2016 was a milestone year for baby boomer it was when those that were born in 1946 turned 70 years old. Every week since then there will be 10,000 boomers per week all hitting that age and that trend will continue until 2034. Not only that, the population of people older than 65 will outnumber that of children under 5 and that trend will continue as well. If you are in the healthcare industry, then then impact of these statistics is going to impact you for years to come. The rapidly aging population will require care and that is going to lead to a shortage of nursing staff.
The nursing industry has been aware of the changing demographics for a while now and have been trying to meet the demand by hospitals along with senior living facilities. They have expanded nursing programs and offered accelerated learning, but despite their best efforts there is still expected to be a shortage of Registered Nurses. How will this affect your state and which states will suffer the most under the shortage. Let’s look.
How Bad is the Shortage?
The AACN or American Association of Colleges of Nursing claims that because of the aging population the demand for nursing staff is expected to grow to 3.2 million jobs or by 16% by the year 2024. 2024 is only 6 years away and there will only be a handful of graduating classes in that time. The other issue is that within the currently working segment of RNs more than a million will hit retirement age very shortly. Not only is the nursing industry forced to meet the new demand but they must also replace the nurses that are leaving the profession.
Enrollment in Nursing School
While there has been an increase in enrollment in nursing schools across the country it only sits at 3.6 percent which won’t be enough to meet the expected demand over the next couple of years. Another issue that nursing schools are having to face is the lack of qualified educators, this has led to more than 60,000 applications to nursing school being declined because there aren’t enough staff to teach them.
Where will this Hurt Most?
By the year 2025 there will be several states that will be feeling the pain of the nursing shortage, those include North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Maryland. They won’t be the only ones, but for them it is going to hurt. Bear in mind there are specialty fields within the nursing profession that will feel the shortage even more acutely, psychiatric nurses, nurse practitioners and surgical nurses will be in short supply as well.
If we want to look after our aging population we are going to have to meet this demand, and do so quickly.