The Nursing Shortage Myth

For years we’ve read that the US faces a looming shortage of nurses. Shortfalls in the hundreds of thousands of nurses are routinely predicted. These predictions have been good for nursing schools, which have used the promise of ample employment opportunities to more than double the number of nursing students over the last 10 years, according to CNN.

Yet somehow 43 percent of newly-licensed RNs can’t find jobs within 18 months. Some hospitals and other employers openly discourage new RNs from applying for jobs. That doesn’t sound like a huge shortage, then does it?

But the purveyors of the nursing shortage message have an answer for that. Actually two answers: one for the short term and another for the long term. The near term explanation is that nurses come back into the workforce when the economy is down. Nurses are female and tend to be married to blue collar men who lose their jobs or see their hours reduced when the economy sours, we’re told. Nurses bolster the family finances by going back to work –or they stay working when they were planning on quitting. There’s something to that argument even if it’s a bit simplistic.

The longer term argument is that many nurses are old and will retire soon, just when the wave of baby boomers hits retirement age themselves and needs more nursing care. Don’t worry, the story goes, there will be tons of jobs for nurses in the not-too-distant future. This logic comes through again in CNN’s story:

Demand for health care services is expected to climb as more baby boomers retire and health care reform makes medical care accessible to more people. As older nurses start retiring, economists predict a massive nursing shortage [emphasis mine] will reemerge in the United States.

“We’ve been really worried about the future workforce because we’ve got almost 900,000 nurses over the age of 50 who will probably retire this decade, and we’ll have to replace them,” [economist and nurse Peter] Buerhaus said.

I don’t buy this logic. And I stand by what I wrote almost a year ago in Nursing shortage cheerleaders: There you go again:

My issue with the workforce projections is that they don’t take into account long-term technological change, but simply assume that nurses will be used as they are today. I’ve taken  heat for writing that robots will replace a lot of nurse functions over time. People seem to be offended by that notion and have accused me of not having sufficient appreciation for the skills nurses bring.

So let me try a different tack. Think about some of the job categories where demand is being tempered by the availability of substitutes. Here are a few I have in mind that have similar levels of education to nurses:

  • Flight engineers. Remember when commercial jets, like the Boeing 727 used to fly with two pilots and a flight engineer? Those planes were replaced by 737s and 757s that use two member flight crews instead.
  • Junior lawyers and paralegals. Legal discovery used to take up many billable hours for large cases. Now much of it is being automated
  • Actuaries. Insurance companies used to hire tons of them, but their work can be done much more efficiently with computers

I don’t know exactly how the nursing profession is going to evolve but I do notice that the advocates for training more nurses are typically those who run nursing schools rather than prospective employers of nurses, such as hospitals.

If you want to be a nurse, go for it. But if you’re choosing nursing because you think it’s a path to guaranteed employment, think again.

David E. Williams is co-founder of MedPharma Partners LLC, strategy consultant in technology enabled health care services, pharma,  biotech, and medical devices. Formerly with BCG and LEK. He writes regularly at Health Business Blog, where this post first appeared.

171 replies »

  1. you speak a lot of truths–these dynamics you spoke of have been forever present and to add to the mayhem there are R N bullies who love to see nurse grads struggle at the expense of the patient – despite all of these horrible facts there are some really good /intelligent nurses out there and you sound like one of them do not give up— you are desperately needed and others like you!!!!

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  3. California Board of Nursing is a mess and a front for Lord knows what….disorganized is too nice of a word for this FAIL of an agency. So many incompetent people working there. Nobody answers phones. Always on breaks. In meetings. Out to lunch (even when they’re back from lunch). Half the state agency staff is on Facebook the entire day not doing their job. Total joke. No wonder the BSN requirements keep changing, nobody is manning the ship. California nursing schools are now being told, “OOPS, we goofed, your students no longer need CHEMISTRY to be BSNs…” Oh, reallllllyyyy…well thank you very much after 5900 of us already took chem as a “requirement” and now, suddenly we don’t need it…GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER CA BOARD OF NURSING. QUIT ripping students off. Quit wasting RN’s time and money on this idiotic BSN (Bull S^%$ nurse degree)

  4. excellent points , Larry…..the BSN hoax is just another way to make nursing schools rich on the backs of people who dont know the facts.

  5. I have also had this experience. 15 years in the field, and regarded as useless, because my acute care skills were not recent enough. However, hospitals in my area hire new grads almost exclusively, keep them 3 months, and fire them.

    Nurses in PA are recycled to the point of looking like swiss cheese, and the persons conducting the interviews penalize you for the experience that you have gained. The job market is saturated, which is precisely the way they want it.

    The domino effect of such a surplus in the job market has been able to prop up employment profiteering in regard to the education industry, the background check industry, the CPR/American Red Cross Industry, TB Tests, and pre-emplyment physicals.

    All of these industries are booming due to the glut and surplus of nurses looking for work. When you think about has disgusting and fraudulent the “shortage ” is, one can understand it better, because jobs are being born, and profits are being made with the piles of nurses who are continually looking for work.

  6. It is important for every single person who is considering a career in nursing to read these comments and pay close attention. It is my well researched experience and opinion, through 15 years in this god awful field that I am compelled to share the truth.

    There has been a long term planned and pre-meditated hoax to fool people into thinking that there is, was, and is going to be a nursing shortage. I was one of those unfortunate people who was conned by the team efforts of local colleges, media classified ads, news stories, magazine articles, local hospitals and nursing homes, recruiters, job boards on the internet, etc, who have all despicably participated in this magnificient bogus scheme to create a shortage of nurses through fiction without any fact at all.

    The truth is that there never was a shortage to begin with. The hoaxes were able to be considered by many, because the hospitals and nursing homes were all perpetuating this fraud on society by offering multi-thousand dollar sign on bonus programs, inflated pay rates with $5 and $10 differentials for nights and weekends, etc…

    The schemes and lies became known to me when I fell for every one of them. Sign on bonuses were only payable after 6 months. Inflated pay programs disappeared within weeks of being hired. Hospitals and nursing homes hired and fired people almost daily, before the ink was even dry on the applications.

    With the market completely and utterly clogged and saturated with nurses, you now have a pool of several hundred, and possibly several thousand applicants for each job. The jobs have now morphed from full time with benefits to per diem, low paying, no benefit jobs that come and go like toilet water in a fast food bathroom.

    In addition to these sad facts, the surplus of nurses has caused a downward spiral of acceptable pay rates. Anything outside of acute care has become almost minimum wage. “Techs” are replacing nurses left and right, LPNs must perform RN work, and RNs are forced to act as Supervisor, med/treatment nurse, unit clerk, CNA and receptionist all at the same time. No matter how hard you work, someone has a complaint, and you are kicked out the door without the batting of an eye. They can do this to avoid paying benefits, and to continue their habit of finding someone who will work even cheaper.

    In 15 years I have endured the worst hell anyone can imagine, still have nursing school loans, and will be filing for bankruptcy within the next few months. If you care about your metal and physical well being, never consider nursing as a career, ever! I have had interviews on occasion that were brazen and humiliating at the same time. Every employer has the upper hand and will use it to literally erase your qualifications, under the guise (and hoax) of “too many short term jobs” , “nursing experience not recent enough,” “You need three years minimum on a med/ surg unit”, “your last job was less than 1 year” and the list goes on and on and on. Its demoralizing and pathetic. At this point I’d rather work a cash register at Sears than endure even one more day of this garbage.

  7. I feel that the problem with Nurses finding jobs has to do with several years ago when there was a shortage and they put Nurses on 12 hour shifts.There are many more men in Nursing as well as females.i do think some of that has to go with only working three days a week.I have been a Nurse for 50 years and have worked all three shifts, done total care Nursing and have done Nursing using the computer.I still like the total care Nursing were you do everything for the patient.I did work at one hospital that used little computers that one wore around their waist.The Nurse would document as she /he cared for the patient,then would down load the information every two hours in the big computer.I really think Nurses should work eight hour shifts instead of twelve, the care is better and we are dealing with human beings not cars or clothes.Mistakes are not fixed as easy once they happen.Putting Nurses back on eight hour shifts would open more jobs,cause less errors and Nurses going into Nursing because they want to care for the sick, not for the hours .

  8. Melissa,

    Just don’t put down on applications you have that 4 months experience if you’re trying to get in to a new grad program.

  9. Dear Melissa,

    I have been a nurse for 33 years and still can remember coming out of nursing school and people not wanting to hire me because I “had no experience”. Finally, a hospital gave me a break and I had four weeks of orientation in the ICU and then was subjected to sink or swim tactics. I understand your dilemma and have a few suggestions:
    1. Take a job that will pay the bills preferably with the hospital you want to work for and offer to come in on your off time to improve your nursing and organizational skills.
    2. Take a job as an RN in a doctor’s office utilizing managerial skills. These circumstances may be a sign that you are not best suited to bedside nursing.
    At the end of my career, I have been placed in a terrible position of working contract work and having to travel for contracts while still having a son and disabled husband to care for. I am too expensive with all my experience to hire and am unable to get any benefits with this job. Always remember that no position will last forever and put 10% aside for emergencies from each paycheck. God bless you and yours!

  10. Larry…You are SO right!…I have been saying this for years…esp when I had to take statistics…still a nightmare since it had NOTHING to do with what I needed to know..You put it excellently!!! Lets face it…when it comes to all those useless subjects….it is to make us pay more $$$$$…..not smarter….Social skills, and possibly finishing school would be a more useful class…and I bet the patients would tell you that first….If I had my way to do it again…I would DEFINITELY be an LPN…and do home care visits….They are not allowed to do admits, ROC, D/C and all the other time-consuming…no pay jobs only an RN can do…..I would rather do two visits at $30 ea than one admit for 55-70….or actually even $100+ it is not worth it….Now I have even offered to just do revisits with an LPN pay…and it is a no go….The industry is so repressed…there is no $$….no benefits like the big companies are paying these smart college grads that do NOT go into nursing….

