Nurses will be in high demand

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In an effort to promote nursing, I'd like to share some statistics regarding the nursing shortage crisis.

Perhaps you've heard for years now about the shortage of nurses, but the situation is expected to worsen over the next seven to 10 years. Baby boomers are hitting retirement age and are bringing with them many health issues. Obamacare is making health care accessible to many who could not previously afford it. And our nursing work force is an aging one.

According to the American Nurses Association, the median age for nurses is 46 with 50 percent of nurses close to retirement. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 233,000 RN jobs will open every year until 2016.

That's in addition to the 2.7 million jobs currently filled. Due to the shortage of qualified instructors and the decrease in funding for training programs, only about 165,500 candidates passed the RN licensing exam in 2011.

The U.S. has been recruiting nurses from many other countries, but those other countries are also in need of more nurses.

The Department of Professional Employees states that, "Vacancy rates for nurse positions in Jamaica and Trinidad are 59 percent and 53 percent respectively, due to nurse migration and the high demand for English-speaking nurses. Even in the Philippines, a country that has historically provided a majority of U.S. guest nurses, more nurses are leaving than are being trained. Public hospitals are reporting nurse-to-patient ratios as bad as 1:60. The Philippine Hospital Association claims that 200 hospitals have closed due to a shortage of doctors as the nation's physicians retrain as nurses and emigrate to the U.S."

The rate of immigration of internationally trained nurses had declined since the economic downturn in 2008, but 23,266 still passed the NCLEX exam in 2011.

With the economy as it is, and with many people out of work, perhaps it would be frugal to retrain as a nurse.

US News ranked nursing No. 1 on it Best Jobs of 2012 list. And in 2010, the median wage for nurses was $64,690. The positions are available all over the U.S. and world. It is a rewarding job with many different and exciting applications like ER, surgery, long-term care and pediatrics to name a few.

M.M. Avery

College Place

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