Experts Predict Nursing Opportunities Will Grow but Shortage Will Persist

Nurses are in high demand in the United States, and due to recent changes in healthcare law, are expected to see significant job growth potential over the next decade. However, this news is tempered by recent indications that entry level nurses are having a more difficult time breaking into the profession since the onset of the Great Recession. This combination of factors has experts predicting that severe nursing shortages may soon hit the medical field.

The United States is undergoing the long-anticipated baby boomer retirement wave. With estimates that every day 10,000 Americans turn 65, the need for extensive nursing resources in the country is obvious. Experts predict that an additional 2-3 million patients will enter into Medicare each year, for the foreseeable future. Add to that the 8 million people who have registered for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, and it is clear that the U.S. will need more nurses soon.

Though the overall effect of this confluence of factors is not yet clear, experts predict that a massive injection of nurses, and other healthcare professionals, into the U.S. healthcare sector will be needed to keep up with demand.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be a 19% increase in registered nurses between 2012 and 2022. But, in order to meet those numbers the infrastructure in place to produce new nurses will need significant upgrades.

For example, according to Robert Rosseter of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nearly 79,000 qualified applicants to nursing programs were recently turned away as a result of faculty shortages.

According to the BLS stats cited earlier, there will be approximately 500,000 nurses entering the field by 2022. But, with approximately the same number set to retire within that timeframe, experts worry that the U.S. may find itself with a severe shortage of nurses.