Most people are aware of the fact that nursing jobs pay more than a living wage, provide extensive benefits, and ensure a good quality of life. Despite all these merits, the nursing field is not attracting as many candidates as necessary to meet the aging population's healthcare needs. Sadly, the impact of nursing shortages on patient care will prove negative unless the problem is proactively addressed in the near future. The solution starts with more young people enrolling in nursing education and training programs. Let's take a closer look at this looming problem and the potential effects of our nursing shortage.
An Inside Look at the Nursing Shortage
Those "in-the-know" who work as medical professionals are adamant the nursing shortage is the most significant threat to healthcare in the United States. As the incredibly large baby boomer age cohort shifts into retirement, many more nurses will be necessary to tend to their health needs. Those in the medical community know that nurses are the foundation of the healthcare industry as a whole. If there are not enough nurses, the healthcare industry has the potential to collapse, rendering aging and ill patients without the care necessary to maintain a decent quality of life. Nurses are necessary for home care as well as care provided in skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, and other facilities. It was not long ago when the pressing challenge was finding top-notch nurses; nowadays, the problem is finding enough nurses.
Why a Nursing Shortage Looms: A Numbers Game
Baby Boomers began retiring about a decade ago. The members of this massive age cohort will continue retiring all the way up until 2030. Aging boomers will require the care of nurses, doctors, phlebotomists, and other medical health professionals. Take a look at the numbers and you will see just how grim the nursing situation looks. The nation will likely have a million job openings for nurses in the years to come. However, less than half a million nurses will be available to fill the open positions. Demographers and healthcare industry analysts insist those living in the west and south will find it especially difficult to obtain care as there will be an abundance of Baby Boomers retiring in these comparably warm states with insufficient nursing personnel available to provide care.
Another part of the reason why the country has a nursing shortage that will gradually worsen in the years to come is the education system cannot provide enough nurses to meet demand. At the moment, teachers and resources are not sufficiently available to staff nursing schools and churn out the number of nurses necessary to treat the rapidly aging American population. It is awfully interesting to note nurse practitioners sometimes earn in the range of six figures per year while nursing school professors often receive a slightly lower annual salary. It is clear nursing schools have to alter their ways to address this potentially disastrous issue coming down the pipeline. It will certainly help if teachers and guidance counselors at the high school and college levels encourage students to pursue a career in nursing. Otherwise, our aging loved ones are likely to feel the negative impact of a nursing shortage.
Raising Awareness of the Pending Nursing Shortage
The average person is unaware of the upcoming nursing shortage. However, those who attend healthcare industry conferences are well aware of the problem. Visit any such conference and you will almost certainly find a panel discussing the issue in-depth. The common theme that emerges from such conferences is the looming nursing shortage is the most significant threat to the country's healthcare system as well as the population as a whole.
Get Your Nursing Career Started by Enrolling at Athena Career Academy
You can help prevent the pending nursing shortage by entering this in-demand line of work. Nurses make good money, enjoy rewarding interactions with patients, and ultimately make the world a much more enjoyable place. Contact Athena Career Academy today to find out how we can help you enter the rapidly growing nursing field.