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Coming Up Short: The Need for Nurses


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Coming Up Short: The Need for Nurses

Over the next decade, it is predicted the U.S. will see a significant shortage of nurses in the healthcare industry. As many nurses retire, their shoes of many of them aren’t being filled. With the need for qualified nurses expanding each year, how can we combat the coming scarcity of well-trained RNs?

Career Snapshot


Number of nursing jobs in the U.S. (1)


Median annual salary for RNs (1)


Percentage of RNs who work in general medical/surgical hospitals (2)

There are four times more nurses than physicians in the U.S. (2)


Percentage of nurses who hold a master’s or doctoral degree (2)

The Issue

Despite increasing opportunities in the healthcare industry – with new jobs opening every day – the average age of nurses is going up. As nurses retire, the lack of new nursing graduates will create a nationwide shortage of nurses if the need is not met.


Percentage of nursing population that is 50 or older (2)


Average age of nurses in the U.S. (2)


New job ads for RNs in the past year, up 46% from the previous year (2)


Percentage of nursing school enrollment increase in 2013, an insufficient number to meet growing demands (2)

Patient care will also be affected by the increasing shortage of properly trained nurses.


Percentage of RNs who believe the nursing shortage is affecting the quality of patient care (2)


Percentage of RNs who report not having enough time to appropriately care for patients (2)


Percentage of public who believe general quality of healthcare has gotten worse (3)

There are 35% fewer full-time RNs today as compared to 20 years ago. (4)

Can We Find a Fix?


Percentage of projected job growth for nursing from 2012-22 (1)

A change in the way we see nurses in the healthcare system is the key, as well as a reimagining how we train and educate future nurses. (4)

Recommendations for the future

  • Recognize nurses as leaders in the healthcare industry; as partners and not assistants.
  • Re-envision nursing as a versatile career opportunity for incoming students.
  • Build elaborate and realistic practice environments for incoming students.
  • Create patient care models that give nurses autonomy in decision making.
  • Develop career enhancement incentives so that nurses are encouraged to pursue professional practice and higher degrees.
  • Evaluate the effects that the nursing shortage will have on incoming nurses and train them accordingly.
  • Promote new marketing efforts to draw a larger and more diverse crowd of students to the field of nursing.

Seawaves-nursing shortage-sep2015-4






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