I’m reading more and more stories about nurses who are being fiercely recruited with $10,000 sign-on bonuses, laptop computers, free trips and in some cases free cars; all this for deciding to work for the recruiting employer. If a nurse wants a change of scenery she/he can relocate to another part of the country for free. Hospitals and other healthcare employers are frequently picking up the tab. When nurses want to return to school and earn an RN to BSN or a Masters in Nursing, their education is subsidized. The current nursing shortage crisis has opened up tremendous financial opportunity for all nurses as RN’s everywhere are calling the shots and reaping the rewards.
According to the MSHA, at least 126,000 nursing positions are vacant at hospitals nationwide. The figure is expected to reach 400,000 by 2020. The shortage is caused by the increasing age of baby boomers, along with expanding career choices for women during the past few decades. The nationwide nursing shortage is only part of an overall health care shortage. Doctors, Pharmacy technicians, laboratory technicians and many other health care employees are also in short supply. But the nursing shortage is more noticeable because they make up the largest classification in the health care system.
Publicity about the nursing shortage has led to improvements. Many schools have added or expanded nursing programs. Online nursing degree programs have become more recognized and have helped tremendously, as traditional classrooms are at capacity, but the education system alone can’t resolve the problem. More than 147,000 qualified applicants were turned away last year because schools can accommodate only a limited number of students.
The national nursing shortage crisis may not be good for patients and others who fall under the care of this special group, however one thing is clear: it pays to be a nurse.