April 11, 2008

New book highlights looming nurse shortage

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New book highlights looming nurse shortage

The United States health care system needs to brace for a severe shortage of nurses, according to “The Future of the Nursing Workforce in the United States: Data, Trends and Implications,” written by Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Douglas Staiger, Ph.D., Dartmouth University, and David Auerbach, Ph.D., of the Congressional Budget Office.

“It is a matter of supply and demand in a profession that is the front line of our health care system,” said Buerhaus. “While there have been some notable and important improvements, our data shows that we have in no way solved this problem.”

The authors point out that demand for registered nurses (RNs) is expected to grow at 2 percent to 3 percent per year, as it has done for the past four decades, while the supply of RNs is expected to grow very little as large numbers of nurses begin to retire. A deficit of the supply of nurses is expected to begin in 2015, grow to an estimated 285,000 full-time nurses in 2020 and reach 500,000 (16 percent) by 2025.

The book is available at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and directly from Bartlett Publishers.