  11. Scott- I emailed you with some links for corrections jobs in WA state, also some hospital links. Good luck!!

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  13. Thanks for the advice, I graduate in a year from an accelerated BSN and have been hoping to move to the Houston area from where I am now in PA! Glad to know that the outlook is good.

  14. May I ask what area you live in, or if you are aware of any areas in a similar situation? I am in an accelerated BSN program now and will be graduating in about a year. I am definitely looking to move and I’m very flexible, but I am still unsure of where to look for the best opportunities.

  15. Seriously?

    I got an ASN in Orlando Florida. A hotbed of people wanting to work and live here. Big time health care. Big time fun and play. Not great on salaries compared to the north, but oh well….one can make $75k per year as a waiter in a decent restaurant as opposed to $50 k per year as an accountant, but oh well…

    I have an ASN. only 5 years ago from a local community college. No hospital opportunities upon graduation. Found a job in 3 months for a private practice internal medicine doctor. $25 per hour. Then salary. In a year became a hospital rounding nurse. On call, etc etc. Great benefits. No relocation. Then left for greener pastures…

    Went to a staffing company. They found me $60 per year in less than a month as an infusion nurse. No BSN required. Tons of benefits. Retirement, health care, free Disney passes etc etc…

    Then came the pharmaceutical companies. I now work for two of them. Fancy dinners every night. Made $10k last year in nursing focus groups. tons of perks…just got a BSN…no difference in my life, except in will pay dividends down the road as a traveling speaking for said pharm companies. I just stayed in times square on their dime in manhatten for a week..paid me over $1000 plus all expenses…just went to San Fran…same deal…Now going to the Hyatt in Orlando for $79 per hour…

    Point is, if you haven’t figured out how to market yourself and keep waiting for a handout, you are no different than those 400 pound patients you see on disability with high blood pressure and diabetes in poverty on a daily basis, if you are even employed….

    Make your own way, don’t go into nursing for a sure thing/job…go into it because you are someone who can take an opportunity a run with it…good Lord people, quit whining and get a life…

  16. All you nurses that can’t find jobs come to Houston! Wages are good, low cost of living, awesome town and plenty of jobs for you and your spouse.

  17. New RN then be flexible and move to get experience. Too many student nurses I work with say they will not move for a job. Well then you can be unemployed for a long time. In places that pay well like around cities like San Francisco, Boston and San Diego. Cities with a lot of nursing schools and places where people want to live are also hard to find a job. No medical student gets to stay home and learn, so lose your fear and spread your wings, and move for a job. Look online and start applying

  18. Tired of Being a CNA? Nurse assistants are overworked, underpaid, unappreciated and expected to always do more for less. Might be time to find something else to do. Here’s a place that you can vent, hear others with the same experiences and maybe find a better job:


    Hope it helps

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  20. I live in phila pa. Grad RN 2011. I have applied for everything here. Even home care wants 1 year of experience at low pay. Im feeling really desparate right now and feel depressed. I would travel nurse but they say not to do it if you are a new nurse. Any suggestions are welcome

  21. Wow, I tend to disagree on the relevance of chemistry and psychology. As a PICU nurse, chemistry was vital to adequate understanding of fluid & electrolyte therapies, CVVH, etc. Psychology is present in therapeutic communication with patients and families. While I can appreciate your points about being attentive, using hygiene to prevent infection, and diversity, I think a broad educational base is important to a well-rounded nurse. Additionally, I think care managment and leadership skills (the valuable parts of BSN education) will only increase in demand. It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely not a waste of time for many nurses who may have different nursing aspirations.

  22. If anyone has any advice on where is a good place to move to get a nursing job with benefits. Please let me know. I am not interested in reports or statistics about how nurses are in demand. I think that they are skewed.

  23. I went back to school, did a year of pre-reqs and got a scholarship to an LVN program 350 miles from home. So we moved and I graduated. Went back home to find out that hospitals only hire LVN’s as ward clerks or Techs. Only Option was LTC. 30-45 patients, not nearly enough CNA’s to provide quality of care. Forced into double shifts.(Do it or loose your job). $16.50/hr no differentials, no benefits. Working as a nurse with no insurance for my family. Luckily my son qualified for medicaid. I went back to school got an AS in general studies that covered the pre-reqs for my transition to RN. Another year in nursing school and I got my RN. Unable to find a job. Applied everywhere, was told that my LVN experience did not count. I called the hospital where I did clinicals and asked if they would hire me. They did so I made the 108 mile (one way) commute to the hospital to work PRN for $35/hr. I was feeling like I made it. Again, no benefits and worse off because my son no longer qualified for medicaid and still no insurance for all of us. I began applying everywhere with the intent to find a full time job with benefits and working whatever shifts I could get. I finally got an interview 300 miles from home in a correctional facility. On the phone the interviewer said that they really liked my resume and loved the fact that I was an LVN. Got a job offer that included relocation money and a sign on bonus. $19.38/hr ($540/month for insurance) CRAZY. There is no way that we could get by on that having to rent an apartment and basic living costs. We are not fancy people. My car is 12 years old. All kinds of people were saying you have to go where the jobs are. And Alaska is where you can make it. Spoke with the recruiter in Anchorage who stated the wage would be $26/hour and the state legislator has removed some basic benefits (no retirement). Over $800/month for insurance. I am now in a BSN transition. I am doing this with the intent of going on to a masters degree. Working part-time in the Nursing home and taking whatever PN days I can get from the hospital. WHERE ARE THE JOBS? We can move.

  24. The RN to BSN program in California is a SCAM. There is NO evidence to support that an RN who obtains a BSN will be a better nurse. All the BSN program is is a bunch of extra show boat classes that have little to do with real life nursing. For example, Psychology 100 will not make you a better nurse. Nor will taking Chemistry. Or Speech. What is needed to protect lives in the hospitals is teaching nurses to get the hell off their cell phones, Facebook and pay attention to their patients. What is needed is for nurses to WASH their hands. Wash their hair. Practice basic infection control. Patients don’t care if their nurse knows the difference between a prokaryote and an Eukaryote. Patients don’t give a rip if the nurse knows Chemistry as it has NO real life application to patient care from a nurse. Nor does a patient remain safer if an RN has a piece of paper that says they are a BSN. IT’s a complete SCAM. What the state of California, in particular, the California Board of Nursing needs to realize is that they are out of touch with reality. If they want to make a real difference they should remove Chemistry, psychology, speech and all the BS diversity classes from the BSN (bull shit nursing) degree and include How to Wash Your Hands So You Don’t KIll the Patient with MRSA 101, Why it’s important to stay the hell off your cell phone and care for your patient 102, Why you shouldn’t be talking about your patient because it’s a HIPPA violation 103, Why you shouldn’t wear long nails because they poke through gloves and you can harbor S. aureus under your dirty artificial nails…104. And then add How to Care More About Your Patients than How Much You Get an Hour 105, then add a class called “HOW TO BE COMPASSIONATE” 106. Lastly, a class called, “Diversity is more than just talking about blacks, mexicans and gays, let’s talk about how to respect the elderly, handicapped and mentally ill patients since we don’t know what the hell to do with them when they’re in our hospitals and we end up giving them IM injections of antipsychotics instead of proper medical treatment, 107. Boom. There’s your BSN. Nobody cares if you have streak plated a Mannitol Salt Agar. Nobody gives a damn if an RN knows what KOH means. Nobody will ever ask an RN if they can quote statistical research to them. And clearly, no patient will ever ask an RN about their LYMPH system, because the second they do, the RN will refer the patient to speak to their MD. Quit wasting RN’s time with these BS classes and get REAL. Maybe if the people at the California Board of Nursing would exist their dusty offices and get back into the field they will recall that not one patient will ever give a sh^% about whether or not an RN has a BSN because all they care about is good care and that is not delivered by simply getting a BSN.

  25. Well here’s an update: My brother has opened a visiting nurse agency in Westchester, PA. If anyone is looking for work in that area and would like to work as a visiting RN or LPN, please reply here with your email address, and I will get you in contact with his agency.

    We want to create more jobs for nurses. Thanks!

  26. Even with 5 years experience in the US and another 10 outside of the US it is a handicap race to find a good job. There are jobs where companies “drain” your energy for low pay and expect a factory like output. It is really disheartening to realize that investing in a BSN degree can bring you more heartache than joy, especially when you are a truly compassionate nurse. I think there is a lot of hype so the schools can make the money and keep on producing more nurses. I have not seen the shortage and I am a nurse in Florida that has worked in Tennessee and I now am looking to relocate. Be sure to do your research before you move and see that you have plenty of options available.

  27. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing jobs are growing. In particular, one of the most common nursing job is that of a registered nurse. They’re expected to grow 19% over the next decade, which is faster than the average of about 11% for all occupations.

    I like to believe that the BLS has no connection with nursing schools. With that said, the outlook looks pretty good to me.

  28. Bittboo – sadly hospitals here do not “count” long term care experience. They want acute care experience.

  29. Can’t find nurses in many rural areas (Canada). I think its a city glut and a rural shortage here.

  30. Ms Shelly, I think you and a few others are missing a key point- there is not a nursing shortage EVERYWHERE. You’re talking about YOUR area. Well, in MY area, nurses get hired very easily because there is indeed a shortage. Saturated with nursing schools? Of course there’s no shortage in your area! If more new grads were willing to take home care and nursing home positions, they would have their one year experience and could build upon that experience in one of the areas were there are shortages. Like many other fields, you may have to move to get the job you want as a nurse.

