The nursing shortage should be no secret. It’s been widely reported as the next looming disaster to befall Healthcare at large. Okay, so there’s a big shortage of professional nurses, but how does that affect the nursing schools or the students enrolled?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 Healthcare will be short about one million nurses.
So why don’t we just educate that many more and by then we’ll have plugged the leaky hole, right?
Not so simple a fix. And it DOES immediately impact nursing schools and the students enrolled.
The Big Picture of the nursing shortage is a tale of an aging RN workforce – coupled with burn-out because of immediate shortages on nursing staffs, --confusing and competing statistics first that show big numbers of prospective nursing students interested in nursing vs. lackluster numbers and some sources claiming fewer young people going into nursing. And of course the BLS’s estimated shortfall also takes into account the mounting population of Baby Boomers many of whom are expected to clog the arteries of hospital healthcare in the next decade, driving the urgency for trained RNs into the stratosphere.
The nursing shortage impacts schools of nursing tangentially. Many schools have in fact reported larger than normal numbers of nursing applicants. Especially given the economic turbulence more and more unemployed and employed workers are giving second thought to the stability of the practice. But at the same time schools are counting more applicants they are also unable to handle the flood due to too few nursing educators, limited classroom and lab space, and now severely curtailed budgets.
And you’ve likely heard about the dreaded “waitlists” at some nursing schools. Who wants to wait for an education, a new career, an opportunity to get your life on the right track to doing something you really like and get paid regularly for?
It’s all tantamount to a Catch-22.
The good news about “the nursing shortage” is that there are plenty of nursing schools open for business. If you’re flexible with your options your chances for getting in increase exponentially. Even better if you can consider a distance-based nursing program or a blended program. Most deliver the exact curriculum you’d get sitting in a crowded classroom, and provide flexible clinical opps, as well.
Nearly everywhere you find patient care there is a need for well-trained nurses. Hospitals are usually always hiring permanent or even per diem. And nursing specializations continue to expand like the Big Bang, supporting the idea that healthcare is looking for more informed leaders in its RN workforce.