Is the nursing shortage a myth?


Posted to Nursing Jobs

A recent press release by a nursing education and career portal claims that a survey indicating that 62% of newly graduated nurses have difficulty finding a job is evidence that the nursing shortage is a myth.

“The so called nursing shortage is really a myth”, said Cathy Miller, Director of Education for “The idea that we as a country are experiencing a drastic shortage in nurses is not really correct. Most nursing jobs now specifically state they are not interested in non-experienced nurses.”

There is no question that it is harder for new graduates with no experience to find a nursing job.  In January 2013, CNN reported on how difficult it is for many newly graduated nurses to find employment.  However, this does not indicate that the nursing shortage is a myth.  There may not be a shortage of new graduates of nursing programs but there is a very real shortage of experienced nurses.  New graduates can increase their chances of landing a job by getting additional certifications, gaining experience by participating in internship and preceptorship programs and being willing to relocate to areas where there is a higher demand for their services and more employers willing to hire new nurses.   While it may take longer, newly graduated nurses who are persistent will eventually find a job.

Labor statistics indicate that the nursing shortage is indeed very real and not a myth.  A recent press release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the healthcare sector added 23,000 jobs in January 2013 and 320,000 jobs in 2012.  This is significant increase over the 296,900 healthcare sector jobs added in 2011.  Most of those jobs are for nurses and there are many more jobs that are going unfilled due to a shortage of experienced nurses.  As the economy recovers, nurses retire, the U.S. population ages and tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans gain health care insurance in 2014 when certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect, health care spending will increase significantly and the demand for nurses and nurse practitioners will continue to increase and remain strong.

It is clear that filling this growing demand will require hundred of thousands of new nurses over the next few years.  It is also clear that nursing schools and healthcare employers need to provide more opportunities for nursing school students and new graduates to get clinical on-the-job training so they have the experience needed.

What do you think?  Is the nursing shortage a myth or very real?  What should nursing schools and healthcare employers do to increase opportunities for nursing school students and new graduates to gain the experience needed? Let us know in the comments or the forum.

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