  31. It is near impossible for new grads to find enjoyment in our area. We are saturated with nursing schools with more in a 200 mile radius than some states have. Of the three hospital systems in that radius only one has a new grad residency program and they hire MAYBE 150 nurses a year for this program. However, there are approximately 2700 new graduates in that same year. One of the other systems will occasionally hire new nurses, but it is rare and there is no formal training… it’s sink or swim. The only area in nursing that is growing and has somewhat of a shortage is home health, both for PDN and skilled visit nurses. Problem there is that the pay is no where near hospital pay and often there are no benefits. Also, there is still a stigma that these nurses are second rate in comparison to acute care RNs. You spend thousands to get a degree to work 1-2 years in home care making the same money people without degrees are earning hoping that some hospital will eventually take a chance on you since you have experience. Then you wind up in am even worse situation because hospitals now don’t want to take a chance on you because you haven’t used acute skills since school so you are worse than a new grad in their eyes. I was one of the lucky ones, but have seen this over and over. When hospitals are able to pick and choose and continue to boost their minimum requirements, please tell me how that equivocates to a shortage?

  32. I wrote about this problem back in 2009, from http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/28/4/w657/reply#healthaff_el_17390

    ” I have experienced some new caveats to our current situation that I believe may be of interest. I graduated May 2008 with my BSN in Northern California and did everything by the book (hundreds of apps, spoke with managers, thank you notes, ACLS, BLS, professional resume, LTC, SNF, etc.) and was unable to locate employment. When an offer was made, my children and I relocated to a rural town four hours away. Sadly, after four months of orientation, I was told I “failed orientation” and they needed an experienced RN. My children and I moved again. Recently I applied to a Versant New Grad Residency. I made it through their first round of interviews but was told that I was no longer a “New Grad” due to my previous four months of experience!

    So, not only am I not experienced enough to work as a staff nurse, but I am no longer considered a New Grad! So, where do I fit in? I feel that if I cannot get into a New Grad program I will have the same unstructured learning demands and unrealistic expectations placed on me similar to my first failed hospital experience. It also appears that the longer it takes for me to find employment, the more reservations the employers have towards me.

    I have researched my situation. It appears my peers from nursing school are experiencing similar situations. http://www.allnurses.com, an all-nurses Web site, further elaborates that my situation is happening all over the U.S.A. to new nursing graduates.”

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  34. Amen! The ANA grants it after magnet is bought. Not achieved bought. It’s just a joke.

  35. I’m absolutely convinced there is no nursing shortage. Haven’t worked as a nurse since I graduated many years ago. If there truly were a lack of nurses, you wouldn’t have hospitals or other health care organizations demanding a min. of 1 year’s experience. Almost every single opening is demanding that and they make it known “New grads not welcome.” The H-1C visa program needs to be shut down and have new grad training as in the past. I just get so tired of reading about some nursing shortage when it’s really that they’re too cheap or lazy to train and want nurses that are already experienced. Stop perpetuating the fraud.

  36. I tend to agree with Mr. Williams as far as nursing shortages go because hospitals hold monopsony power over the nursing profession, so shortages really don’t have much to do with hiring practices. However, the most disturbing part of Mr. Williams’ article is his contention that Nursing as a profession will be replaced by robots. He clearly has no idea as to what the profession of Nursing does. He gives quite a few examples of how some TECHNICIANS have been replaced by machines, however if one takes a closer look, none of the jobs that he lists actually requires much human interaction. Whether Mr. Williams wants to accept it or not, human interaction is an important component of all health care transactions. Yes, Nursing requires technical skill but it also requires insight, advocacy and a host of other professional characteristics and responsibilities that cannot even begin to be measured…and it may come as a surprise to Mr. Williams but these intangible aspects of Nurses’ work SAVE LIVES EVERY DAY! Unfortunately, he believes that the care nurses provide can be simply replaced by machines that interact with patients based on a series of algorithms — how sad and shortsighted. If he really does believe that…then perhaps he also believes robots should also replace physicians? No, no, not just in the operating suite but perhaps robots should conduct all primary care visits, make rounds in the hospitals…etc.? Wow, what a vision for the future of health care…to be a sick, scared, and vulnerable human being and to have model #XZ674 providing you with all your care! I know, I know…but robots would save so much money — that’s really what it is all about. Mr. Williams’ post is a prime example of how Nurses as a group have remained silent in educating the public about the true value that they bring to health care…it’s time to speak up. However, Mr. Williams’ point is well-taken, there are certainly many out there…particularly in the tech industry that share his thoughts and see plenty of opportunity to reap a huge windfall by eliminating the nursing workforce. Nurses should not overlook such viewpoints but rather try to understand them, and then respond accordingly. I guess we will see how things play-out in the near future…Meanwhile Mr. Williams’ I sincerely hope for your sake that if you are ever hospitalized…sick, scared and vulnerable…that you will have the benefit of the services of a living, breathing professional nurse to care for you…rather than that of a robot.

  37. A very sobering assessment and to be honest a downright scary one for a nursing student to contemplate. The one thing I have going for me is my willingness to relocate and these are skills and degrees that you can take with you!

  38. Cute.

    The study serving as the basis of your argument was done by the American Society of Registered Nurses from Jan. 1 2009 to March 31, 2010. Three year old data from the time period immediately following one of the greatest modern recessions hardly qualifies as a rock of truth.

    I’ve never had a problem finding a job, nor has my mother, or any of my colleagues.

    The fact that you think technology can replace what nurses provide only proves two things.

    1) You don’t understand nursing
    2) MedPharma the company you co-founded pushes healthcare technology and services.

  39. David Williams is the founder of a technology healthcare services group as is prominently noted in his bio.

    He argues that flight engineers, actuaries and junior lawyers have all but been eliminated and, since their levels of education are similar to nurses in terms of number of years (?), technology will somehow bridge the gap for a need for more nurses.

    Flight engineers have moved. The need for mechanical monitoring on a plane has been replaced by many computers which, in and of themselves, have created far more jobs than they’ve eliminated given the level of complexity of current airplanes.

    Actuaries were the #6 top paying job with a median income of almost $130,000 topping out at nearly $250k according to CNN. Given the laws of supply and demand, how could a job that has been replaced by computers demand such a high salary? Maybe the technology has enable the actuaries…

    Finally, paralegals and starting lawyers… In 2008 the economy imploded. When there is no economic activity the need for lawyers of any sort decrease. But look at how much paralegals were being paid in 2008 and the level of demand was incredible.

    Technology enables humans to do even more. Nurses are not factory workers. They don’t do the same repetitive tasks over and over again that can be replace by a robot. Nurses, as with doctors, must make decisions that require sound judgement and split second timing.

  40. Exactly, Marg! I can name about seven general areas in the us that are in desperate need of nurses. When I graduated, I had my current employer offer to fly me down fir an interview in sw florida, then pay for my move. I have been offered jobs from others ever since I moved here!

  41. Price T, first off all, there are indeed employers desperate for nurses in certain areas. Secondly, a nurse with a MASTERS can write a prescription in almost every state! The majority of my family sees a nurse practitioner instead of an MD and gets all if their needs met that way.

  42. Really? No nursing shortage? Try telling that to employers in southwest florida. I’ve been recruited by literally a dozen employers this year.

  43. You’re not trying to find jobs anywhere else, are you? I’m telling you people, there’s no “myth”. You just aren’t looking in the right cities. Period,

  44. You need to move. You are in ONE place. There are thousands of options. If you want a job, move to where there ARE jobs. There are very real nursing shortages all over the country. Just because your area isn’t one of them doesn’t mean there’s some massive conspiracy going on.

  45. Sorry jjr, but you also need to know that your area of California is not the end all be all. There are 49 other states, and plenty of other areas in your own state that indeed do have need for nurses. Perhaps you do not interview well, or perhaps there are many nursing programs in your area, with fewer jobs than most areas, but is can tell you hat in southwest florida, they are paying big bucks to get nurses set up there, even trying to recruit from other states. They have a very real shortage and nurses can take their pick. I think the problem with many people who believe this nursing shortage is a “myth” are relying on their own experience which could be a cause of any number of personal issues, or they are looking at areas that are not suffering from an MD, and us a nursing shortage. Tara is not diving a “disservice”- she is truthfully telling people that there are plenty of nursing jobs available where she lives, which there are. It’s bizarre you think that everyone who disagrees with you is either lying or mistaken. Trust me, you don’t know everything about this. Not by a long shot. I don’t know one nurse that has been having trouble finding work since they graduated. Not one.

  46. jjr, you’re delusional! I know very few Asian nurses, actually. Every nurse I work with IS American. Asian-American, yes. But “cheap Asian new grads”?! What?! You think because someone comes from another country their employer can short their salary? You need to get your head on straight.

  47. As I was reading your comments, some are just ridiculous and others ring some truth. I wish each of you included what part of the country you live in. I am in Central Texas and let me tell you, you can get a job as RN today-new grad or not. If you decided to move to San Antonio, which is a very large city, you can pick and choose where you would like to work. So, my point is, it all depends where you live.

  48. What this article, and many like it, fails to mention is that the shortage isn’t universally distributed. The shortage is most visible in areas that most folks don’t want to live. The result is, if you’re willing to live in the middle of nowhere you can get a job in short order. However, demographic trends towards urban living are very clear; more people live in cities than in the country. The result is lots of nurses looking for work in cities and not finding it, while rural hospitals are woefully understaffed.

  49. Part of the reason for postulating a nursing shortage so the universities can sell their RN-BSN and higher degree programs by telling people that more nurses with higher degrees will be needed to handle all the aging baby boomers. They also say nurses with higher degrees will be needed to teach in nursing education programs. These are lies thrown out there by the very people who stand to gain by convincing nurses to run back for higher degree. Magnet Status is another scam. Many hospitals say they want BSN nurses due to magnet status attainment. Yet many of these hospitals rent or lease space to schools offering RN-BSN programs. Get the idea. Magnet Status is not about providing superior patient care. It’s about the large government stipends the hospitals get for purchasing Magnet Status. That’s right, purchasing. A hospital pays the ANA thousands of dollars to have evaluators come in and grant magnet status.

