analysts:

Hey David,

I ran across your article in 2013 about the nursing shortage rhetoric being hootzpah. Good article, and turns out you were right on the money. Not sure if you’ve seen, but the HRSA just updated its projections and now projects a nursing surplus of 340,000 nurses by 2025 (given current conditions continue).

Wrote an article on it here if you’re interested.

Sure enough, the government’s estimate of the balance between supply and demand has shifted radically. In 2002 HRSA predicted a shortage of 800,000 RNSs by 2020. The latest estimate shows a surplus of 340,000 by 2025. The biggest reason? A huge increase in nursing graduates.

I think the long-term outlook for nursing demand may be even more dire, because forecasters tend to neglect the long-term substitution of capital for labor. There will still be a lot of nursing jobs, but nurse productivity will increase as technology improves, and some tasks done by humans today will be done by robots in the future.

 

More from the nursing shortage myth annals

December 2nd, 2013 by
Good news or bad news?
Good news or bad news?

FierceHealthcare has a weird little article about nursing shortages or lack thereof (As market worsens for hospital jobs, nurses look elsewhere). As I’ve written before, the nursing shortage is a myth. If you’re thinking of going to nursing school or sending your son or daughter there based on the inaccurate notion that good nursing jobs are plentiful, you should think twice.

The Fierce article mixes together two articles that tell almost opposite stories. The first, from the Indianapolis Star describes the dearth of hospital nursing jobs –which generally pay well. Nurses who can’t get jobs there are moving down the food chain to lower paying outpatient and home care positions.

New nurse grads are sending out 60 to 100 resumes and getting no responses, we are told.

That article mirrors my sense of the market. If there were a real nursing shortage you’d expect employers to be talking about it, yet I almost never hear a hospital clamoring for more nurses to be trained. Contrast that with the situation in high technology where employers are constantly beating the drum for more STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) graduates.

The second article from the Long Beach Press Telegram is about a faculty shortage in the California State University system. Something like 90 percent of qualified applicants are being turned away, which we are told “is exacerbating the state’s nursing shortage.”

Actually, with a national nursing glut, the applicants may be receiving a blessing in disguise.

A commenter captures my feelings about the article well. He has a niece who graduated with her RN but is still waitressing six months later. Meanwhile, “if California has such a shortage of nurses, why don’t some of the new grads sending out the 60 to 100 applications go west?”

photo credit: HikingArtist.com via photopin cc
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By David E. Williams of the Health Business Group.