The expected population growth of the older adult in the United States over the next few decades will have a dramatic impact on its healthcare workforce. As the aging population grows, the need for health care services will also increase, more especially from nurses. At the same time, large numbers of health care workers will be retiring while this demand for health care is on the rise. Although the nursing profession has the largest segment of the U.S. healthcare workforce, it is facing shortage in numbers due to the challenges in nursing education, economic fluctuations, reduced resources in institutions of higher education along with the high cost of sustaining nursing education programs. In response to these challenges, the AACN is working with educators, legislators, media, and other organizations to bring attention to this health crisis. (1. AACN)
The so-called “baby boom” generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) is already having an effect on the health care system and it is expected to grow as the century progresses. The number of Americans age 65 and older will rise by more than 19 million to 54 million by 2020. (2. Impact). Likewise, the average age of the nursing workforce is also climbing. About one-third of these nurses are older than 50 and more than half have expressed an intention to retire in the next decade. Thus, the U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025 (3. AllHealth).
In addition to the aging population and healthcare workforce, another contributing factor impacting the nursing shortage is the demand of more intense healthcare services. Because of this, many of the nurses are reporting high levels of job dissatisfaction leading to a high turnover rate and early retirement among RNs. Despite the 37,000 increase of added jobs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other ambulatory care settings, many raised serious concerns about the slow production of RNs...
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