  50. I see why Obama was so desperate about creating Obamacare, yes it is true that there will be millions of people that will need medical care in the future, the problem is that a lot of these people can’t afford healthcare, or most jobs do not offer it.

  51. Sarah BSN, I feel bad for you that you were so unexposed to patients during your schooling. That is not the norm. I was exposed to more than just scut work during clinicals, and I think most BSN programs train their students far beyond CNA status! You should petition for a refund if you graduated without the ability to do anything other than assisting with bathroom duties.

  52. You don’t “buy this logic”?? Lol, and who are you? A writer. A writer without a lick of knowledge about nursing OR the future of the profession. So I’m sitting here wracking my brain as to why you are the one writing this insanely incorrect and ridiculous article? Tell medical professionals in south Florida and Mississippi the nursing shortage is a “myth”. I have both hospitals and private facilities offering me jobs left and write. I can take my pick. Read more. A lot more.

  53. Left my nursing job at a very prestigious, well-funded big city teaching hospital in the South. All our LVNs were let go two years ago if they were not currently enrolled in a professional nursing program. The hospital wanted Magnet status. It might be interesting to see if these formerly devalued LVNs who made the grade to ADN ( which is the route most of them went) are able to then become BSNs. This hospital hires new grads …BSN only.
    The expectations and demands that this hospital puts on its nursing staff are huge .Not just during working hours, private life as well. Extra time (one’s own) must be applied to documented community service, staff inservice presentations, updating of a personal “brag book” of sorts that enumerates all these accomplishments….this item had to be turned in yearly to the DON for one’s yearly performance evaluation.
    I used to love being a nurse; I’m tired of being asked to drink the koolaid. Healthcare has always been a business; now it’s a HUGE business, and very cutthroat. I am not willing to invest in another degree, and I see it coming down the road at this hospital, where I wouldn’t have a job there without it.
    So I said goodbye to that and found a non-nursing job that meets my needs

  54. What has happened to the nursing field is so sad! I don’t believe business belongs in the healthcare field. There is too much of a conflict of interest. I wish I knew the solution.

    Obviously there are many components to this multifaceted issue. I think part of the problem is the lack of training nursing students receive in school. As a new grad from a university in NJ, I have only ever “managed” 1 patient in the clinical setting. I was not allowed to handle anything with blood, including something as simple as performing blood sugar checks. I have inserted a Foley catheter once, and have never performed wound care. Basically, we were there to answer call bells, clean patients, and assist them in going to the bathroom. I’m not saying that I’m above performing basic bedside care; in fact, I genuinely loved that one-on-one time with patients (I am one of those new grads that really wants to know my future patients.) Also, all nurses should be well versed in the absolute basics. However, as a reHsult, I am more trained to be a nursing assistant than an RN. It’s true that anyone can be trained to perform nursing tasks and nursing is far more than simply executing tasks. But hospitals are really starting at square one with new grads. The special skills nurses need could be better cultivated if preceptors weren’t training new grads who have so little practical experience in such basic acts.

    Nursing residencies programs seem like a great way bridge to close this gap, but unfortunately, they are just too competitive.

  55. There r no jobs in nursing. Pretty sad. The only desire out there for the myhical jobs is that administrators have people they can pay cheap and not question their big egos. Horizontal violence is a big unadressed problem in nursing. I went to nursing school 13 yes ago. Worked in it for a few yrs. Id never recommend it as a profession. There is no stability. Some of the most nasty folks id ever met were in the medical profession. The colleges are pigs. They perpetuate the myth of nursing. And the hospital administrators r creeps.

  56. I have devoted 30 years to nursing and continue to do a jam up job. My specialty is ICU/PCU and it seems as if I am unemployable due to the cost of my experience. Now I am literally being left with no choice other than travel nursing which will take me away from my home base and my family. They will be coming with me on this adventure, though.

    It pains me to hear that hospitals are going back to hiring Asian nurses. They were doing this when I first graduated and I was told by my manager, “If you don’t like your job(being understaffed), leave and I’ll hire two Philipinos in your place.” They will never learn that in order for a patient to learn from someone, they must be able to understand them.

  57. The reason for the shortage- at least in the South- is that the new nurses come out expecting to be respected for their brain and assisted with the heavy physical work in patient care. After a few years of not having their expectations realized, they decide to go to NP school, because “I can’t do this until I retire.” So the older nurses are left in the trenches to continue to render excellent patient care. At least this is what I have been seeing.

  58. You GOT it!!!!!!

    I’m headed for informatics…that hasn’t been invaded yet.

  59. David,
    I’ve thought this for years. I’ve been telling people….There IS no nursing shortage. It’s all based on fear. I’ve seen nurses walked out of hospitals in droves over the last few years. People think it’s lifelong employment??????
    Think again!!! When you get too old (I mean 50), out you go, when you get too loud or have an illness?? Out you go. Of course, they never come out and say that, because then you would sue them!!! I despise what nursing has become. There are many good nurses out there. They stay out of compassion for their patients. This BS will come around.. A PhD in Nursing????? Puhleaze!!!!!!!!! You still can’t write a prescription!!

  60. In UK nobody will respond to this alert nor collect official figs. Many new graduates cannot get jobs (Lenin Nightingale analysis). Is it a front to stop paying for them? Yet in Uk we rely on overseas nurses- and certificates not checked for authenticity it seems against approved University. it is highly political.

  61. You need the BSN for management not bedside nursing. I’ve met many BSN’s who were just awful on the floor. It seems many want to escape grueling direct patient care by becoming “MANAGEMENT.” They do not treat floor nurses as peers and are horrible bullies.

  62. Stacy, your last two sentences really resonated. Poignant, beautifully stated, and unfortunately seems to be largely unrecognized in the nursing profession. Mention “moral distress” (I have) to many nurses or non-nurses and often you will be met with a blank stare. Thank you for articulating this. Not sure if there is a way to fix it…with the medical culture these days, the more bloodless the nurse is, it seems, the better.

  63. The nursing “shortage” is just a business, nothing more nothing else. That is really sad. For I can see education is a huge business as well. Schools make profits of all these “shortage” careers that do not exist. Have you ever seen the forums or websites of nurses talking about how much they hate nursing? Google it or type it in Youtube. Some people have the courage to say it on youtube eventhoguh they can be reconized by their schools or future work places. SCARY!

  64. So i guess nurses (who you most likely aren’t) will just be taking care of code browns, and robots will do the rest.

  65. Personally I think there are a number of factors that may be feeding the idea the shortage is a myth. Many hospitals are attempting to become Magnet. This is the equivalent for four stars from a nursing standpoint. Problem is typically there is a requirement for the a certain percentages of BSN in the hospital for this to happen (not to mention current research which supports better patient outcomes with higher percentages of BSN RNs). The most common licensing at the moment is ADN. Another issue with your post is you don’t specify what types of nurses have been job hunting for 18 month… LPN? Possibly because hospitals aren’t utilizing them like they did in the past. APN? Advanced practice nurses can have trouble if they live in an area with a population program.

    You also see to have no idea what is going on in the hospitals. Federal mandates are requiring electronic medical records, and many hospitals don’t have the resources to make this change seemly and time effective. Additionally, many hospitals have begun to task nurses with additional roles. No only am I doing my nursing roles, I am also responsible for making sure the medication is the CORRECT med (I don’t mean I received the correct med – I mean the correct one was ordered), correct dose, etc. I am responsible for safety checks hourly (consider a 4-6 pt load) etc.

    So while where you may be located seem saturated with nurses. Tell them to look around. Your first job is going to be night shift and weekends, so you aren’t going to find a comfortable day shift. They may have to drive a little, or move – but I promise the jobs ARE out there.

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  67. I agree Peggy! Why to we have to nullify each others talents and skills like that? I used to work PICU, I’ve had my hands in an baby’s open chest doing CPR. When we had to float to med/surg I felt so inadequate and overwhelmed. When they occasionally had to float to my unit, they were terrified they would accidentally kill a kid. They are different skill sets, and our brains are all wired differently. I have much respect for all nurses, when you find your niche, you should be celebrated for all you do for your group of patients. I would like to encourage those who hate their jobs to GET OUT! Find another unit to try. The one thing that is uniquely nursing is the bazillion different settings you can practice in. Administration IS the problem, and until we all gang up on them, they always will be…

  68. Great post Holly! I agree with your comments. Informatics is a GREAT area to be in right now!

  69. Wow. Lots of speculating on here. The nursing shortage is regional. If you are willing to travel, you will get a job as an RN. I would agree with those who have posted the need for an entry level to the profession. Although Masters and Advanced Practice Nurses generally don’t do bedside nursing. The BSN should be the minimum level of education for nurses in my opinion. To the LPN who thinks BSN programs teach management skills, you’re wrong. What you learn is critical thinking, cultural competency, communication skills, nursing process, etc. These are the skills hospitals don’t have time to provide on-th-job. I have been a nurse for 15 years. I am currently getting my masters, and also am an adjunct instructor for clinicals at a local university. LPN’s are not licensed to deal with the majority of patients (requiring assessments, education, etc) in the hospitals. They generally work in nursing homes now. Several LPN’s have gone back to school in our program and lack basic nursing attributes such as critical thinking, dosage calculation and basic anatomy and physiology. The reason so many nursing licenses are inactive is because too many nurses are overwhelmed by inadequate staffing levels, decreased patient contact, long hours and are tired of working nights/holiday/weekends. Part of the problem also lies in the communication and support of each other, lack of using evidence-based practices, and unwillingness to speak up when facilities are engaging in unsafe practices. Most people become nurses because they want to help people. When they get their training to finally be able to do so, it’s often a rude awakening that constraints often cause them moral distress in their jobs instead of satisfaction that you’re helping another human being.

