Not only do we have a massive nursing shortage, but apparently it is expected to continue getting worse for the next seven years.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about 233,000 additional jobs for registered nurses will open each year until 2016. That's in addition to the 2.5 million existing positions. The problem is, only about 200,000 candidates passed the Registered Nurse licensing exam last year.
And thousands of nurses leave the profession every year from bad working conditions. As we've reported here before, nurses often suffer particularly from a lack of respect. And some nurses even end up scared to go to work for fear of being attacked, with inadequate legal repercussions if someone does attack them.
We've been going through a cycle since World War II: the nursing shortage gets bad, the government steps in and hospitals work to improve conditions. Then the nursing shortage is alleviated somewhat, working conditions become more difficult, and nurses are driven away, often to completely different professions.
To learn more about the problems:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report piece