Where Are You Most Needed? 6 Nursing Shortage Facts.

The nursing shortage is a growing problem that’s putting serious pressure on nursing staff around the country. Here are 6 facts to know about it.

By Deborah Swanson

It’s no secret that the United States is in desperate need of nurses. Due to patients living longer, educational bottlenecks, and a staggeringly high turnover rate in the healthcare industry, the nursing shortage is a growing problem that’s putting serious pressure on nursing staff around the country.

As a nurse or nursing student, you’re probably well aware of these issues. In fact, it may even be one of the primary reasons you’ve pursued a nursing career in the first place. After all, what could be more fulfilling than providing care and support for patients who desperately need it?

There are several areas—both physical and occupational—where the need for nurses is at an all-time high. If your true calling is to make a difference in the lives of your patients, here are six nursing shortage facts that may influence where you end up.

  1. California has the greatest nursing shortage of any state.

    Although California employs the highest number of registered nurses in the country, it needs more—a lot more, in fact. According to a 2017 report by the Health Resources and Services Administration, California is predicted to have the highest demand for nurses in the country, with a shortage of nearly 45,000 registered nurses.

    With its strong economy and thriving metropolitan areas, California has long been a desirable place to live. If you’re thinking about working as a nurse in the Golden State, check out the California Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) for mentorship and networking opportunities.

  2. Rural towns need the most help.

    If you prefer small town life to the hustle and bustle of urban living, healthcare institutions in rural America will gladly accept your help. Attracting and retaining qualified nurses has long been a problem for hospitals in rural locations, mainly due to the lower pay rate and less lively social scene.

    While the pay may be lower, the cost of living is often lower as well. Plus, you’ll never deal with the insane traffic that you’d find in a metropolitan area. For nurses who truly want to make a difference, the rural healthcare workforce is in desperate need of help.

  3. Demand for certified nurse midwives is growing.

    What could be more meaningful than caring for the newest generation? Certified nurse midwives are experiencing a huge surge in demand lately as more couples wish for positive and natural birth experiences.

    According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nurse midwives is expected to grow 21 percent by 2026, with 1,700 jobs created in this occupation. As an added bonus, you’re looking at a median wage of $106,910 for this field, per estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  4. Certified nurse anesthetists, dialysis nurses and other nurse specialties are growing, too.

    In addition to certified nurse midwives, there is a growing number of in-demand nurse specialties that nursing students should consider. Making one of these specialties your primary focus can help you facilitate change in the healthcare industry and pave the way towards a fulfilling career:

    • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs): CRNAs work with surgeons, anesthesiologists and other healthcare professionals to safely deliver anesthesia to patients. CRNAs are one of the higher-paying fields in the industry, with a mean annual wage of $174,790.
    • Certified Dialysis Nurse: As our population continues to age, the need for dialysis services is growing. A certified dialysis nurse assists their patients with kidney function issues by supporting the administration of dialysis with a physician. Growth for this job is steady and is expected to increase 26 percent over the next decade.
    • Pediatric Endocrinology (PED ENDO) Nurse: As a PED ENDO nurse, you’ll provide care and support for children with endocrine disorders such as diabetes or hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, the need for this occupation may be growing due to our increasing risk of diabetes and obesity.
  5. The need for nurse educators has never been greater.

    One of the reasons why the country is facing such an immense shortage of registered nurses is partly due to educational bottlenecks. With an aging faculty, budget issues, and low pay, the demand for nurse educators is at an all-time high.

    According to a 2017 study published in Nursing Outlook, one-third of current nurse educators are expected to retire by 2025. Most younger faculty members who may potentially replace them don’t have nearly the same level of experience as their older counterparts.

    To address this shortage, many nursing programs and organizations are providing more funding for nursing students to seek doctoral degrees to replenish the supply of nurse educators and researchers. If you’re a current nursing student, don’t be afraid to talk with your advisor or senior nursing students about pursuing a doctoral degree.

  6. Travel nurses can greatly benefit nurses and hospitals alike.

    Travel nursing is just one of the ways in which the nation is addressing the decades-long nursing shortage. Being a travel nurse is exactly what it sounds like: You sign a short-term contract and travel to wherever you’re needed most, often for much better pay than staff nurses.

    If you’ve always dreamed of packing your nursing bag to see more of the world while making a positive difference in the lives of your patients, becoming a travel nurse can help you achieve both. Although you need roughly 18 months of experience in a nursing specialty to be a travel nurse, the opportunity to travel internationally or across the country for a high pay rate is undeniably appealing.