  70. There are many jobs “posted” but most of those are ghost jobs that are being advertised to keep the working nurses thinking that help is coming when it is common to have a load of 10+ patients or more. In reality 100+ applications are coming into HR and being thrown in the trash. In the Pacific Northwest there are many RN’s on unemployment regardless of ADN, Diploma, or BSN. There are plenty of schools pumping out nurses for when the “boomers” retire. It will only get around by word of mouth that nursing is not a guaranteed profession for work.

  71. In the Pacific Rim, nurses train with a 50 patient caseload. The patients are like guinea pigs. Do you think they hold back while training, fearful of making a mistake the way American nurses do? Of course they have more “hands on” experience.

  72. The Philippines only spends 3% of its GNP on healthcare. Their kids die of pneumonia and they stick out the begging bowl for foreign aid instead of “nursing” their own. Let’s not forget the role of a certain large religious denomination in bringing in these nurses for decades and degrading working conditions for American nurses.

  73. I think I came across the wrong way. I do not look down on M/S nurses. I simply could not do it myself. My pathetic attempt at humor apparently was a flop. It simply angers me when people try to convince others that nursing is still a viable proposition. It is not. The placement rate for new grads nationwide, after 18 months, is about 12%. Over half the nursing licenses are inactive. I work in an ER 1 day a week in addition to flying, and ALL of our ER techs are RN’s. Every single one.
    They used to be EMT’s.
    Realize, the people that did graduate after, say, 2006, when I graduated, are 50-90k in debt, have an 12% chance of finding work and are, understandably pissed. They were told that nursing jobs are everywhere, and look on hospital websites…forgetting those are rarely current, and even if there is an opening, in most cases it goes to someone from within, or to a Pacific rim nurses(except ER and ICU) And yes, I do look cool in my flight suit, but it’s the helmet, the wings on the front, and the big “Flight Nurse” patch on the back that really does it. That, and you get to tell even physicians what to do…

  74. Here lies the PROBLEM , as was stated in several previous entries. It is called horizontal violence. And I don’t mean Flight Nurses going ninja against MS nurses or the like. As seems typical, and especially for female nurses who still make up the bulk of this profession (sorry to be sexist but my eyes have seen, and my ears have heard) there is bitching, ego tripping, “well can you do THIS???” back stabbing, etc. Sometimes I’ve felt as if I were in an episode of “The Bachelor” , god forbid, witnessing nurses vie against each other for the attention / respect of MDs. Sorry but from my standpoint this is TRUE. It’s easier to bitch bitch bitch, hurt each other, when just imagine, if we could redirect all of this energy and just tell the hospital administrators ENOUGH ! I am sick of this profession as it is for one. Which is sad. Most of us go into nursing because we want to help people. But most of us end up working for hospitals / clinics “nonprofit” btw is a JOKE. We work for bean counting, bottom line oriented managers / administrators. So why are we taking our anger out on each other? I don’t understand. Obviously I’m angry too. Myself, I’m seriously considering opening up a coffee kiosk or something where I don’t have to work in this utterly dysfunctional system we have. So thanks for letting me rant too. Oh and BTW I worked med surg too, and if you think all I did was take patients to the bathroom you must , as another said earlier, be from a different planet. For one, I never had the time, I often had to delegate to the CNAs, who worked their assess off by the way. I was too busy charting, interpreting orders, often having to get them clarified, etc. I’m glad to hear you made it into your fancy Flight Nurse suit, but please stop stepping on us “lowly” MS nurses. Yes you are exactly part of the problem. You would be of more help leaving your flight nurse job and going into politics with your ego, and trying give us all a louder , proactive voice.

  75. There is a nursing shortage for JOBS. There are new nursing schools on every corner. Competition goes up, wages go down and we all become part time. I am very discouraged after buying into it 8 years ago.

  76. There is definitely a nursing shortage and it has everything to do with money and nothing else. The organizations that hire nurses are run by the dollar not the patient needs. If they feel they can get away with minimal dollars on care they will do it and overload the nurses they do have. And no one encourages a new nurse to not look for a job, organizations want junior nurses so they can pay less money and push them around because they are new and do not know any different and yes pharmaceutical companies own the health care arena.

  77. From the bls.gov website, it says the job outlook for nurses is about 26%. That is a good percentage. If you look at the other jobs you posted, flight engineer (11%), paralegal’s (18%) you see they have a lower job outlook. So not really great career choices over nursing. However, you did say actuaries. They have a outlook of 27%, a bit higher than nurses. There are not as many jobs as an actuary compared to nursing but it is better to look into than the other two. Just my 2 cents.

  78. You’re spot on! Hospitals choose not to hire, to keep the employment roster lean. Then scramble when the patient load is above a grid, often shifting the responsibility of finding needed staff to the nurses working the short shift. It’s very discouraging. Nursing is a labor and intellectually intensive position, whose performance at an “excellent” level involves very sophisticated interpersonal and knowledgeable acumen. Robots and automated systems may alleviate some of the chaos that organizational consultants have foisted on the floors, however you will never be able to substitute the benefit of a single nurse who can assess a patient’s status, identify the appropriate interventions, and act all in a seamless moment, while simultaneously advocating for the patient’s wishes. That’s what nurses do. That’s the value we bring and we need an advocate who is articulate and determined enough to persistently reinforce this to the public.

  79. I just graduated from nursing school in May. I passed my boards on June 25th. I have yet to find a job!!! So, yes, I agree there is no nursing shortage. I am very discouraged and have bills coming in and no money left!!! Guess I will just have to find a non-nursing job!

  80. David, oh David… Until u have walked in my shoes you don’t know crap about nursing. Do u want ur mom or dad to be treated by a robot?!?! A nurse is a patient advocate, a robot is not! A nurse has life experience and empathy, a robot does not! Go kiss your own dumb ass butt and leave nursing to the people who actually care about people… As far as new grads not finding jobs has nothing to do with the shortage, the shortage is absolutely there, the problem is the economy, it’s very expensive to orient new nurses and when the percent of new nurses who leave the field in the 1st yr is 20% hospitals have a hard time paying the money to train, not knowing if the nurse will stay. So get your facts straight! Nursing is a highly educated, dedicated, caring profession that I am proud to be a part of!

  81. You hit the bulls eye when you say that the purveyors of nursing shortage are the nursing schools themselves because in reality there is no nursing shortage either now or in the future. Just consider this: about a month ago, a bay area newspapers(mercury) ran an article half page about the purported nursing shortage explaining that nurses will be in “demand” in the future but then again at the half page is an ad of “st mary school of nursing. The truth of the matter is, there is no nursing shortage. And new graduates are treated like they have leprosy. I am an RN and I am working as a caregiver. I met a lot of caregiver who are lpn and rn. But people will believe what they want to believe so let them go to nursing schools and suffered big loans, its a democracy! Another thing to do, why dont you go to costco and other stores and wear your scrubs, chances are you will be asked where you work and if there is still a vacancy because they are rn and would love to work as an rn rather than as a cashier, but then again, it your choice!!!

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  83. Ill tell you this the patient load is way overloaded. So maybe there needs to be ten times the amount of nurses. OHHHH I forgot Obamacare took care of that little hope.

  84. Yah tell me how that is with all those recruits running a trauma code!? Scary right! Your co workers are supposed to be your backbone!

  85. Agreed. Network like any job! You can’t just have a degree, apply, and get it! Nursing is a profession like all the others. Volunteer, work crappy (literally) jobs, babysit for the doctors, work your ass off for that career you have always wanted!

  86. Sure, 700,000 more jobs…on paper. Just like my hospital says ” you will have one nurse for every four patients” and I have 6-9 in the ER. Positions are “open” and many people apply, and their application goes into a black hole. So Yes, there will be more ‘nursing jobs’ but will hospitals be able to afford them? Probably not! Only be a nurse is you want to be a nurse!

  87. I always wonder about these jobs posted too. I apply to these jobs and never hear back, it’s like they don’t existed and are only posted to fulfill the quota they must show for being “not for profit” institution.

  88. It is time TO TELL IT LIKE IT IS! Nurses let their own profession drive TRUCKS over them. Then when they speak up it is with a nursing union that winds up stabbing them in the back! WHY are nurses so spineless. So fearful of retaliation and retribution so they say and do nothing, to advocate for themselves?! It is ridiculous. In a newly released book that addresses “Toxic Nursing:…” a “controversial” recommendation was made to resolve the problems with nursing. The resolution offered was to higher more men!

  89. Hey Tara..

    I am answering to your post below..it just won’t let me comment there. About the legal field-I know, but I have an “in”(half my family are attorneys and are counting the seconds until “1 more of us” passes the bar.
    I know Hopkins has a flight program, one of the best. I applied for Vanderbilt Lifeflight, the best program in the country, but so did about 5,000 others, from what I understand.
    I didn’t know Hopkins was hiring. I work on the MOTOGP(The motorcycle equivelant of Formula one cars) safety team, and your former head of Nuerology, Dr. Jonathan Wisse, is our head Nuerologist.
    If Hopkins is hiring new grads, that amazes me. Maybe the market is just different here.
    Yes, I would have NEVER attended Law School if it weren’t for ‘Good ‘ol Nepotism. (Really nothing to be proud of, but recessions sometimes make people re-asses their life rules, such as never working for a relative)
    I have letters of Acceptance from USC, NYU and Boston College(irony). I have been hearing law students are actually suing their law schools because they can’t get jobs. Hell, our BEST placement school, places 60% of their students within a year. Most are in the 30’s. Better than nursing schools, out here anyway.
    Shoot me a link if you can to hopkins flight department or hr..

