Nursing Shortages: Where Are Nurses Needed Most

The Nursing Shortages: Where Are Nurses Needed Most infographic visually depicts nursing job shortages and the roles and locations where nurses are the most in-demand.

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A Turn for the Worse: The Biggest Nursing Shortages

With most Baby Boomers heading into retirement, the nursing industry will soon experience a worrisome shortage. Schools of nursing are trying to meet the demand by expanding their programs and offering accelerated coursework; however, it is still projected that there will be a massive scarcity of trained RNs. So where will these shortages happen? What states, people, and fields will be affected most?

A Frightening Future for Nursing

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The RN workforce is expected to grow from 2.7 million jobs in 2014 to 3.2 million jobs in 2024. That is an increase of 16%, and one of the highest of any industry in the U.S. (1) Nursing schools across the country have only seen a 3.6% increase in enrollment, nowhere near enough to meet the projected demand of nurses in the coming years. (1)

55% – Percentage of the nursing workforce that is 50+ years old, with more than 1 million RNs retiring in the next 10 to 15 years. By 2025, many states on the east and west coasts will experience nursing shortages.

Future Nurse Deficit by State

  • Hawaii: 200
  • South Carolina: 600
  • Montana: 800
  • Maine: 1,700
  • Rhode Island: 2,100
  • Alaska: 2,700
  • New Mexico: 3,400
  • California: 3,700
  • Oregon: 6,000
  • Georgia: 6,700
  • Washington: 7,000
  • Nevada: 7,800
  • Maryland: 12,100
  • Colorado: 12,900
  • North Carolina: 12,900
  • Arizona: 28,100

Shortage by Specialty

Certain fields of nursing will suffer bigger shortages than others because of job growth.

Fastest-growing nursing fields

Field: Job growth

  • Nurse midwife: 31%
  • Nurse practitioner: 25%
  • Nurse anesthetist: 22%
  • Clinical nurse: 20%
  • Psychiatric nurse: 20%
  • Trauma nurse: 20%
  • Travel nurse: 20%
  • Geriatric nurse: 20%
  • Oncology nurse: 20%
  • Dialysis nurse: 19%
  • Pain management nurse: 19%
  • Pediatric nurse: 19%
  • Traveling nurses are — and will continue to be — one of the highest fields in demand, particularly in certain U.S. cities, including: (4)

Traveling Nurse Cities with Shortages

  • Los Angeles
  • Denver
  • Seattle
  • Atlanta
  • Minneapolis
  • Houston
  • Chicago

Nursing Educators

Another area where the nursing industry is suffering is education. Colleges will see higher demand and a short supply of nursing faculty, which causes nursing student numbers to fall.

64,067 – Number of qualified nursing school applicants turned away in 2016 due to a lack of faculty (1)

7.9% – Current national nurse faculty vacancy rate (1)

62.2 – Average age of doctorally prepared nursing professors in the U.S., is close to retirement age. (1)

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