September 15, 2015

Will nursing workforce weather retirement of baby boomers?

By: OR Manager

Editor's Note

The doubling of enrollment in nursing schools and surge of new RNs into the workforce will lead to continued growth of the nursing workforce, though this growth may not be sufficient to meet demand, this study finds.

Annual retirement of RNs will accelerate from 20,000 a decade ago to 80,000 in the next decade, and the RN workforce is projected to increase from 2.7 million in 2013 to 3.3 million in 2030.

This increase in workforce size, which was not expected a decade ago, is contingent on new entry into nursing continuing at its current rate. Even then, supply will fall short of demand by 128,000 by 2025, the authors say.


Importance: After forecasts made more than a decade ago suggested dire nursing shortages, enrollment in nursing schools doubled. The implications of this unprecedented change for the nursing workforce have not yet been fully explored. Objective: To forecast the size and age distribution of the nursing workforce to the year 2030 and to compare to demand recently projected by the Health Resources and Services Agency.

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