Many baby boomers hit an important milestone last year. Those earliest boomers born at the start of 1946 turned 70, and are now turning that age at a rate of 10,000 people per day for the next 18 years. The Census Bureau also indicates that for the first time in history the aging populations of 65 and older will double that of children (ages 5 and under) worldwide within the next 3 years. This has broad implications on health care and nursing, both now and well into the future, especially as there is already a shortage of nurses.

As the nursing industry deals with this worrisome shortage.* nursing schools are trying to meet the demand by expanding their programs and offering accelerated coursework; however, it is still projected that there will be a massive scarcity of Registered Nurses (RNs). So where will these shortages happen? What states, people and fields will be affected most?

The Growing Problem

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the demand for RNs in the workforce is expected to increase 16 percent to 3.2 million jobs in 2024, one of the highest of any industry in the U.S. Unfortunately; 1 million RNs will be reaching retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years. So, who will replace these retirees and make up for the anticipated demand? That’s not clear yet.

Educating Nurses

The AACN reports nursing schools across the country have only seen a 3.6 percent increase in enrollment, nowhere near enough to meet the projected demand of nurses in the coming years. Compounding the problem is the lack of qualified faculty. The AACN reports 64,067 qualified nursing school applicants were turned away in 2016 due to a lack of faculty.

Shortages by State

Who will feel the nursing shortage the most? By 2025, several states will experience the brunt of the nursing shortage according to Becker’s Hospital Review including: Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Maryland, Nevada and Washington.

Shortages by Specialty

Certain nursing fields will suffer bigger shortages than others because they are the fastest-growing fields by 2022. These fields, according to Nurse Journal, include: nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse, psychiatric nurse, trauma nurse and travel nurse.

Traveling nurses are – and will continue to be – one of the highest fields in demand, particularly in certain major U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston and Chicago, as reported by LRS Healthcare.


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