If you are in the medical field, more than likely you have heard about the “nursing shortage.” If you have not heard about this, the nursing shortage is not going to change anytime soon. Nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country and nurses make up the largest segment in the workforce, so why is this shortage happening?

There are a few reasons as to why the nursing shortage is happening:

  1. According to the Atlantic Online, the primary cause of shortage is due to the Baby Boomer generation. There are more Americans over the age of 65 than any other time in history – due to better healthcare and technology, they have lived longer. This generation is older now and since it is the Baby Boomer generation, there is a need for more healthcare professionals. Between 2010 and 2030, the population of senior citizens will increase by 75 percent to 69 million, meaning one in five Americans will be a senior citizen; in 2050, an estimated 88.5 million people in the U.S. will be aged 65 and older (Health Services Research Online Journal).
  2. Another reason for the nursing shortage is the nurses are getting older. Due to the economy, these nurses have put off retiring. The majority of these women went into the nursing field in the 1960’s and 1970’s because at the time, there were not a lot of career options for women. There are about 700,000 nurses projected to leave or to retire by 2024.
  3. While it may seem like there are more people getting into nursing school, in all reality there are actually less admissions into nursing schools. According to American Associate of College Nursing Online, nursing schools have turned away 79,659 qualified candidates because there is a lack of resources; this includes insufficient funding, lack of educators, budget issues, and classroom space. And again, aging is a factor. Many of the instructors are reaching retirement age, but they can’t.

The nursing shortage also has its own effect in each state. According to an online research journal conducted by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, it gave an overview of what the impact of the nurse shortage could be in each state; and, they gave each state a rating that pertains to just how severe this problem can get.

So, what does the nursing shortage mean for traveling nurses? Traveling nurses can go on a 13 week assignment and fill the needs that the hospital has available. This allows them to not fight for a position in a nurse saturated area. A nurse saturated area is a community with more nurses than what they have available. For example: In Omaha, we have a minimum of 4 nursing programs and each one offers an accelerated program with graduating nurses every 13 months.

Travel options are endless if you have multiple state licenses or a Compact license. This will give you the opportunity to work really anywhere – you can go somewhere warm for the winter and in the mountains for the summer. The snow bird states are those in the south and have multiple positions because the older generation usually goes south for the winter. But, states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota often pay better because no one wants to work in the cold states during the winter months.

Traveling nurses and traveling medical professionals are key components for patient care during the nursing shortage. They are able to come in and help fill needs during this time. This is how they will make a difference in the nursing field.