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Doctor and nurses discussing over digital tablet

Source: Morsa Images / Getty

The demand for nurses has been discussed for the past 20 years, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (AACN)  The Bureau of Labor Statistics expect 175,000 vacancies for registered nurses every year through 2029.  Here are some reasons given for the shortage:

  • retirement or those choosing to leave
  • people are living longer therefore the level of care increases
  • shortage of nursing faculty
  • emotional burnout

Nursing is described by AACN as a knowledge intensive profession built from years of experience, from on the job training, and from clinical reasoning skills.  The American Nurses Association expects about one million nurses to retire between now and 2030.  Those retirees leave with a wealth of experience and knowledge.  And although the pandemic has really taken a toll on the professionals, some nurses have chosen to become travel nurses making up to triple or quadruple of their hourly rate.

For North Carolina, a researcher for North Carolina’s health care workforce, says her data shows that the state will face a probable shortage of about 12,500 nurses within the next 10 years. And that the impact of the pandemic has pushed the professionals to their limit which may cause the state to need approximately 21,000 nurses by 2033.  Fraher said she’s “never been so worried about a workforce in her life based on the data.”

A North Carolina Nurses Association survey revealed that many of the nurses ‘described themselves as experiencing burnout.’  Some of the other responses to the survey:

  • dreaded going to work
  • started taking antidepressant to function
  • told my family and friends that he/she looked exhausted all of the time

The head of the North Carolina Area Health Education Center reported that his organization surveyed employees and found that it has been difficult recruiting and retaining staff to fill vacancies, especially nurses. The emotional toll on healthcare workers over the past two years as a result of the pandemic has certainly made an impact. Public Health Director Lisa Harrison said, “seeing the abuse that nurses have received in the past two years doing their jobs has been profound and their exhaustion is also profound.”

The nursing profession is calling for help however the panic button is not getting answered.