Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Once again the looming nursing shortage is in the news. Depending on who is projecting the shortage we are A) already experiencing a nursing shortage B) Will experience the beginning of a much larger nursing shortage by 2010 or C) the Mega nursing shortage will be upon us by 2020. Why is there such a disparity in the data?

Partly because there are different factors being looked at. One thing we know is that the nursing shortage is not a universal "everyone, everywhere is suffering" type of shortage. There are significant regional differences that play into it. Salaries, population and even geographical factors contribute. More often these days almost all of the studies looking at nursing shortages agree that one of the significant factors is that schools of nursing cannot produce enough nurses. Shockingly, many nursing schools are turning away applicants because of a shortage of instructors and lack of adequate funding. Creating nurses is not very profitable for colleges so "surprise, surprise!" they don't expand the programs to meet the demand. But, just as importantly is the shortage of qualified instructors. Being a nursing instructor requires at least a Master's degree in Nursing and usually a pay cut for most nurses so it should be no surprise to anyone that nurses don't have much incentive to switch from clinical practice to teaching.

What this means for travel nursing is that opportunities should continue to grow for nurses interested in traveling. My site www.the-travel-nurse.com has details of how to become a travel nurse. The number of facilities and nursing areas that are recruiting agency nurses and travel nurses is pretty impressive. Don't expect to be able to travel easily if you want to be a diabetic educator (yet) but if you are an OR, Med/surg, ER or Critical Care nurse you would be amazed at how fast you can be traveling.

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