For several years now, there has been talk about an impending crisis: a severe nation-wide nursing shortage. Estimates show that the RN workforce will only account for 80% of what our health care systems need by 2020. And according to a recent survey by the Florida Center for Nursing, Florida is already starting to see this shortage with roughly 9,000 statewide open positions and another 4,000 new RN positions that will need to be filled in 2014. But this is nothing to the estimated 50,000 nurses that will be needed to prevent the nursing shortage from happening in Florida.
ABC Action News gives a little more detail in their recent report on August 5, 2014.
History of the Nursing Shortage
There are several contributing factors to the nursing shortage. People are living longer and more people have access to healthcare with the Affordable Care Act, which means there will be more patients for nurses to see, which creates jobs, and in turn the need for nurses grows. But the biggest contributing factor is the rising number of nursing professionals getting ready to retire.
According to the American Nurses Association, more than half of the entire current nursing workforce is close to retirement. The nursing shortage was first predicted in a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association in 2000 that showed the average age of an RN was 42. 14 years later, those nurses are 56 and getting closer to the average retirement age of 62.
While the recent economic downturn has led to more nurses close to retirement to keep working a few more years, therefore the nursing shortage hasn’t hit quite yet. Which means we have time to do something about it before it really hits.
Utica College Act’s now to Prepare Florida for the Nursing Shortage
Utica College is among those institutions who are working hard to prevent the nursing shortage before it’s too late. We recently opened an online accelerated nursing school in Tampa Bay that allows interested students who already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to earn a bachelor’s degree with a major in nursing in just 16 months. Student will complete all of their didactic (or theory) courses online and all labs and clinicals in a simulation lab and at top healthcare facilities in St. Petersburg.
As ABC Action News reported, it’s not only important to prevent the nursing shortage, but to also provide hospitals and healthcare facilities with more baccalaureate-educated nurses. Studies show that the level of education nurses have directly affect the quality of care hospitals can provide. Essentially, more bachelor’s degrees means better healthcare. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing shares several studies that emphasize the impact education can have.
Why Should You Consider Becoming a Nurse?
In the second bachelor’s degree nursing program, Utica’s students come to our school with varied backgrounds. They have degrees in biology, psychology, education, business and many others. They all have the call to make a difference in the world around them.
Emily Nemecek, a student in our New York nursing program, shared her story of new beginnings and why she went back to school to become a nurse. Starting off with a degree in English, she shares how her passion for nursing was intensified when she cared for her mother after two different surgeries. The great thing is that her story is not the only one.
Another Utica student, Jessica West says, “The program is intense and overwhelming at times, but so worth it!” You can read her entire account of her journey to and through the Utica’s accelerated nursing program.
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a nurse or you have more questions, please don’t wait another day to contact us. You can get in touch with an advisor today by calling 866.890.9340.