Nursing future hinges on reform, filling shortage gap

A handful of factors will affect the nursing profession over the next decade, including the nurse shortage, healthcare reform, technology and education expectations, according to an infographic released by Norwich University's Online Master of Science in Nursing Program.

About 118,000 nurses will stop working full time between 2010 and 2015, with about one-third of the nursing workforce more than 50 years old, according to the graphic. 

That same ratio of nurses will likely retire within the next 10 to 15 years, leaving a less experienced workforce. This, combined with America's aging population seeking health treatment, means more nurses will need to step into jobs, as well as leadership and teaching positions, according to the findings.

Expect continued demand for more nurses with advanced training,. As of now, 38.7 percent of nurses have an associate's degree and  37.6 percent have a bachelor's degree, according to the graphic. The number of nurses with bachelor's degrees should jump to 80 percent by 2020, while nurses with doctoral degrees should double to accommodate healthcare reform changes.

Despite room for growth, some nurses think the profession is changing for the worse. In a recent survey, RNs cited numerous concerns within their profession that are costing valuable time, including short-staffing, increased peripheral duties and regulatory requirements, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Nearly half said they had wasted time due to lack of communication, while 42 percent reported losing time to fatigue.

To learn more:
- here's the infographic

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