Why Nurses Will Continue to Be In Demand
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over the next few years, the healthcare system will need roughly 1.1 million new nurses to fill in vacancies due to retirement and expansion in hospitals. Additionally, the bureau projects industry growth of 7% until 2029.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the global population of nurses is less than 28 million, a shortage of at least 5.9 million—creating healthcare gaps in vulnerable countries such as Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
Taking these numbers into consideration, it is safe to assume that a nursing career is a smart choice. It’s also a perfect time for students who wish to pursue higher education or who want to shift careers.
Reasons for Increasing Demand for Nurses
Here are some reasons the nursing profession will continue to grow in the next decade:
Steady Population Growth
The world’s population may be showing a downward trend with an annual growth rate of 1.05% in 2020 compared to the 1.08%, 1.10%, and 1.125% AGRs in 2019, 2018, and 2017, respectively. However, experts believe that the world population will continue to grow, albeit slower than before. A growing population means that more people will need access to healthcare.
Aging Baby Boomer Population
What’s more concerning is that the baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) are aging. This is why many investors are now pouring their money into nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Aside from filling the gaps in the hospital setting, nurses will also be in demand in these other healthcare facilities. This translates to a greater demand for nurses who will provide healthcare services for this generation as they enter their twilight years.
Birth of New Technologies
The medical industry is rapidly embracing technology. As the adoption of new technology comes into play, many providers will need seasoned personnel to manage it. In most cases, these positions call for individuals with an extensive understanding of the technology and the required medical training and knowledge—and RNs will surely take the helm. Experienced RNs typically have the skill set necessary to handle telehealth, centralized command centers, portable monitors, electronic health records, and automated IV pumps, to name a few innovations coming into general use.
Increase in Life Expectancy
According to the WHO, global life expectancy rates grew by over six years from 2000 to 2019, largely due to technological advancements in the medical field. Notably, more people living longer means more medical help will be required in their later years. More nurses will be needed to provide that care and assistance.
Better Health Reforms
As many countries aim to improve healthcare provision and make it more accessible to everyone, hospitals and clinics are legally mandated to provide the necessary care. In the US, the Affordable Care Act gives low-income family groups access to treatment. One of the strategies to meet these increasing demands is to employ more nurses to help.
Shortage of Primary Care Physicians
A recent study from the Association of American Medical Colleges noted that by 2032, there will be a shortage of as many as 55,300 primary care physicians. This shortage means that nurses will have more expanded roles in healthcare systems. Family Nurse Practitioners will be in demand, particularly in areas where FNPs enjoy full practice authority. Since it will take years to train so many doctors, more medical facilities will turn to nurses to keep up with the rapid growth in the medical field.
Focus on Holistic Care
A growing body of evidence showing the benefits of holistic care has increased its adoption, and nurses have a big role to play to address this demand. Nurses understand a patient’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health needs. With such positive outcomes being reported, people are asking for this kind of care, and many hospitals and healthcare facilities are now moving to integrate holistic practices into their medical delivery.
How Are Nursing Programs Responding to this Demand?
With a better job outlook for nurses, many nursing programs are now adapting to the rapidly changing needs of the industry. Many colleges are now expanding their nursing degree offerings online, particularly catering to nurses who wish to obtain higher education while continuing to work full-time, and those who want to shift their specialty.
Since there is an increase in the integration of holistic care in the medical setting, many nursing schools offer programs such as the Associate Degree in Nursing, which have a focus on teaching holistic care and its best practices, helping students prepare for their nursing careers.
The State of the World’s Nursing Report 2020 highlighted many notable gaps in the nursing workforce as well as areas for improvement, and many of them highlight the need to make considerable investments in education and jobs.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out, “Nurses are the backbone of any health system. Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19. This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play, and a wake-up call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy.”
Boosting the quality of nursing programs and streamlining the application process, as well as improving support for the nursing profession overall will encourage more people to consider this career.
Jessica Williams is a marketing professional for HCI College, a school dedicated to preparing students for a career in the medical field by offering programs such as Nursing, EMT, and Paramedical services. The institution is best known for its practical approach to learning that propels students from theoretical classroom instruction and forwards them into the workforce.
We regularly share news, trends, and insights about the industry on the official HCI blog. Do connect with us on Twitter @hcicollege.