Where have all the RNs gone? Well, they are still around for a bit longer, but a massive wave—a veritable tsunami—of RN retirements is definitely on the horizon. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that for the 10-year period ending in 2022 an estimated 575,000 new nurses will be needed. Unfortunately, about 555,000 will be retiring and/or leave the workforce in that same time period.
There are several reasons for the loss in RNs that go back a couple of decades. The 1970’s brought more opportunities for women to enter “nontraditional” careers—like becoming a pilot or lawyer. Women did not enter nursing. Then, federal dollars came available for nursing education. So, back women came to nursing. But…these nurses are slated to retire soon.
The downturn in the economy has kept some nurses from leaving the workforce. But, as the economy improves and age becomes more of a factor, nurses will retire or find jobs outside the hospital arena.
Compounding the problem, of retirement comes the increasing demand for nurses in settings outside hospitals. Home care, hospices, industry, community health and many more practice areas will need what nurse’s offer.
Are hospitals prepared for this exodus?
Do you have any answers to this impending crisis? If so, let us know.