    See Ya


  90. My money says you are not a Nurse. There are 10 times the amount of nurses needed. It is Absurd.

  91. Hey Jason,
    We have a ton of jobs here in the DC area. I am certainly not doing a disservice by encouraging students. I’m not sure who said 30 years. Not me … I’ve been a nurse for nine. I went to law school to do policy work, which I may eventually do. But I’m not making it up. In our area, students get jobs. I care about what my students are experiencing. And I don’t sugar coat the reality of what working in our field is really like. I also encourage them to think past the bedside. I am a nurse not because I needed a job to do something, but because people and healthcare are important. We still need people with high morals to come into the profession.

    If you want to talk about what types of schools have problems with encouraging enrollment. Law schools have some serious issues now. I went to law school in Florida, and while I had a job in Florida, I chose to move to DC because I needed a change and wanted to do policy work. I can work 24/7 here as a nurse if I wanted to, but I’ve been licensed as an attorney in Virginia for 3 years this October. No job. And not even any prospects.

    You will hear … nursing and law? What a great combination. But they will not want to pay you. Also my friend graduated from law school in California in 2008. Still no job. She teaches criminal justice classes at ITT.


    Most lawyers even in this area are doing doc review work(the kind mentioned in the article) for less than they make as nurses. And you might think you’ll make money as an LNC, but law school won’t help you any more than what you could do right now.

    The legal field is the worst market ever right now. If you have a free ride through law school … go. It’s an awesome experience. But if you have to pay. Think twice. Or maybe more than twice.

  92. As far as J Thompson goes – don’t waste your time. As we know, either of us can be trained to do “stuff” to people. (e.g., put in a chest tube in a moving helicopter, etc) … I can train to be a flight nurse – as I was a trauma nurse before I went to med-surg, but there is no way he could ever do my job (especially not the one I have teaching new nurses) – or yours. Our jobs require compassion and understanding for all people, not just a set of skills to be performed on them. I agree, the foul attitude and hyper-inflated unjustified ego is the issue there.

  93. Here’s the Irony..I am STARTING law school in August. No lie…at least in California, there are no Nursing jobs, and that’s real. I know many folks from ’09,’10 and ’11 students that have not found work, even at SNF’s. I firmly believe my class(07_ was the last that actually had any chance of finding work.
    That is one of the reasons I am leaving the field-the quality of nurses has dropped so fast, so far it boggles the mind; and manning ER’s with Nurses that don’t have the same training, competence and langauge and communication skills as those that are trained here is insane.
    To get my Job, I had to work on a 911 ambulance, then work in an ER, get my paramedics, get my BSN(all while working ER) work as an ER BSN for 4 years, and then get on Helo’s. These nurses they have now have virtually no experience at all, and those that due, are not familiar with our equipment, etc..Cost has overcome patient care.
    You truly are doing a diservice, however, by encouraging nursing right now. It is a closed field at the moment. You must know that, especially considering, as you say, you have been at it for 30 years. You haven’t noticed the quality of new nurses dropping, the chronic understaffing, the shorter the breaks, etc..seriously?
    Damn..where do you work and do they have a flight program?

  94. I don’t know where you live, but out in my neck of the woods hospitals haven’t been hiring nurses for years. The nursing shortage is real, don’t I wish. Let me guess….you would NOT be a working nurse?

  95. 6 new grads on ONE UNIT in one year. Our unit has a fairly high retention rate. It’s a 21 bed unit. So 6 new grads out of a total of 15 or so nurses on the unit is not too bad.

    And I do not have new RN grads working as PCTs. These are nursing students who want to work while in school. They gain experience and stay on to work as RNs. Just like I did when I was in school. Our RN grads get RN jobs.

    It is kind of obvious to me why you are not currently employed. See above about how some simply will not get hired due to personality issues. Nursing is a caring profession, not a means to an easy paycheck.

  96. 3 new grads over the past 2 months, and 3 other new grads a year ago. That says it all. 6 new grad jobs in one year. Sounds like the nursing shortage is a myth to me!! WHY are you encouraging new grad RN’s to take patient care tech or nursing assistant jobs when they are RN’s? Obviously you are protecting your paycheck as a nursing instructor because the scant new grad RN jobs that you express are available as a positive, doesn’t support the churning out of new grad RN’s consistently through the nursing programs that are NOT necessary!

  97. What do you suggest in terms of stopping the H1-B Visas? Make a plan, start an initiative, and work towards some type of legislation. In my region we don’t have an issue with that. Yes, Hopkins is actually hiring. I currently work at one of their hospitals PRN, and we have three new grads on our floor right now who weren’t even there when I worked two months ago. Also, we hired at least three other new grads over the past year.

    I am a clinical instructor only, so in terms of how I help students with job seeking, I make sure they make connections with unit managers on the floors where we really have good relationships with the staff during our rotations. I encourage them to apply to PCT positions. Most places we go pretty much guarantee that they’ll stay on as nurses after they graduate. I had two students in my last group of 4 clinical students apply for jobs during my last rotation. Both were hired. That was at a non-Hopkins facility. One student needed to be encouraged to follow up with applications, etc … But the main thing is that people really need to be proactive.

    Now, I am also a lawyer … If you want to talk about a poor job market, I can talk to you about that one! Thank heavens I’m a nurse!


  98. Although I am employed and love what I do, I see the writing on the wall..Start Grad school in August(law, not nursing)
    Nursing has been good to me, but I honestly think that my class, 2007, was the last class that had a chance. Signing bonuses, department choice,
    moving pay, it was all there, and no one wanted the problems associated with Pacific Nurses.
    Now it is much different. Bedside manner, infection control and patient comfort have given way to the almighty dollar. As I stated in another post, American trained nurses are no-go, but many hospitals are actively recruiting from the Pacific rim Countries.
    One thing, though. The LVN/LPN is dying. Some work Psyc, but most are already gone in hospitals

  99. I started on an ambulance(as an EMT), got my paramedics, worked 911 for a year, got on as an ER tech, then, when I graduated, got hired as an RN in the ER, then moved on to flight after a few years. That was in 2007. I doubt you can do that anymore, as Paramedics are a dime a dozen now, too.

  100. Bottom line, man. There are 2 ways, and only 2 ways to get hired these days. 1) GET ON STAFF SOMEWHERE. Anything..CNA. Anything. Work there for a year or so and bust your behind and start talking to department heads, lead nurses, etc. or 2) Nepotism. You have a relative, Friend, etc. that can get you on. That’s about it. Sure, there are the occasional people that just click during clinicals with someone and get hired on, but that is RARE.
    Filling out an app online does nothing, except waste your time.(You probably already know that one)

  101. As A BSN, I agree. But something must be done about H1-B Visas and imported Nurses. Besides doing nothing but leaving Americans unemployed, at our hospital, at least, there are always complaints about poor bedside manner, speaking a foreign language in the halls(which alarms some patients), not being “team Players”, to say nothing of the rising rates of infections, etc.
    I say get all AMERICAN BSN’s employed FIRST, then, the RN’s..the recruit overseas.
    Are you sure Hopkins is hiring, or just ADVERTIZING they are hiring.? And New Grads? Big difference between hiring and advertizing you are hiring. If you look at our website, we have 50+ openings for RN’s.
    We haven’t hired a nurses in more than a year.
    Bottom line, In California, we have 172,000 licensed RN’s, over 1/2 are inactive without ever being employed. The state needs fewer than 23,500 RN’s to run everything. All the Hospitals, Care facilities, everything.

  102. First of all, I work Part Time in a level 1 Trauma center in a very large hospital.(most CFRN’s do) I am sorry you don’t like my career path.1 shift a week. I DO go up to other units..And No, my attitude is NOT what is wrong with Nursing. What is wrong with nursing is 1) Hospitals are refusing to hire new grads, but send recruiters over to the Pacific Rim, looking for cheap Nurses, sending infection rates soaring, and satisfaction plummeting and 2) The Nursing field is SATURATED. My state, California, has 8 times as many RN’s than are needed. As long as the private Nursing schools continue hyping the “Nursing Shortage” myth, it will continue. Throw in the new fad of “Doctor owned Hospitals” and I am slowly watching the field go from white collar to Blue collar, in front of my eyes..About my attitude..until YOU can cut a chest tube in a darkened, moving chopper…

  103. Chances are you are not a nurse. Big pharmacy and big hospitals have been claiming nursing is a dying profession.Can you explain to me why nursing is still considered the second future profession? May I suggest you and Mr QIlliams allow a robot to take care of you on your dying days. Pharmacy companies own this country. You support Mr Williams you support big industry.

  104. Your attitude is what is wrong with nursing. As a intensive care nurse for 30 yrs. I can tell you I have the greatest respect for Med surgery nurses. I do not even understand any of your posts. If you are a nurse which I really doubt I suggest you walk into a large hospital today and view how hard nurses work on any type of unit. It is not about degrees as I have an advanced degree.

  105. That is why I work Trauma/Flight, and you work M/S. Different skillset. And, bottom line, if you teach, you know very well there are NO jobs out there right now. Not for Nurses, Not for Respritory, Not for Rad Tech..nothing short of physician.
    And how do you “Help” your students get jobs? While you say it is not sufficient to “fill out and app and wait” what else should they do? Go to HR(which many hospitals have gotten rid of, anyway) and sit in the lobby? They can’t work registry, so what, exactly, do you do?
    Finally, you are correct, I would be an AWFUL Med-Surg Nurse. Every M/S Nurse I know HATES IT(except you, apparently) and is DYING to move to ICU, ER..anything but M/S. If you are a good Bum-Cleaner, then, by all means, you are where you should be. I work outdoors, in boots, not white sneakers, at the SCENE. I could do your job…could you do mine?

