The U.S. health care system is undergoing a transformation in response to a number of factors. These include but are not limited to provisions in the health reform law, advances in technology and the aging of the population. Whatever the cause and directions of change, many analysts predict a shortage of health care providers in the next decade and beyond. Debates continue in policy circles among researchers, analysts and stakeholders on whether the shortages are due to insufficient numbers of providers, or maldistribution of those providers. There are areas of the country, desirable locations such as big cities and major medical centers, where providers can’t find jobs, and others where there are no providers to fill empty slots.
This toolkit focuses on nursing, the coming shortages, how they might be avoided, and how health reform is contributing to the changing role of nursing.