Financial Impact of the Nursing Shortage: Billions to Recruit and Retain
By Jilian Mincer, Reuter's
Nursing shortages have occurred in the past, but the current crisis is far worse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be more than a million RN openings by 2024, twice the rate seen in previous shortages. A major driver is the aging of the baby boomer generation, with a greater number of patients seeking care, including many more complex cases, and a new wave of retirements among trained nurses.
Industry experts, from hospital associations to Wall Street analysts, say the crisis is harder to address than in the past. A faculty shortage and too few nursing school slots has contributed to the problem. Hospitals seek to meet a goal calling for 80 percent of nursing staff to have a four-year degree by 2020, up from 50 percent in 2010. They also face more competition with clinics and insurance companies that may offer more flexible hours. Healthcare experts warn that the shortfall presents risks to patients and providers.