Will There Be A New Supply Of Nurses To Meet The Growing Need?
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Nursing is the second fastest growing occupation in the US according to the Department of Labor. Applications to nursing programs are up but the country cannot train all those interested in becoming RNs. In 2005 147,000 qualified applicants were turned away from America 's nursing schools. That's because there is a shortage of faculty. 50 percent of nurse faculty is expected to retire within the next decade.
Nurses choose hospital work over teaching because the pay is so much better. An RN with a community college degree can make the same as an educator with a doctoral degree. Senior nurses and nurse administrators can earn into the six figures if they work in a hospital. One route being taken by hospitals is that of training their own employees to become RNs. They are also aggressively recruiting both foreign trained and US trained nurses to come to work at the bedside. But critics say creating a new supply of nurses will not stem the growing shortage unless working conditions for nurses are addressed, particularly in relation to the number of patients that each nurse cares for.