Are Young People the Cure for the Nursing Shortage?

Dec 14, 2011, 3:37 PM, Posted by mtomlinson

A study in the December issue of Health Affairs finds that the number of women ages 23 to 26 entering the nursing profession increased by 62 percent between 2002 and 2009, causing faster growth than previously anticipated in the nursing workforce. If this trend continues, the study says, the nursing workforce will grow at roughly the same rate as the population through 2030.

While this data offers hope, experts caution that a nursing shortage still looms and it could undermine patient care. The trend identified in the Health Affairs study will only continue if young people continue to flock to nursing jobs, and nobody knows if that will be the case. Further, there remains a bottleneck in nursing education that could narrow the pipeline of nurses.

Read more about this critically important new study here.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.