- According to the American Nurses Association, the United States will need to produce 1.1 million new registered nurses by 2022 to replace retirees and fill existing jobs.
- To address the issue, the ANA recommends several steps, including increasing federal funding for Title VIII by 12% for 2015 and developing and recruiting more nurse educators to increase the capacity of nursing programs.
- The ANA suggests that hospitals should consider hiring more male nurses to diversify their workforce, which would benefit patient care.
At present, it might appear that we don't have a nursing shortage in the US, as the number of nurses across the country has continued to rise, hitting 2.7 million in 2012 and continuing to expand. And it appears that hospitals aren't quite sure what to do with this nurse population. According to ANA President Pamela Cipriano, the group is seeing layoffs by some hospitals while "registered nurse" ranks as the most advertised position nationwide. This ambivalence could be due to the shifts in how hospitals operate of late, particularly with respect to their merger activity and partnerships with ACOs. Hospital administrators are doubtless struggling to figure out how to staff these newly configured organizations.
But even if we have enough nurses now, according to the ANA, one in five nurses is set to retire soon—at a time when the health system is increasingly relying on their skills to achieve quality and efficiency goals. It seems clear that something needs to be done to prepare for an RN shortage. Hospitals would benefit from working with groups like the ANA today plan a way forward, one which helps foster the growth of the nursing base in a collaborative manner.