The Florida Center for Nursing at the University of Central Florida published a report this week that has the health care industry buzzing about an impending shortage of registered nurses in the state.
The report is the result of the school’s scheduled survey of six nursing industry groups who indicated that there will be a shortage of about 15,000 nurses this year in Florida; a problem that is expected to only get worse unless more registered nurses enter the job market.
While the report found that hiring has slowed down significantly because of the recession, there were still more than 8,000 positions to be filled in 2011 and the surveyed group said that they intend to open nearly 7,000 more positions this year. Making up this total is an estimated 9,000 positions for registered nurses (RN); 1,500 for certified nursing assistants (CAN); and 3,200 licensed practitioner nurses (LPN).
Nursing schools have been enrolling more students than ever, after calls from health officials for students to fill the coming needs of the nation. It was predicted a few years ago that nursing shortages would become a problem in the United States, where only pocketed regions show nursing school graduates that have a hard time finding employment. Outside of these small areas, the demand for nurses is steadily increasing.
This study by the University of Central Florida is that latest survey to prove the predictions of health care officials to be accurate. Most studies of its kinds blame the shortage on a number of common factors. The studies aren’t new, either. In 2001, when nurse shortages were breaking the news the first time, a survey by the Federation of Nurses and Health Professional that a worsening shortage was imminent, but blamed it on nurses leaving the workforce because of unsatisfactory working conditions. A decade later, nursing schools and the industry are still struggling to keep up with demand.