Nursing openings becoming scarce

Last week, we reported on a Washington Post article that said--after years of shortage worries--the demand for nurses appears to be shrinking. Now, an article in the Wall Street Journal reinforces that notion, with help from a recent survey by the American Hospital Association. 

According to the article, the current recession is curbing the recent trend of the health industry outpacing nurses entering the field. For example, Texas-based medical staffing firm Medfinders has, in the past, only been able to fill 70 to 80 percent of its openings. Recently, that percentage has jumped to the 90s, according to Medfinders CEO Bob Livonius. 

Even more layoffs should be expected if the AHA survey is any indication. Out of 658 hospitals, half revealed negative profit margins in the fourth quarter. 

"I feel sorry for new people coming out of nursing school right now because in this area, at least, there's not a lot of jobs," said Carol Gentry, a nurse from Portland, OR. "I see more nurses working now who might have stayed home when times were good." 

Still, long-term numbers point to this recent trend only being a temporary bump in the road. Last summer, the national shortage of nurses was up to 125,000 based on hospital and long-term care vacancies, and that number is expected to grow to 300,000 by 2020. 

For more information:
- here's the Wall Street Journal article