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Babyboomers and the Nursing Shortage

The current and the predicted nursing shortage is one of the most dominant issues in health care today. Experts predict the shortage to worsen as the average age of practicing nurses increases.

There are many theories on the current shortage; too few potential nursing students, babyboomer nurses retiring and leaving the force along with the projected increase in patient population, just to name a few.

A little considered explanation is that there are just not enough instructors available and many qualified nursing students are being turned away.In Illinois a survey found that in the Quad Cities alone, there were 650 nursing applications for only 400 spots. Illowa Partners in Nursing is doing something to combat this problem. They have developed a workshop to teach nurses how they can become adjunct faculty at local colleges.

Ruth Sueverkruebbe, Eastern Iowa Community College Nursing Department Coordinator, states, “This is a faculty shortage and it’s going to get worse because a lot of us boomers are going to retire in the next five to ten years and that will probably be over 50 percent of the nursing faculty.”

Sheri Hayes, a nurse attending the workshop, says “It’s critical that we have good qualified nurses.” And, “the babyboomers are coming into an age where we are going to need increased healthcare and we desperately need professionals that can meet our needs.”

With over thirty-five years of nursing experience, Hayes says the shortage has motivated her to consider teaching. She added, “That kind of prompted me to think this would be a good thing to do with early retirement, something I could do, teach part time and still be an asset to my profession.”

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