According to some articles, there are 100,000 registered nursing positions currently open at hospitals across the country and new grads are confident in their job search.
Other articles are suggesting that the shortage is still so drastic that the only way to solve it is through legislation and importing internationally trained nurses.
But then there was this story from the Washington Post reporting that the current economy has somewhat lessened the nations shortage of healthcare professionals.
The article suggests that many nurses are postponing retirement or returning to the workforce for financial reasons. Combine this with the other economic factors negatively affecting the healthcare staffing industry and suddenly there are fewer available jobs.
The article also points to low vacancy rates at hospitals in certain regions, although this only provides us with a snapshot of one particular area of the country.
So what gives? Is the economy affecting the shortage or not?
My take is that, although some regions are experiencing a glut and there is certainly a slow down across the board, the shortage is still very real. Perhaps the Washington Post was just looking for interesting headlines but I think it’s fair to say that most people believe the economy will turn around and when it does, the shortage will still be here.
The biggest issue still seems to be getting new nurses into the workforce. The Washington Post article also speaks to this, citing the average age, high educational requirements and relatively low compensation for nursing school instructors as being a major barrier for getting more students in and through these programs. Until this changes, it seems that nothing will really resolve the shortage – not even the economy.
What's your take? Is the economy affecting jobs for healthcare professionals in your region?