  106. The foreign nurses are getting paid! Don’t fool yourself! I was on an interview for a RN position and while answering the managers questions briefly, correctly, and succinctly, the Asian Asst Manager fell asleep! AND I DIDN’T get the JOB! Any working nurse is getting paid more than me…

  107. They Dont want AMERICAN new Grads. They want cheap Asian new grads. Americans want….MONEY

  108. Lucky you. My nursing school (Astate, not a private school) placed less than 8% within a YEAR of graduation. This is about average, from what I understand

  109. I have been hearing that for 10 years..they ‘aint gone yet. These people intend to work until they die..

  110. I graduated in 2006 and 90% of my classmates were Filippino, with a large number of Filippino males. We were all “brainwashed” into thinking that there’s a nursing shortage. The local hospital came to us to offer us jobs in many fields, even before we graduated. We all thought this is was great and things looked so promising. Well, later in the same year, many of my collegues were laid off in the med-surg. Only us in the specialities were spared.

    My happiness as a nurse was shattered in Dec. 2009 when I was fired for unfair reasons. It was a conspiracy against me by the other nurses. One non-Filippino girl was forced to quit (and she was a really good nurse), and I was the last one left. All kinds of lies were written up against me and they failed me on several evalations. They then took me off the night shift, threw me onto the day shift and forced me to become charge nurse to see how I would function. After they figured out I was “incompetent” they fired me.

    The Union wanted to fight for me, but I was in such a deep depression, I didn’t want to even go outside. I ignored their calls, their letters. Now it’s 2013 and I look back and wished I had enough courage and strength that time to fight back.

    In 2011, I got hired as a per diem to work in a clinic. I thought wow, this is great and now I have a chance to rebuild my career. I was grateful for any job. Unemployment had run out, but what I failed to do was go back to college to earn the BSN. I had at least one and a half years of UE coverage, but due to my depression, I couldn’t even go outside.

    Suddenly, out of nowhere, and after being praised for my hard work at the clinic, work was not offered to me, and again I had to go on unemployment last summer, but it ran out in October. I have been looking for another job for almost a year now, and because I only have limited experience and no adult med surg exp, no one will hire me. I’m also stuck because I only have an ADN.

    I must say that I really and honestly feel that I have chosen the wrong profession. It has left me totally unsatisified, no stable employment, much heartache, depression, and grief. Interview after interview and no job. I am considering choosing a different career now, but one thing I do agree with is that the nursing shortage is a MYTH. The ones retiring are those who have worked their way up in to management positions; you need experience to get that kind of job, and also many healthcare companies are not willing to train, stating new grads no need to apply.

    Maybe getting your BSN or MSN might help, but there’s no guarantees, as one has already stated in this blog. 3 years and no one will hire here. Amazing, huh? So, spare yourself the trouble and choose a different career is my advice.

  111. Electronic charting has done nothing but increase workload for nurses.Hospitals care far more about that electronic check mark than patient care
    Also how many robots do you know that can clean stool, urine and get disabled patients out of bed. Waiting with bated breath for that. HAHA. Signed full-time baby Boomer critical care nurse.

  112. Isn’t the issue really that hospitals understaff? I was told this by a doctor when choosing where to have my baby–I was going to go the premier hospital in my city and he told me they had cut back on their nursing (and other) staff to fund a large expansion, and recommended a smaller hospital that had the same capabilities but a better staffing ratio. I don’t think this info is available to the general public.

  113. The problem is that, for example, the California Board of Registered Nursing has a long standing requirement that in order to take the NCLEX exam students MUST HAVE CONCURRENT nursing education. All of the Philippine nurses that came to the USA did not have this education!!!! The California BRN over looked this and still permitted the Filipino nurse to take the NCLEX and have and KEEP a RN license in CALIFORNIA. The CA BRN just started to enforce their own rule in 2012! There are many foreign educated RN’s in California that have a RN license and do not meet the education requirements, there were just over looked and now NEW GRAD RN’s that have broken their behinds to meet all of the requirements cannot get jobs! MANY of the Filipino nurses came to the US, and their clinical rotations were actually done when they WORKED as RN’s. Spoke in their native tongue with their peers to hide their lack of knowledge, and learned as they went. But hospitals say they don’t want new grad RN’s….

  114. I also have a BSN, and am inducted to the International Honor Society of Nusing (Sigma Theta Tau) and NO JOB!

  115. I have student loans that won’t be paid because I CAN’T OBTAIN EMPLOYMENT!!!! I was an LVN, have been a RN and have not worked as one in direct patient care since I have been licensed!! This is a crisis of NO RN JOBS! FALSE NURSING SHORTAGE! Paying nursing “educators” for NEW RN’s that aren’t needed!

  116. Nursing field is a mess. Administrations change the rules in order to get their money off being cheap by not staffing hospitals adequately. Possibly the bsn makes difference. There r lpns who know more about nursing than bsn rns. And yet the lpns r demoted to cna status. Quite a nasty slap in the face to lpns whove been working as bedside nurses -were and being quite effective ones at that.

    Nursing profession is a joke nowadays. Patients suffer due to administrations cost cutting tactics. Many overeducated rns out there and still many inactive rn licenses and too many unemployed qualified rns to fill the so called nursing shortage. There are no jobs in nursing. There is no shortage in the nursing field

  117. And as for new nurses getting hired in my area (outside of DC). INOVA is actively hiring new nurses in my area, as does Johns Hopkins, PG Hospital, Washington Hospital Center, Virginia Hospital Center, Potomac Hospital, and those are just a few … Yes, RN is definitely required to work in a hospital, and I support that. We are moving to required BSN and I support that too. It does make a difference. And it’s a great move for our profession. It needs to be taken seriously, and to be respected. Our new educational initiatives help.

  118. @J Thompson. Well, I disagree with you on the point of there not being enough jobs for nurses. I do teach for a college, but am not part of their advertisement committee. I help my students get jobs, and explain to them how to do so. It is not sufficient to file an app, and then sit around and wait for someone to call you. Another issue is that not all students are meant to be nurses. Until we find a better way to do admissions, there are students who will likely not get hired because their personalities aren’t exactly the best fit. There are plenty who work now like that who I wish would make room for the good ones coming up.

    As for your comments about med-surg. I am a med-surg nurse, and I am glad you are not. I wouldn’t want someone with your particular view caring for my family when they need to use the toilet, and I wish you a good nurse when you are elderly and in need of using the toilet.

  119. I work Trauma/Flight. I wouldn’t work a M/S unit for all the tea in China. We call these “Bathroom” units, as your day is spent helping seniors go to the toilet

  120. We must be living on different planets. In my world, there are 6 nurses for every available job, LPN/LVN’s are pretty much gone, there are HUNDREDS of apps for every opening(which is always filled from inside)

    Let me guess..you work for a nursing school, yes?

  121. RN’s are no better, and probably worse. My hospital hasn’t hired an RN in 20 months..that is almost 2 years! You shouldn’t have to “Hope” when so much time and money is invested..Bottom line, no matter how much you want to be in it, the health care field is, for the moment, closed; and not just RN’s. LPN’s are gone for the most part, as everyone is an RN/BSN. In my state, over half of the nursing licenses are inactive.
    My advice is to do what no one on these boards has done. Talk to a WORKING nurse that works in a hospital(ER, Med Surge, ICU, etc) and ask if they have seen any new hires around for the last few YEARS, and what the job climate is. Blindly going to school on the hope it MAY lend you a better job is foolish, don’t you think? (8 years as a trauma nurse and flight nurse..and working) Bottom line, we can’t ALL be nurses. I got in at the right time. You did not. I would give it some VERY deep thought..

  122. PA, NP, RT, RN..they are all FULL. My hospital hasn’t hired anything higher than a (non-benefited) CNA in the last 20 months..

  123. Bullsh*t. This myth is told daily by nursing school recruiters. Let me guess…you would NOT be a nurse, yes?

  124. I can tell there are alot of Non-nurses chiming in here. First of all, the industry is moving rapidly toward using nurses from the Pacific rim. Their bedside manor sucks, their skills are not that great, and you cannot even understand many of them…but they work CHEAP. THAT is the trend in the industry.
    There is not, nor has there been for the last 7 years, a nursing shortage. There was a short shortage for about a year in 2006, but literally hundreds of private nursing schools sprang up, and the gap was quickly filled..but these schools didn’t want to close, so we get the “Shortage” myth, year after year. What there IS a shortage of is foreign nurses willing to work for nothing. My hospital just completed a recruiting trip from the Philipines, even though we have at least 2500 apps on file for RN’s.
    The truth is far simpler than all the non-nurses here analyze it to be. Hospitals are looking to hire cheap nurses ONLY. Less than 8% of new-grad RN’s find work within 18 months..that’s a year and a half!

  125. Aconite
    Senior Member
    Location: Eastern time zone
    4,440 posts, read 2,916,484 times
    Reputation: 3311

    Originally Posted by Gatornation
    Shortage should probably be broken down between those who have a 4 year nursing degree and those who don’t.

    Not until the workload is broken down between two, three (there are a few left, though they’re an aging population) and four year nurses. Otherwise, the only real difference is when it comes down to a working knowledge of Chaucer. (And I say that as a ridiculously overeducated former RN.)

    The nurse who left me most thoroughly and completely in the dust was an LPN-II with beaucoup years’ experience. This is one area where I think OJT really is useful– even necessary. I’d be all in favor of mandatory internships. I think it would stem the burn-out rate, as well.

    Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/work-employment/1370377-there-really-nursing-shortage-4.html#ixzz2NvjB09hz

  126. Amen. The emrs are patients now. They are forms designed to make the institution blameless. It becomes mindless clicking.

