Registered nurse job openings have been steadily rising over the last several years, and hospitals can’t find solutions fast enough to combat the growing need to fill these vacant positions. Each day short staffed hospitals and healthcare systems are looking for nursing shortage solutions to combat the problems they face in the coming year.
One of the many insights from the 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses highlighted how nurses feel the nursing shortage has gotten worse in the last five years. According to the survey, nearly half of those surveyed feel that the nursing shortage has gotten worse in the last five years than it was in 2013.
Registered nurses are the critical pieces of patient care in the healthcare industry, and experience first hand just how bad the nursing shortage has gotten. As hospitals foster new investments, expansions, and additional improvements to current healthcare systems, the registered nursing shortage continues to become an even bigger problem than some projected initially. Registered nurses are expected to pick up the slack by taking on more patients until healthcare staffers can fill vacant positions with new nurses.
Just like any other business, when a hospital adds a new set of beds, the amount of patients they can take care of and accept at one time rises. This means that expected revenues rise for the hospitals and short staffed nurses are expected to handle an increased workload until healthcare human resource workers can fill those positions.
Before a new nurse can even help alleviate the experienced overworked nurses, there is an onboarding process that is unique for each hospital which only adds to the problem. This means that nurses are paying the price of being overworked until short staffed hospitals find creative nursing shortage solutions to help speed up the process over time.
The baby boomer retirement cycle is just beginning and that doesn’t help hospital recruiters solve the problem any easier, in fact it makes it harder. Hospitals were faced with a staffing issue to begin with and relied on the generation of experienced baby boomer nurses to temporarily take an increased workload to help out until hospitals could fill new nursing positions with qualified candidates.
With each baby boomer nurse retirement, current nurses are expected to pick up the slack and the problem only compounds more.
As the baby boomer generation is slowly fading out of the workforce through retirement, the nursing shortage is only worsening over time. Nursing happens to be one of the most popular occupations for the baby boomer generation with a peak of 1.28 million nurses in 2008.
Since 2008, as more baby boomers declare their intentions to retire, new job openings from those leaving the workforce have been around 60,000 each year and steadily climbing.
In just a couple years, by 2020 AMN Healthcare projects that nearly half of those 1.28 million baby boomer nurse positions will be vacant and need new registered nurses to fill those positions.
Not only is there a desire to fill those positions that were once previously filled by the baby boomer generation, but new nurses are required to help take care of the aging baby boomer generation. The baby boomer generation will need care in greater numbers than previously seen, and other patient needs certainly aren’t going away anytime soon as well.
This means that for every nurse that retires, nearly two new RNs are needed to help fill the nursing shortage problem that grows each day.
Registered nursing job openings have been steadily climbing over time, and they are expected to rise faster than the average occupation over the next decade. According to the BLS Occupational Handbook for registered nurses, job outlook is expected to rise 15% by 2026.
This means that an estimated 437,000 jobs will be added. 437,000 jobs are expected to be added over the next decade, in addition to the new job openings that will arise from replacing the aging baby boomer generation as they slowly fade out of the workforce and require additional care themselves.
Expected projections simply aren’t enough though, as hospitals and healthcare recruiters have stated that even the most aggressive projections aren’t enough to combat the compounding issue. On our job portal at HospitalCareers.com, nurse job openings continue to be one of the largest number of job listings in the entire healthcare industry.
As hospitals attempt to attract new registered nurses to their multitude of job openings, registered nurses are receiving job offers in creative ways. Increasingly, hospitals are willing to pay more and offer greater benefits to registered nurses in an effort to attract them to current job openings.
As the staffing issue compounds over time, hospitals and healthcare recruiters are looking for nursing shortage solutions that haven’t been explored or attempted in the past. As a greater number of nurses are needed, healthcare systems and hospitals are creating new and innovative campaigns that highlight the benefits of working as a registered nurse.
Some of these new innovative campaigns are additional learning opportunities, room for advancement within the hospital leadership, and greater work flexibility options within the nursing field.
Some of these campaigns take time to develop, so the results of these potential nursing shortage solutions is yet to be seen. In addition, statewide measures are being considered and implemented to help fill nursing positions in states where a registered nurse might not be licensed to work in.
Some states have different procedures to obtain licensing and it can be difficult for new nurses to obtain that required licensing. Hospitals and healthcare systems are leading the charge in helping simplify the problem so that they can help fill vacant positions with qualified new nurses.
Even with the increased workload that registered nurses feel with the nursing shortage, job satisfaction remains positive for registered nurses. 83% of all registered nurses in the survey said that they are still satisfied with their choice of a career in nursing. In addition, 66% stated that they would recommend a career in nursing to others.
As registered nurse job openings continue to rise over the next decade, it remains to be seen whether or not some of the creative new ways that hospitals and healthcare systems attract new RNs to vacant positions will help solve the compounding nursing shortage issue.