The recession has masked a growing shortage among health care workers. When the economy rebounds, hospitals could find themselves short-handed.
Experts say that while a chronic shortage of nurses nationwide has eased with the economic downturn, expected improvements in the economy and the growing number of senior citizens are expected to greatly increase the need for nurses in the next few years.
As the nation’s unemployment rate rose over the past two years, many retired health care workers returned to work after their spouses lost their jobs. Many of those employees are itching to go back into retirement just as soon as the economy allows.
And it’s not just retirees. Per diem employees, those that work a minimum number of hours per month, have switched to part-time and full-time posts, presumably to compensate for lost income elsewhere.
A stronger economy will prompt more nurses to retire or change careers as job and financial security concerns lessen. Even health care reform will likely lead to more patient visits. With this in mind, higher education institutions across the nation are stepping up efforts to get more people to at least consider nursing as a career.