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A New Study Unveils that the Nurses’ Shortage may be Worse than Estimated by 2030

A New Study Unveils that the Nurses’ Shortage may be Worse than Estimated by 2030

In the post-pandemic world, the world has seen many drastic shifts, especially in the healthcare sector. Healthcare was the most affected sector during the pandemic, affecting frontline workers. All healthcare professionals, mainly nurses, went through increased workload and stress, psychological impact, financial challenges, etc. 

In the current scenario, the demand for nurses has accelerated throughout the world. After the pandemic, the shortage of nurses has been rising continuously without any stop. As per the latest polls, approximately 91% of nurses believe the nursing shortage is getting worse and unmanageable over time. Many surveys and polls were conducted to examine the current and upcoming nurses’ workforce shortage to get a better idea about the shortage of nurses.

Outcomes of the Conducted Surveys and Polls:

  • As per the survey by HRSA Workforce Projections Reports, it found that only by the end of 2030, 98% of the total demand for nurses will be fulfilled. However, according to some sources, the actual figure would be lower, at 94%, with a requirement for an extra 206,553 nurses.
  • The need for nurses in 42 out of the 50 states might remain unmet by 2030. The states that will face the maximum shortage of nurses could be North Dakota, Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Nevada.
  • At the same time, it is anticipated that some states in the USA are going to have more nurses than they need by the end of 2030. According to the sources, the states with the excess number of nurses would be Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

Why is the Nursing Shortage Growing in the US?

The nursing shortage has been lingering throughout the world for more than a decade. However, the shortage of nurses has taken a toll during the post-pandemic era. During the pandemic, nurses went through a lot of stress and work pressure that caused them to leave the nursing industry. As per a recently conducted survey, around 35% nurses wanted to leave the nursing profession in 2022 in the hope of a better career opportunity ahead. 

In addition, surveys revealed that nurses often intended to leave their jobs owing  retirement. According to the 2020 National Nursing Workforce analysis, an RN’s age is 52 on average. This indicates that a large number of nurses will soon retire, and there won’t be enough young nurses to take their place to fulfill the gap. 

The shortage of nurses throughout the US should be declared a national crisis. On September 1, 2021 the American Nurses Association submitted a request letter to (DHSS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, highlighting the shortage of nurses in the country and its effects on delivering quality treatment to patients. They urged that the shortage of nurses should be announced as a national crisis in the near future.

Nurse Workforce Shortage in the US by the Numbers 

The 2020 HRSA Nurse Workforce Forecasts report states, “Nationally, there will be an expected shortage of 78,610 full-time RNs in 2025 and a shortage of 63,720 FTE RNs in 2030.” 

The Bureau of Labour and Statistics predicts that the demand for nurses will only increase by 6% over the next ten years, which is just somewhat higher than the average growth rate for all occupations.

In addition to the above, the feedback received from the nurses on the issues was totally different.

 They say this problem is going to worsen over time than the rough estimates. Due to the shortage of nurses and lack of resources, they encounter a lot of problems while working, such as no breaks and hectic shifts. 

In reality, a 2022 research by McKinsey warned that the “nursing shortage will become severe by 2025”. This will be happening due to the estimated lack of 200,000–450,000 nurses (roughly 10%to 20%) of the nurses needed to provide total patient care.

In contrast to the prediction of the HRSA, other sources found that 94% of the total will be satisfied by the end of 2030. However, still, there will be a demand for 206,553 nurses across different states. 

State-by-State Projected RN Shortage/Surplus by 2030

As per the statistics, in a few states of the US, the demand for trained and professional nurses will be at its peak by the end of 2030. These states are going to be California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. Some states, on the other hand, would be demanding the least number of nurses, such as Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont, Montana, and Rhode. 

Top 5 states where the demand for nurses is assumed to be fulfilled by 2030

State Projected RN Surplus/Deficit
Vermont 105%
Maine 103%
Rhode Island 102%
West Virginia 102%
Alabama 101%

Top 5 states where the demand for Nurses is not assumed to be satisfied by 2030

State Projected RN Surplus/Deficit
North Dakota 84%
Colorado 86%
Texas 86%
Nevada 88%
Florida 88%

Ratios of Nurses per 1,000 People per State

Although nurse-to-population ratios vary greatly throughout the states, they will remain at their current levels according to the calculations above. 

Currently, South Dakota has 15.5 nurses per 1,000 residents, more than double Utah’s present rate of 7 RNs per 1,000 residents. 

Furthermore, according to a 2023 State of Nursing study, 79% of nurses currently indicate that their units are understaffed. This means that sustaining current levels won’t be sufficient for the majority of nations to halt the shortfall.


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