Nursing Shortage Vs. Our Current Economy

As is painfully obvious to members of the travel nursing industry, the demand for travel nurses has declined significantly. This downturn in demand is directly related to the current economic conditions which has forced many nurses back into the workforce and prompted many travel nurses to seek permanent positions. Consequently, there are less job openings and less need for travel nurses to fill gaps during the hiring process or during seasonal upswings.

This situation is a relief for hospital staffing administrators as the pool of available nursing candidates expands and openings are filled quickly and with high quality personnel. But the apparent easing of the ongoing nursing shortage could be a smokescreen that worsens the situation down the road.

According to an article in Modern Healthcare, more than a few healthcare executives are concerned that the current abundant pool of nurse candidates could present a false sense of security among administrators and send the wrong signal to those who aspire to a nursing career.

A quote from the Chief Nursing Officer of Providence Health & Services provides keen insight into the challenges facing healthcare employers.  Said Deborah Burton, CNO at Providence, “To those who don’t take the long view in workforce planning, it looks like everything is better—when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.”

The article cites numerous statistics that make it very clear that the current situation is better but the nursing shortage is far from being solved. In fact, the significant decline in job openings for nurses could have the effect of worsening the problem in the long run. Those nurses having difficulty finding a position could leave the profession and students hearing about the lack of opportunities may decide to pursue a different career. This could prove disastrous given the demographic trends in both the general and nursing populations.

The simple fact is that the baby boomers will be taxing the healthcare system as they age. And with the average age of an RN pushing 50 years old, it is not hard to project that patient census will be going up and the nursing population will be going down as more nurses hit retirement age.  If the current employment situation discourages students from pursuing a nursing career, there will be major challenges in the future.

I strongly encourage you to read this article in Modern Healthcare. Our feeling is that, even though it is more challenging finding travel nursing jobs right now, the nursing shortage has just been temporarily camouflaged and may be worse than ever when the economy turns around.

To quote Cynthia Kinnis, president of the healthcare staffing division at Clinical One, “Administrators who have been around for a long time will know that it always comes back with a vengeance.”

Bad news for healthcare administrators. Good news for travel nurses!  Pursue a career as a travel nurse and find your travel nursing job today!  Or take a minute to learn more about the nursing shortage.

Terry McDermott is VP of Marketing for Travel Nurse Source, a recruiting company for traveling nurses. Travel Nurse Source is affiliated with Allied Travel Careers, a recruiting company for traveling physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists. For more information on what we do, please visit our websites.

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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