Between an increase in health care needs and the imminent retirement age of approximately 1 million nurses, the nursing shortage has been an ongoing issue. Now COVID-19 has also exacerbated hospitals, nurses, and health care needs. However, nursing schools saw an enrollment bump amid the pandemic, as students were inspired to make a difference. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster growth in nursing than any other profession, with telehealth and case managers some of the most in-demand jobs of 2021 for RNs.
With that said, here are three things you need to know about the nursing shortage.
1. The nursing shortage varies by area.
The need for nurses is more significant in certain states, such as California and Texas. California is predicted to be short over 44,000 nurses by 2030. While Florida and Ohio, on the other hand, have an anticipated surplus of nurses. But keep in mind that the pandemic magnified the need for nurses across the country. For nurses willing to relocate, embracing states most affected by the shortage can mean better pay and job security.
2. Hospitals aren’t the only facilities in need of nurses.
The need for post-acute care is growing in long-term care hospitals, in-patient rehabilitation facilities, and home health agencies. The Institute of Medicine projects that an additional 3.5 million long-term care health care workers will be needed by 2030 to maintain the aging U.S. population.
3. We need growth in diversity.
The U.S. is projected to be a majority-minority nation for the first time by 2043, with no one particular minority group being the largest. Today, over 75% of nurses identify as white or Caucasian. Meanwhile, only 10% of RNs identify as Black or African American, 8.3% identify as Asian, and 4.8% identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the publication Minority Nurse. A culturally diverse nursing workforce is essential to mirror the patient population adequately and help ensure competent patient care, as nurses also help bridge language and cultural gaps.
The need for passionate nurses who are trained to meet the ever-evolving diverse health care needs is not going away anytime soon. You can be one of the nurses that save and impact patients’ lives. What role will you play in combating the nursing shortage?