If you follow healthcare news, you have likely heard about the nursing shortage across America. As the number of people in need of care have increased, the growth rate of our nurse population has slowed. The inability for nurse supply to meet nurse demand has led to a widespread nurse shortage that has no immediate end in sight.
Why has demand increased?
The simplest contributor to increased demand comes from population growth. Since 2000 the population has grown by an average of 2.6 million people per year. More people = more people needing care.
Aging baby boomers have significantly contributed to this demand. With over 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, there growth of the 65 and older demographic is disproportionally high.1
Beyond population growth, there has been a significant rise in health insurance coverage. By 2010, 40 million Americans were uninsured and by 2016 that number had dropped to 28.6 million. The Affordable Care Act contributes to much of the uninsured population decline, with 11.4 million people estimated to have enrolled in 2017 alone.2
Will nurse supply change?
Meeting this demand is no small feat. According to the American Nurse Association, the country needs to produce more than 1 million new registered nurses by 2022 to fulfill its health care needs.2
Adding to the difficulty, an aging nurse base has mirrored the demographic shift in the population demanding care. David Auerbach reports in a Science Daily Study that “40% of registered nurses are over the age of 50. The number of nurses leaving the workforce each year has been growing steadily from 40,000 in 2010 to nearly 80,000 by 2020.”3
Amidst the far-reaching nursing shortage is a rise in the competition for nursing school applicants. The number of rejected applicants is on the rise as nursing schools have becoming increasingly difficult to get into. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported in 2017: “[There are] 56,000 qualified applicants from undergraduate nursing programs. Going back a decade, nursing schools have annually rejected around 30,000 applicants who met admissions requirements.”4
Is there any hope for the nursing shortage?
In the short term there is no avoiding the nursing shortage. The discrepancy between available nurses and people requiring care will take many years to overcome. Buerhaus predicts that “the nation will still have a shortage of around 130,000 nurses by 2025.”3
That being said, increasing the efficiency of our current nurse workforce can help alleviate some of the immediate problems. Companies like connnectRN are striving to help by increasing nurse staffing efficiency through technology driven scheduling. Improving scheduling efficiency is essential for maximizing the impact of our existing nurse force.
connectRN allows nurses to make their own schedule, picking up as little or as many shifts as they choose. With no scheduling contracts or requirements, the platform is not only applicable to nurses looking for full time work, but also nurses looking to work a pick up a couple shifts when they have time. Interested in learning more about how connectRN is combating the nurse shortage through improved nurse staffing efficiency? Click here: https://connectrn.com/
- Gilles, G. (n.d.). What Are Baby Boomers? – Definition, Age & Characteristics. Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-are-baby-boomers-definition-age-characteristics.html
- Bakalar, N. (2017, May 22). Nearly 20 Million Have Gained Health Insurance Since 2010. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/health/obamacare-health-insurance-numbers-nchs.html
- David I. Auerbach, Peter I. Buerhaus, Douglas O. Staiger. Will the RN Workforce Weather the Retirement of the Baby Boomers?Medical Care, 2015; 53 (10): 850 DOI: 1097/MLR.0000000000000415
- Kavilanz, P. (n.d.). Nursing schools are rejecting thousands of applicants — in the middle of a nursing shortage. Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2018/04/30/news/economy/nursing-school-rejections/index.html