Nursing Shortage Means Career Options

People now have longer lives compared to generations ago. The explosion of the baby population will need vast medical care but nurses are insufficient

The scarcity of nurses may have a negative effect on medical care. It means an increase to the ratio of the number of patients per nurse, resulting to less attention to each patient. There will be fewer nurses to monitor the patient's vital signs and administer necessary medications. Nurses also offer a human face to a cold and sterile environment.

Based on a study on nursing made by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), there were 1,891,000 full-time equivalent licensed nurses on year 2000 but there was a demand for them to nearly 2,001,500. By 2020, it was seen that there will be less FTE nurses at an estimate of 1,808,000, yet the need increases to 2,824,900. It is estimated that the country could lack nurses close to 500,000 or even 1 million. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) made a similar projection in April 2006. In a report entitled "What is Behind HRSA's Projected Supply, Demand, and Shortage of Registered Nurses?" analysts show that shortage of nurses in varying degrees will be experienced by all 50 states.

Statistics also confirmed that the number of nursing school graduates has declined significantly. The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, an independent group of health care leaders based on University of Pennsylvania, released a statement last March 2008. They concluded that that to meet the needs of the nation's health care, there should be 30,000 additional nurses to graduate annually either from traditional campus colleges or online nursing programs. This is a 30% increase compared to the present number of annual nurse graduates.

Additionally, fewer nurses choose to teach due to low income, which also affects the figure of new nurses. More nurses prefer to work for pharmaceutical companies because they offer higher salary than hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, and other health care facilities.

Salaries and wages vary, depending on your location and specialization. To give you an idea, we listed below the median of annual salary figures from CBSalary.com.
  • Registered nurse: $66,427
  • Intensive care unit (ICU) nurse: $67,548
  • Head nurse: $85,967
  • Critical care unit (CCU) nurse: $67,016
  • Nurse midwife: $98,008
  • Home-care nurse: $65,507

Just like other professions, the nursing job is not for everyone. But if it appeals to you, this could be the right moment to take a look into it. The call for nurses will continue to increase in the coming years, so you will definitely be in demand.

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