A shortage of registered nurses has been predicted for some time, yet in some parts of the county, new nurses are reporting difficulty in finding jobs. Nursing schools are churning out more Registered Nurses (RNs) than ever—with the number of nursing programs doubling in the last 10 years—and there are now 750,000 RNs under the age of 35 compared to 500,000 a decade prior. But the bigger issue, according to a new report is the delayed retirement of baby-boomer nurses, who make up 40% of the RN workforce.
A new study, published in the August 2014 edition of Health Affairs, reveals that more nurses are delaying retirement and derailing earlier workforce predictions.
In the report, lead author David I. Auerbach of the Rand Corp. reveals that between 1969 and 1990, for a given number of RNs who were working at age 50, 47% were still working at age 62 and 9% at 69. But between 1991 and 2012, those proportions increase to 74% at age 62 and 24% at age 69. Without the historical attrition rates, this resulted in an additional 136,000 nurses in the workforce, the study notes.