  127. Geographic area has to be taken into account when discussing trends in any profession. There are particular areas of the US that will feel the shift in population age more than others (Florida comes to mind).
    Anyone who suggests any significant portion of nursing can be replaced with robots has no idea (or no appreciation) for what good nurses do. But maybe you’re right; maybe we will be replaced. I hope I don’t have to be a patient in that hospital. On the upside, I could probably get a mani-pedi while having a knee replacement if we didn’t have to be bothered with all that pesky human limitation stuff.
    I am fortunate to live in an area (admittedly relatively rural) where nurses are valued and respected, and where new nurses are educated and encouraged. (Some of you are probably wondering if we have unicorns, too.)
    As to the entry level degree comments: this has been debated for decades. The fact is, that until nursing ups the ante on entry level requirements, it will continue to have difficulty holding an equal place at the health care table with other professions that have committed to master’s and higher education. If I’m in a meeting with a physician, a pharmacist, and a physical therapist, I am likely in a meeting with the equivalent of 3 PhDs. Bedside experience only goes so far.
    To put this in context, I have been a bedside nurse, mostly in ICU, for over 20 years. I earned my BSN last year and I’m finishing my MSN in the next few months and, boy, have my eyes been opened. I used to believe a degree didn’t make much of a difference. Once I started really reading about the inequalities of education between professions, I knew I needed to go back to school. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.
    And one last thing before I get back to my homework – if your EMR is getting between you and your patient, it hasn’t been properly designed. I’ve recently become a full-time Informatics nurse (after several part-time years) and at the top of my priority list is making sure our clinical documentation flows for our staff; each discipline is involved in developing the documentation for their area. It’s pretty sad when facilities implement EMRs poorly and then expect exceptional productivity and outcomes from their staff. It usually means someone made decisions from on high when information should have come from the masses.

  128. according to bureau of labor statistics, there will be 700,000 more nursing jobs by year 2020 in the United States

  129. @Tara, thanks for that interesting post. I spoke recently with someone about Nursing as it is. I began my nursing career back in the ’80’s when we actually did bedside nursing. I recently visited the same hospital and the only thing the nurses appeared to be doing was giving out medication. Could be a staffing thing, nursing assistants are cheaper to use for daily care, but the Nursing staff looked overwhelmed, harried, and intent on getting out their meds and finishing their notes. That was a med-surg floor. I personally had gone from M/S, to CCU/ICU, and then High Risk L&D. My experience as a nurse was much different from what I saw. I would not go back to patient care now for anything. My interests have changed and the workload now is just to high.

  130. My post went before I finished the citation …

    Zinn, J., Guglielmi, C., Davis, P., and Moses, C. (2012). Addressing the nursing shortage: the need for nurse residency programs, AORN Journal, 96(6), 652-657

  131. There is no support for this opinion piece. The nursing shortage is not something that is “made up” by nursing schools. It has been recognized by the Institute of Medicine as something that represents a serious concern in the future (Zimm, Guglielmi, Davis, & Moses, 2012). As of right now, I am a nurse, a nurse educator, and an attorney. I have plenty of offers for staff nursing jobs, and the students with whom I have worked who have graduated recently have been able to find gainful employment. There is an issue with proper training of nurses, and employers are often remiss to invest in training. They’d rather spend the money on experienced nurses. Those organizations who have recognized the value in hiring new nurses, and providing adequate training are the ones who will reap the benefits in the future.

    Zinn, J., Guglielmi, C., Davis, & Moses,

  132. What I have found, in my 27 years of nursing, is that hospitals will understaff nurses on units and then say those units have no vacancies. This causes delay in care by having to send patients to other hospitals for treatment. All an administration scam to “save” from paying nurses. So there has never been a shortage of nurses, This burns me because it limits nurses ability to have a secure job in acute care setting, make advancement in ranks and have selfworth in becoming a nurse.

  133. What is really the stinker in this whole thing.. is that most places won’t even hire an RN anymore.. they prefer BSN… a BSN for bedside nuring when their BSN schooling is based on managment skills.. I want to be a nurse to nurse.. not to manage.. but to get an entry level employment with a BSN stinks.. and if one gets hired as an LPN at some hospitals they do CNA work and not allowed to even pass meds.. Why did we all go to nursing school to become LPN’s, or RN’s when no one will hire us.. on another level they say that being a Medical Assistant is the way to go because most doctors offices hire MA’s .. that is phooey too.. Having an assoiciates in Medical Assisting and not finding a job after 3 years of looking I decided to go for my RN .. Here’s Hoping there is a position in my future..

  134. Btw look at how the private colleges seem to exploit this myth? They build and build and chaneg their college names from college to university to make it look as though they have more “clout/competitiveness”. Theyre using the nursing shortage myth. Other professionsr. Not really there anymore but “nursing” is there! And yet there is NOTHING available in nursing. Its bad too for the kid coming out of school w dreams of being a nurse being shattered b/c the reality is there are NO jobs in nursing. Hospitals are going belly up too. So why would they be hiring? Hospitals fold up. And the fact new nurses want to put their years worth of time in the hospital and get out? And of course hiring freezes which happen ever so frequently in hospitals. What a sad state the nursing profession is in these days.

  135. The nursing shortage IS a myth. Look at the amount of inactive licenses? There ARE plenty of nurses yet the universities continue to perpetuate the “need” for nurses. The universities r making loads of money off of these poor kids. They get into debt right before they graduate to only become indentured servants to a hospital/loans. Then when they get out there thinking therell be “all these jobs”. They find there is no one there to take them on. Loads of debt and fake promiises of jjobs in healthcare? What a horrid lie. And even further yet they do not see the whole picture of why there r all these jobs in healthcare. Harassment – horizontal violence among the nurses/docsnurses – hospitals dont wish to train while paying for two nurses (preceptorships). And colleges keep pushing higher and higher degrees where you get the myth that youll make more cash if you are an NP or a so called doctorate in nursing. You still dont make much. For all the responsibility there is. There really are not all kinds of jobs out there. Its such a myth. And universities keep perpetuating it. Why are ther disproportionately more new grads in nursing than other professions? How sad. Where are all the jobs in this modern america. How awful.

  136. I believe the PT can begin practice at the Baccalaureate level also. But really, what would masters trained nurses do at the bedside. I worked with a girl who had her masters as a clinical specialist. She worked just as I did. Think of the frustration of someone highly trained to yet not being able to use that training in the way she/he was educated to do. Nursing does have to change, but no one has the answers, its a difficult issue to talk about. Many Nurses are very frustrated with the system but just see the job as a means to a paycheck. When Nurses can only do what the Physician orders, there can be no change.

  137. Nobody, except maybe some unscrupulous admission reps from nursing schools, continues to perpetuate the nursing shortage myth, so this article is pretty pointless. If we want to speculate about the future of nursing, that would be interesting. It seems nurses have always been their own worse enemy and that continues today. Unlike teachers with their unions or physicians with the AMA nurses they have no singular voice or leverage and are therefore subject to market forces. In fact, the most significant publication regarding, and titled, the future of nursing was written by the IOM. The entry bar to be an RN has to be set the same as PT, at the Masters level, not the current Associates to break the shortage/glut cycle, to advance the profession and improve the healthcare system.

  138. Oh, thank you for that. “Insatiable electronic health records….” brilliant. They have become my patient. The crying babies in the isolettes only get in the way. Someone should let the hospital administrators/educators know that EMR won’t save any time for bedside caregivers if you add a new tome of ‘checky-box’ forms about every month.

  139. Be wary of analysts bearing “myths.” Pretty much any time you see the word “myth” in the title of a post, you’re pretty much assured you are reading a political statement, not objective analysis.

  140. I know plenty of administrators looking for nurses and plenty of new nurses looking for jobs. The problem is the administrators want trained nurses and many young nurses leave the profession after a few years because of the variable hours, physically difficulty responsibilities and un-sexy work. In addition, there are challenges in employment positions due to the unionized model that many states employ. Lastly, but not least – ask any senior nurse (who, @whatsen williams, know their patients, are more than willing to fight physicians, and don’t have a shift mentality) about the quality of the younger generation of nurses and a long discussion will take place about the poor attitude and lack of ownership and responsibility in the latter group.

    That being said – several truths here – (1) many nurses have gone back to work or are working till an older age due to the shitty state of the economy (2) as the demand on the system increases, there will be a greater need of non-MD practitioners (NP, PA, RN, etc) (3) as costs have to be managed better, much of the rote work will be assigned to the non-MD practitioners to more efficiently manage expensive resources.

  141. I’m with Peter on this one. Take a look at the age distribution of practicing nurses at any level. It has a huge “boomer bulge”. And those boomers have worked overtime without pay both at patients’ sides and feeding their insatiable electronic health records. When they quit, and it could be any day now, expect serious shortages of the unpleasant and underappreciated hospital and nursing home venues that will last for many years. This is an emerging disaster.

    The really hard part of nursing will not be automated in our lifetimes. We could alleviate the coming shortage by re-examining all the Mickey Mouse “check the box” documentation requirements we’ve heaped on nurses, and by making the EMR’s truly functional and user friendly.

  142. “I’ve taken heat for writing that robots will replace a lot of nurse functions over time.”

    Yea, and Popular Mechanics has been predicting every dacade or so we’ll all have our own personal flying machine.

    “I don’t know exactly how the nursing profession is going to evolve…”

    That’s for sure.

  143. There sure is a shortage of good nurses. There sure is a shortage of nurses who spek out on the errors caused by CPOE systems. There sure are too many complex patients for the reant-a-nurses that inhabit the wards. There sure is a shortage of nurses who know their patients. I bought several Tolstoi novels to read while waiting for nurses to find the information I need to make appropriate decisions on my patients.

  144. I find your argument for the fake Nursing Shortage to be a pretty good one. The fact is, that most nurses look to work in hospitals and nursing homes for the steady hours, benefits, etc. The home care industry, which also employs many nurses has its problems due to the reimbursement issue from Insurance companies and Social programs, which only pay for short term visits, i.e. 2 to 3 weeks past discharge. Some states had been putting together programs to keep certain long term patients in their homes with the help of these agencies, but these are also dependent on funding. Areas of nursing that are lacking in specialists are also lacking in education programs. There are many specialties where there are Physician shortages, and these could be assisted by Nurse Practitioners, but there are no education programs for them to go to. So, in one case you are correct, the generic nurse is not going to find work very easily; but with a little research, they may find their niche and hopefully an education program to go to.