For decades, experts in the medical profession have been kept awake at night by a national shortage of nurses and by a lack of young people entering the nursing industry. Not only does the shortage create real staffing problems currently for hospitals and private duty nursing in Rancho Bernardo and other California cities, but it could also lead to disaster as the “baby boomer” generation needs more and more assistance from nursing professionals. Concern over the situation has resulted in the establishment of agencies, nursing recruitment centers, and higher salaries in order to entice more people to enter the field of facility and private duty nursing.
In Rancho Bernardo and throughout California (one of the states hardest-hit by the nursing shortage), the health care industry is likely to benefit from those efforts in the not-too-distant future. A new report published by the medical journal Health Affairs contains the welcome news of a significant upsurge in new nurses between 2002 and 2009. Specifically, the number of young nurses (age 23-26) increased by an amazing 62 percent. This surge appears to be exactly what the industry needs at the moment (might we say, “just what the doctor ordered?”). The aging baby boomer generation poses a double threat to the nursing field, as not only more care is needed in the form of private duty nursing in Rancho Bernardo and similar communities, but nurses in the baby boomer generation are also nearing retirement age. In fact, it is estimated that over the next ten years, 900,000 registered nurses will retire. As these nurses leave the workforce, a sizable growth in the number of young nurses is needed to make up the difference.
Of course, it is impossible to tell whether this workforce growth will continue in a consistent manner; the current economic downturn makes it difficult to place any type of employment research in a normal context. For example, people who are choosing the nursing field purely because of the excellent job availability may switch careers as the market becomes more crowded. Only time will tell whether this dramatic change is part of a long-term trend or a short-term explosion driven mainly by the absence of job availability in other sectors. In any case, private duty nursing in Rancho Bernardo and other cities should feel a certain amount of relief as young, energetic nurses offer their services in greater numbers than ever before.
Health Affairs, “Registered Nurse Supply Grows…,” http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/30/12/2286.abstract, accessed 12/24/2011.
The Tennessean, “Finally, more young people turn to nursing careers,” http://www.tennessean.com/article/20111222/COLUMNIST03/312220011/Getahn-Ward-Finally-more-young-people-turn-nursing-careers, last updated 12/23/2011.