Baby Boomers and the Nursing Shortage
The nursing shortage is considered one of the biggest challenges facing health care today. With the quality of medical treatments directly affected by a lack of qualified and educated health care professionals, the need for nurses to provide health care services is increasing at an astounding rate. One of the latest figures from the health resources and services administration is that the nursing shortage will grow to one million nurses by 2020, leaving plenty of room for new nursing school cohorts to find positions within medical facilities, and for currently employed nurses to advance along the nursing career path.
Much of the nursing shortage can be attributed to the large number of adults in the Baby Boomer generation. Because of the advancing age of this population, those particular health care needs are growing at a fast pace, driving the need for more nurses. Additionally, the nursing shortage is also affected by the high rate of Baby Boomers who are retiring from the nursing profession, leaving a gap in the ability to provide services throughout the career field, but especially in the advanced practice nursing paths, where years of experience are required in order to practice those skills effectively.
The benefit of the nursing shortage can be found in the increased number of career and educational opportunities. Hospitals and medical facilities are offering more incentives to new nurses, as well as implementing nursing retention strategies for those already employed. Many traditional colleges and universities are offering nursing programs that help fit into busy schedules, in order to increase the number of qualified nurses able to fill the gaps in nursing. Online nursing schools in particular are able to offer fully accredited nursing school programs, as well as accelerated nursing programs that can help a nursing school student, or currently employed nurse, achieve educational goals faster, saving both time and money.
Since an average of 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day, the need for medical care to address issues like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and other age-related medical conditions is increasing rapidly. The nursing profession is an important part of the entire medical community, providing both the hands-on care needed by patients, as well as the medical knowledge required to diagnose, treat and prevent illness, no matter the generation in question.