KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This past year the pandemic put nursing in the forefront, highlighting the profession and the need for more nurses.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 500,000 seasoned registered nurses are expected to retire by 2022, which means there will be more registered nurse jobs available than any other profession.
To avoid a nursing shortage, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 1.1 million new registered nurses would need to replace retirees.
“The educational needs of the nursing profession and the need for nursing care that exists in the US continues to push a feeling of responsibility and pressure on nursing educational institutions,” said Joy Roberts, dean of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.
Roberts said two factors that limit institutions from accepting more nursing students are a lack of skilled nursing educators and restrictions on class sizes.
“We need to reproduce ourselves as nurse educators and find ways to make it more attractive so it can compete with the attraction of the clinic aspects,” she said.
While the pandemic exacerbated the shortage, showcasing the need for nurses with critical care training and community health experience, it did not create the shortage.
According to Dean Sally Maliski of the University of Kansas School of Nursing, rural communities have been especially affected by the shortage.
“While we see large institutions and hospitals being able to fill their positions, we see community hospitals and rural hospitals and community settings very much struggling to get the nurses that are needed to provide care and keep beds open,” Maliski said.