When considering the nursing shortage, it is easy to forget that it includes much more than Registered Nurses (RNs). Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and other allied health professionals are equally impacted by burnout and increasing demand by employers. Per the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the looming nursing shortage will rise to more than 1 million unfilled positions within the next few years, and the roles nurses fill will change as well. Meanwhile, politics breed doubt and suspicion about if the shortage will worsen. So, those considering changing careers or exploring travel nursing need to understand what realistic changes may occur regardless of politics.
Changing Healthcare Delivery Models Will Change, Increasing the Demand For Nurses.
Evidence gathered by the HRSA suggests the demand for nursing will increase sporadically throughout the coming years. The roles of nurses will evolve as healthcare models and service delivery methods grow. Rather than focusing on reactive care, more positions will follow preventative care models, treating the healthy to prevent future illnesses. However, training and licensing of LPNs nationally may outpace demand.
In other words, more LPNs moving into RN-held positions could be the proverbial solution to the nursing crisis. Of course, educational requirements may change to reflect the change in skills. Furthermore, the timeline for projecting graduating LPN demand remains subject to change, so the shortage could easily spread to LPNs as well.
More Nurses Are Reaching Retirement Age, Leaving Younger Nurses to Fill the Gaps.
Retirement is another factor impacting the impending nursing shortage. Most nurses, reports Healthcare Finance, were between 25- and 55-years-old. Since specific statistics are not available, reporters suggest that more nurses will retire than anticipated. Thus, the demand for experienced nurses will climb. Since experience begets training of new nurses, the shortage may be felt greatest in areas with high nurse graduation rates.
Younger nurses seem to be particularly vulnerable to burnout. Unlike their predecessors, younger nurses feel more susceptible to being moved between care units and facilities without their input. Although this practice remains common, it leaves nurses feeling “treated like foot soldiers,” reports the Nursing Times. Unfortunately, the change from routine and sense of carelessness from employers results in stress, increasing the risk of burnout.
Healthcare Reform May Take Years to Be Repealed or Replaced, So Demand For Access to Healthcare Will Continue to Rise.
Healthcare reform, especially the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has dominated the news since the 2016 election. Although the control of the House and Senate makes repeal likely, it is not reasonable to assume repeal will eliminate healthcare demand and nursing shortage woes. This is because an Act of Congress requires a majority approval vote to pass and the President’s signature to become law.
Consider the other end of the spectrum. If the President fails to sign a bill, which may contain much more than just healthcare reform, it would then require a two-thirds approval by Congress. Given the current political makeup of both chambers, passage remains unlikely. Yet, even a signed bill that repeals the ACA may require years to implement.
For example, nearly four years passed between the signing of the ACA in 2010 and the opening of the Healthcare Marketplace at the end of 2013, explains eHealth. So, the immediate future and demand for nurses will continue as more people gain access to healthcare in the interim, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Meanwhile, politicians have promised a replacement plan, which will further catalyze demand for more nurses in the profession.
Get Ahead of the Curve by Exploring Temporary and Travel Nursing Positions Now.
Demand for nurses will explode within the next eight years with growth in demand at approximately 16 percent, adding more than 500,000 jobs among LPNs (117,300) and RNs (439,300) combined by 2024. Paired with today’s shortcomings on filled positions, overall demand for reactive and preventative care will drive the shortage forward. So, today’s nurses can take advantage of the projected surge in demand by embracing alternative nursing employment, including travel nursing, to help meet some of the demand.
There is a whole word that needs care, and some areas will be harder than others by the coming shortage. So, travel nursing will be the natural answer for relocating the supply and demand of nurses as demand continues to rise. Explore your travel nursing and career growth opportunities by contacting APN Healthcare Solutions online or calling 1 (609)924-3400 today.