As a nurse or nursing student, you have the potential to make a huge impact in your community. Whether it’s by pursuing a doctoral degree or living the life of a traveling nurse, your choices going forward can make all the difference. By keeping these six nursing shortage facts in the back of your mind, you can opt for an extremely rewarding career path that sets you up for success.

Deborah Swanson is a Coordinator for the Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com. A site dedicated to celebrating medical professionals and their journeys. She keeps busy interviewing caregivers and writing about them and loves gardening.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

One Nurse Per 4,000 Pupils = Not The Healthiest Arrangement

School nurse shortages have been reported in recent years in California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida.

By Ana B. Ibarra

During a 15-minute recess, the elementary school students trooped from the playground toward nurse Catherin Crofton’s office — one with a bloody nose, a second with a scraped knee and a third with a headache.

Kids quickly filled a row of chairs. Staffers brought paper towels for the bleeders and tried to comfort the crying.

“We’re here for first aid, emergency, counseling,” said Crofton of the Mount Diablo Unified School District. “There is always something to do.”

Mount Diablo and other districts around the nation can use all the help they can get. Many suffer a severe shortage of nurses, and money to hire more is scarce.

Outside of California, shortages have been reported in recent years in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Florida.

Last year, Crofton saw 20 to 30 children a day at Cambridge Elementary, located in eastern Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some were first-timers, others her regulars — those with chronic conditions such as cystic fibrosis who need daily medication. Crofton said there are dozens of diabetic kids in the district, a huge change from 20 years ago, when they were rare.

Before taking a leave earlier this year, Crofton was on site at Cambridge Elementary three days a week and at Meadow Homes Elementary, about six blocks away, the other two weekdays.

Desperate to fill the nursing gap, the Mount Diablo district partnered with John Muir Health, a local health system of doctors and hospitals, to pay for her position. Other districts are also addressing nursing shortages creatively — and with mixed success — by opening school-based community clinics, conducting video sessions with faraway doctors and even training office staff to dress wounds or check glucose levels of diabetic children.

Beyond tending to minor scrapes, school nurses see many kids with chronic, potentially life-threatening illnesses that need medication and monitoring. Sometimes they are a child’s only regular link to medical care and often are the first to spot emerging disease outbreaks.

Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for a minimum of one full-time registered nurse in every school. Before that, the recommended nurse-to-student ratio had been 1-to-750.

California, the nation’s most populous state, is far from hitting either goal. It had one registered nurse for every 2,592 students in the 2016-17 school year, according to the latest state data. In many districts, one nurse must cover two or more schools. (Districts don’t report their use of licensed vocational nurses, who are not as highly trained but are sometimes hired to fill in the gaps.)

At Mount Diablo, the ratio is 1 registered nurse to nearly 4,000 kids. Figures for the smaller, neighboring district, Antioch Unified, show 1 nurse per 17,326 students.

California, like most states, doesn’t have a specific budget for school nursing, and it doesn’t require schools to have a full-time nurse. Yet schools are obligated to provide certain health services to students, such as vision and hearing tests and medication monitoring.

“Obviously a nurse has to be on board to do that, so we kind of come in the back door that way,” said Pamela Kahn, president-elect of the California School Nurses Organization.

The organization has tried several times to get the state legislature to set minimum nurse-to-student ratios with no luck so far. “When you crunch the numbers, it’s overwhelming what it would cost to provide that kind of service in the state,” Kahn said.

In the meantime, some districts are looking beyond the traditional model of bringing health care to school kids.

Last year, the Sacramento City Unified School District experimented with telehealth, which gives school staffers electronic access to a doctor to guide them, but as of the beginning of this school year, district officials had not decided whether they’d continue.

Telehealth works well if there is a school nurse, not a school secretary, consulting with the doctor, said Nina Fekaris, the president of the National Association of School Nurses and a school nurse in Beaverton, Ore., outside Portland. “It can’t be viewed as a replacement of [nursing] services,” she said.

In some instances, clerks and other school staff have been assigned medical duties in the absence of nurses, with disastrous results. In Washington state, a girl reportedly died of an asthma attack in 2008 under the watch of a playground supervisor when no nurse was around.

Partnerships between school districts and health care organizations are among the most promising approaches because schools don’t have to bear the full costs of hiring nurses.

