The employment response of older and foreign-born RNs indicates how the labor market is likely to respond to future shortages, and it emphasizes the challenges confronting policymakers as the RN workforce ages and eventually shrinks in size.
The total population of registered nurses is growing at a slow rate The ratio of potential caregivers to the people most likely to need care, the elderly population, will decrease by 40% between 2010 and 2030. Demographic changes may limit access to health care unless the number of nurses and other caregivers grows in proportion to the rising elderly population. The average nurse vacancy rate in US hospitals was 13%. Over one in seven hospitals reported a severe RN vacancy rate of more than 20%. High vacancy rates were measured across rural and urban settings and in all regions of the country. Survey respondents indicated that a shortage of personnel is contributing to emergency department overcrowding and ambulance diversions.