The Nursing Shortage That Isn’t

In Modern Medicine, we called the nursing shortage Myth #3 in the suggested list of reasons for the rapidly increasing costs of health care.

David Williams discusses some of the reason for this misunderstanding in his article “The nursing shortage: Why it isn’t a good time to become a nurse” on KevinMD.com.

A good bit of this notion can be traced to the ever-present advertising presence we have today.  There are numerous nursing programs in need of students, and the notion that nurses are in demand and can always find jobs helps promote their programs:

I don’t know exactly how the nursing profession is going to evolve but I do notice that the advocates for training more nurses are typically those who run nursing schools rather than prospective employers of nurses, such as hospitals.

As Williams notes, despite the much touted nursing shortage, “somehow 43 percent of newly-licensed RNs can’t find jobs within 18 months.”

He cautions that nursing is not a path of guaranteed employment. If you choose nursing as a career, make sure it’s for the right reasons.

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Some young HR person once looked at my CV and asked me, quite seriously, if I had really done everything I had listed there. Well, yes. Because I am someone who can’t sit in a Morris Miller cubicle every day, much less for any great stretch of time. Once the problem is solved, I get bored and I’m ready to move on to the next challenge. This hasn’t afforded me any great stability in my work life. I simply arrive in places about ten years ahead of time. So far, at least, that penchant for early arrival hasn’t been accompanied with a pocketbook full of door knobs.

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