Besides building goodwill, nonprofit health systems like John Muir can count their contributions of nurses and free student services toward the “community benefits” they must provide to retain tax-exempt status. Under this model, they cannot collect reimbursement from Medicaid or private insurers for seeing the students.

Since 2008, John Muir Health has donated two nurses in schools where the need is the greatest. One of those is Cambridge Elementary, which is in a densely populated area, next to a busy corridor dotted with fast food joints and apartment complexes. Many families are first-generation immigrants and English learners who don’t have an established health care provider, said Chris Grazzini, John Muir’s clinical program manager.

Such partnerships, however, tend to be more popular on the East Coast. Schools in Toledo, Ohio, for example, hired 12 school nurses through a deal with a local health care system in 2015. As part of the three-year agreement, ProMedica, a local nonprofit health system, invested $1.8 million to hire nine nurses. The school district, Toledo Public Schools, pays for the others.

Ann Cipriani, the health coordinator at Toledo Public Schools, said the arrangement allowed the district to attain its goal of having one nurse in each of its 50 schools — meeting the Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation. “It has made an amazing difference,” she said.

Schools in the Bronx partner with medical organizations to open health centers on campus. One partner is Montefiore Medical Center, which has established 25 school-based health centers, serving about 30,000 children.

Montefiore covers the cost of services by billing Medicaid or other insurance. State grants and private donations also help. The medical center is responsible for providing a doctor, nurses and a mental health provider at each center.

Similarly, Fresno Unified School District in California’s Central Valley aims to have seven health centers on campuses operated by Clinica Sierra Vista, a local group of health clinics and Valley Children’s Health Care. The first opened in 2014 and draws close to 500 visits a month. A second is scheduled to open next year.

Even with money in place for clinics and additional nurses, however, finding qualified professionals to fill the positions can be tough.

The 10-month work schedule is great, said Gail Williams, director of student health services at Fresno Unified, but it’s tough to compete with hospitals open year-round, 24/7. For a nurse, especially one with student loans to pay off, those jobs can be more enticing.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Both Political Parties Can Agree on Working to Solve the Looming Nurse Shortage

Without an effort from both sides of the aisle, America’s health system may be pushed past the breaking point.

from The Hill

The largest component of the healthcare workforce, nurses play an indispensable role in the provision of healthcare. But in the years to come, the demand for nursing services will dramatically outstrip the supply — all the more so because of the 20-plus million people who gained access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. In this new healthcare environment, the skills of nurses — and specifically, advanced practice nurses — will be especially valuable.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Is America Still Facing A Nursing Shortage?

Unfortunately so. Due to many important factors, the demand for nurses is rising at a staggering rate.

from Scrubs

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about America’s nursing shortage. This national shortage of nurses has resulted from a number of factors, including limited availability in medical schools, a shortage of qualified nursing school instructors, and fierce job competition within the nursing industry. With all of the healthcare and education reform that has taken place during recent years, shouldn’t this problem be resolved by now? Unfortunately, this is not the case. America’s demand for nurses is becoming more critical than ever.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

What Happens to Patient Care When There Are Not Enough Nurses?

The U.S. does not have enough RNs. What does that mean for the nation’s sick and elderly?

from Kellogg Insight

What are the repercussions of lower nurse staffing for patients? Do sick people get worse care, or possibly die more often, when there are not enough nurses on staff at a hospital or nursing home? In new research, Friedrich, an assistant professor of strategy, finds that a sharp reduction in the number of nurses at a facility can have detrimental effects on patients, particularly those residing in nursing homes. And even in hospitals, where staffing systems blunted much of the impact of a nursing shortage, patient care still suffered.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Immigrant Nurses: Filling the Next U.S. Shortage

As the health care workforce ages, foreign nurses will step up once again.

from U.S. News & World Report

In many U.S. hospitals, nurses from other countries help keep emergency rooms and inpatient units running. From the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s to currently understaffed hospitals, foreign nurses continue to ease shortages in parts of the nation. As the U.S. braces for a wave of aging patients, and an exodus of retiring nurses, foreign nurses are expected to be needed as much as ever.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Nearly Half of Nurses Consider Changing Careers as Nationwide Shortage Looms

Heavy workload, on-the-job harassment by peers, managers are major drivers behind potential exodus, study shows.

from Healthcare Finance

A new national study by RNnetwork, a travel nursing company, shows nearly half of responding nurses are thinking about leaving their profession, and major drivers behind the potential mass exodus include feelings of being overworked and disrespected by their coworkers.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.