Nurses Up the Hiring Ante

Chelsea Rice, May 13, 2013

A federal report on nursing workforce trends, a nationwide legislative push to change scope-of-practice laws for nurse practitioners, and a legal reminder about the management of healthcare workers with hepatitis B round out the week's news.

Recruiting, retaining, and managing nurses with finesse has never been more important. As a group, these healthcare workers are better educated and more politically active than ever before.

So the release last week of the Health Resources and Services Administration National Center for Health Workforce Analysis report is as timely as it is illuminating. The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education reports significant progress since 2001 in the expanding numbers and rising education level of the nation's nurses.

Here's a snapshot:

  • 500,000 nurses are expected to retire by 2020;
  • 1.2 million nurses are needed to fill their void;
  • The number of registered nurses has grown 24%;
  • LPNs have increased by 14%;
  • More than twice the amount of nursing school graduates in 2011 passed the national licensure (NCLEX-RN) examination than did a decade ago

More nurses, and more educated nurses is better for healthcare and better for hiring managers. But this stat, an indicator of rising healthcare costs for this group of employees, may be of particular interest to employers:

  • The average age of nurses has increased slightly, and about one-third of the nursing workforce is older than 50
Chelsea Rice

Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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