Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Nursing Supply-And-Demand Fun Facts
Yes Virginia, there is a nursing shortage.
"According to a report released by the American Hospital Association in April 2006, U.S. hospitals need approximately 118,000 RNs to fill vacant positions nationwide. This translates into a national RN vacancy rate of 8.5%. The report, titled The State of America's Hospitals - Taking the Pulse, also found that 49% of hospital CEOs had more difficulty recruiting RNs in 2005 than in 2004. "
Unfortunately, the miraculous benevolent invisible hand of the magical-fairy free market has not answered this concern with the corresponding increase in supply as predicted by the obviously stupid and incorrect "law of supply and demand" that you heard about between naps at school. As a matter of fact, it's getting worse.
Here's a few reasons why:
*High job turnover rates:
"Nursing turnover in Arizona is 26%, compared with a nationwide rate of 15% annually (Mercer, 1999). According to the Healthcare Advisory Board (1999), the cost of replacing an RN is $42,000, so the cost of such a large turnover rate statewide is enormous.'
*A general nationwide shortage, affecting all nursing specialties.
*Nurses getting older on average and aging out of the system:
"In March 2004, the average age of the RN population was estimated to be 46.8 years of age, more than a year older than the average age of 45.2 years estimated in 2000; and more than 4 years greater than in 1996 when the average age was 42.3 years."
*Demand for nurses continues to rise.
Changing demographics and general population growth and influx of people from other countries is profoundly affecting hospital budgets everywhere in America.
*Not enough nurse educators:
"To make matters worse, the lack of teachers has meant more nursing school applicants being turned away -- despite a nationwide shortage of nurses -- because nursing schools don't have enough faculty to teach them, according to a May 2003 report by the AACN."
*And of course, money:
" When adjusted for inflation, the average salary for US nurses has not increased since 1992 (HRSA Division of Nursing, 2001)."
Naturally, it's a little worse in some places than it is in others. Here in The Valley where I work, live, play, and blog; for example, the nursing shortage is running a little tighter than the national average.
"The nursing shortage in Arizona is projected to increase to 25 percent in 2010 from 17 percent in 2000, according to the Arizona Nurses Association. The reason is simple. Nursing schools have not been able to keep pace with Arizona's burgeoning population, especially the enormous growth in the number of senior citizens. The population boom has forced hospitals and other health providers to build $2 billion worth of projects and renovations. There aren't enough nurses to work in the new facilities."
Law of supply and demand. What a load of crap. If you still believe in that sort of thing, then bring your own nurse with you the next time you or a dearly beloved family member has to go to the local emergency department or hospital. In the meantime, think very seriously about what you're going to do about this problem.
Me? I went to nursing school.
Posted by shrimplate at 11:08 AM