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Nursing Careers: is There Still a Significant Nursing Shortage in America?

By Susan Harbrich Subscribe to RSS | February 4th 2012 | Views:

If you are considering a career in nursing, it’s natural to wonder about job security. In these uncertain economic times, choosing a career with built-in demand is key for long-term job security. But is nursing truly a “recession proof” career? After all, the media has been touting a “nursing shortage” for nearly the last decade – at some point, won’t that shortage be filled? The recent 18-month recession also has many would-be nurses second-guessing their potential career choice. Does this "shortage" still exist? Is nursing still a smart career choice? The answer to both questions: Absolutely.

Just over a decade ago, the Nursing Institute at the University of Illinois College of Nursing published a report entitled “Who Will Care for Each of Us?: America's Coming Health Care Crisis.” This report documented for the first time the severity of the upcoming nursing shortage. Analysts predicted that without an influx of nurses, the ratio of available nurses to the elderly population would decrease by 40% from 2010 to 2030.

More than a decade later, this prediction continues to hold true for two key reasons:

1.America’s population is aging rapidly and demand for qualified nurses in increasing

2.More nurses are retiring; the current median age of a nurse is 46 years old and rising

With the Baby Boom generation on the cusp of retirement, the demand for qualified nurses will only increase over the next decade. At the same time, many current nurses are also expected to retire. According to the American Nurses Association, more than 50% of the existing nurse force is close to retirement, with the median age of a nurse 46 years old. This means that over the next decade, as the demand for nurses increases, the number of available nurses will actually decrease.

Despite the recent economic crisis, nursing remains a smart career choice -- with more nurses needed than ever before. The Bureau of Labor Statistics workforce analysts projected in 2009 that by the year 2018 almost 582,000 new RN jobs would be created. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that in June 2011, over 120,000 new job ads were posted for registered nurses, almost twice as many as in May of 2010. Also in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the healthcare sector of the economy experienced steady growth, adding 283,000 new jobs in the last year. The nursing job market has clearly sprung back from any recession downturns!

The demand for nurses continues to rise, and with more nurses needed, many nursing colleges simply can’t keep up. According AACN, nursing enrollment at colleges is not increasing enough to supply the demand for Registered Nurses that will be needed in the next ten years. That’s good news for anyone considering a career in nursing. Not only is the profession a rewarding opportunity to provide compassionate care to those in need, demand for nurses will continue to be strong well into the next decade.

Susan Harbrich - About Author:
Susan Haubrich looked up online RN to BSN programs to see if it would be a good fit for her busy schedule. Colorado Christian University (CCU) can help with your nursing online education and has all the information you need to take your career to the next level.

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