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View Diary: Napa State Hospital - Will Someone Please Step Up to the Plate? (39 comments)

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    I wrote a diary about the nursing shortage a year ago, including this:

    The next time you're inside a hospital, look at the nurses you see. Most of them look like they've been around for a while, don't they? I've been reading statistics and studies for days now, and they consistently agree that the average age of RN's in this country is somewhere between 45 and 50 and climbing. Worse, the percentage of RN's less than thirty years of age is in the single digits and dropping. The demand for nurses has never been higher, the shortage has never been greater, and the implications have never been more dire. What's going on here?

    Before we can add nurses to the workforce we have to educate them. One of the most serious bottlenecks is a nursing faculty shortage. We can build classrooms and order textbooks and offer scholarships and grants, but nurses with advanced degrees who are willing to teach can't be ordered from Amazon. Their available resource pool is aging along with the rest of us. Nurses with advanced degrees have opportunities in advanced practice, nursing management, hospital management, and research -- to name just a few areas that pay much better than teaching. Until this problem is resolved the nursing shortage will grow.

    If we can't educate more nurses rapidly, we should hang on to the ones we have, right? HR types call this retention. Unfortunately, as the shortage of nurses becomes more dire and as the population ages, the job satisfaction of bedside nurses goes down. Our nurses are taking care of sicker patients, they're taking care of more patients per shift, they're getting older themselves, and they are leaving bedside nursing in increasing numbers. Some, like me, suffer career-ending injuries at work. Some take early retirement. Some go into other areas of nursing, working in schools and public health and, yes, for insurance companies. Some become pharmaceutical sales reps. Whatever is was that drew many nurses into the profession -- and it's different for each of us -- is no longer there for too many nurses.

    Excellent diary, kahtymeridiah.

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by KelleyRN2 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 09:56:06 AM PST

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