Nursing Shortage to Affect Health Care Facilities and Senior Living
Health care advocacy groups predict there will be a shortage of nurses, which can potentially affect the nation’s health care system – from hospitals, urgent care, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, etc. in more direct ways than even the predicted doctor shortage. Furthermore, despite a 5% enrollment increase in baccalaureate nursing programs in 2011, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing says this will not be enough to keep up with increasing health care needs, especially as 32 million Americans gain access to health care through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will go into full swing in 2014.
What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of registered nursing positions will increase by 26% between 2010 and 2020. And with an aging nursing workforce (the average age for a registered nurse is 44.5), there aren’t enough students to replace the retiring nurses. The American College of Medical Quality reported in the American Journal of Medical Quality that the nation is going to face a shortage of nearly one million nurses by 2030.
Fixing the nursing shortage isn’t as easy as accepting more students into nursing programs. There is limited space in the programs, with many nursing schools turning away applicants. Universities simply don’t have an adequate number of instructors. In addition, new jobs for nurses will require more and additional education than positions did in the past. The Institute of Medicine is recommending that more nurses seek higher education, as they take on more and more responsibilities.
The good news is that the shortage may be somewhat stemmed and come a bit later than expected as nurses are delaying retirement. Historically, most nurses retired when they are in their early 60s. With the struggling economy over the last several years, nurses have postponed retiring. Recent data from the Bureau of Health Professions shows that the majority of nurses over 50 are still working full-time and interestingly 33.3% of those over the age of 75 reported that they are still working in some capacity as registered nurses. When surveyed about retirement plans, most anticipated that they would continue working across the next five years.
We at Caitlin-Morgan are committed to providing comprehensive insurance programs for the healthcare facilities, including senior living. Our programs provide professional liability E&O insurance for nurses and other health care practitioners.