The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Baby Boomers and the Nursing Shortage
As the Baby Boomer generation ages, the number of nurses required to provide adequate healthcare increases significantly.
The number of people with chronic health conditions is expected to grow from 8.6 million today, to 30 million by 2030. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurses will grow significantly. Up to 1 million additional nurses may be needed by the year 2022 alone.
To compound the problem and make matters worse, 50% of the current nursing workforce is nearing retirement age. Over 100,00 nursing positions remain unfilled, while the majority of long-term care facilities are not equipped to provide even basic health care.
The good news is that the the population of Millennials, or Generation Y, is roughly equal to the population of the Baby Boomers. These Millennials tend to be tech savvy and desire both rapid advancement, and immediate results from their work. In order to deal with the looming shortage of nurses, the healthcare industry will need to cater to Generation Y. Whether by providing flexible hours or increase advancement opportunities, it is this generation that will play the most significant role in the future of healthcare.
The need for nurses will be at an all time high in the near future. This infographic from Maryville University shows just significant the nursing shortage will be.
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HOW BABY BOOMERS WILL IMPACT THE NURSING SHORTAGE
THE BABY BOOMER POPULATION
Today, baby boomers, born between 1946-1964, (78 million) make up 25% of the total (312) million U.S. population.
By 2029, when the last round of baby boomers reaches retirement age, the number of Americans 65 or older will climb to more than 71 million, up from about 41 million in 2011, a 73% increase, according to Census Bureau estimates.
GROWTH IN HEALTH CARE NEEDS
- By 2020, an estimated 5.6 million health care jobs will be created to accommodate seniors’ increasing needs.
- As boomers age, the number with multiple chronic conditions is expected to grow from almost 8.6 million today to almost 37 million in 2030.
- ABOUT 1 OF EVERY 10 BOOMERS
- 79 million baby boomers are expected to live longer because of both lifestyle changes and advances in health care.
SHORTAGE OF NURSES
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for nurses and replacements to increase to 1.05 million by 2022.
More than 50% of the nursing workforce is close to retirement age.
The median age for nurses is 46.
In hospitals across the country 126,000 nursing positions remain unfilled.
90% of long-term care facilities don’t have enough nurse to provide even the most basic care.
THE NEXT GENERATION OF NURSES
America’s Generation Y (Millennial) population, those born between 1977-1994, is estimated at 76 million or 25% of the total U.S. population, virtually equal to the Baby Boomer population.
- MILLENNIALS ARE WELL EDUCATED
- SKILLED IN TECHNOLOGY
- PREFER TO WORK IN TEAMS
- SEEK IMMEDIATE RESULTS FROM THEIR WORK
- DESIRE RAPID ADVANCEMENT
- HAVE A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT
- YET WORK LIFE BALANCE IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO THEM
The health care industry will need to lure Millennials with flexible work hours, the best technology to do their jobs, job specialization, frequent recognition, and one-on-one coaching.
ADULT GERONTOLOGY NURSES
Older adults represent:
- 46% of all hospital stays
- 75% of all ambulatory adult primary care visits
- 80% of all home care visits
- 90% of all long-term care residents
LESS THAN 1% OF REGISTERED NURSES ARE CERTIFIED IN ADULT-GERONTOLOGY
It’s estimated by the year 2020, nearly 12 million people will need long-term care, and this number is sure to grow with the aging boomer population.