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Nursing Shortage

The Nursing Shortage Isn’t Stopping Soon


It’s likely you’ve been hearing about the "nursing shortage” for years now.  Recently, many media reports have suggested that the shortage has been resolved due to an increase in nurse hiring, caused by the U.S. economic downturn. In fact, registered nurses are still at the top of the list when it comes to employment growth (BLS, 2010). However, when you look at the big picture of today’s nursing workforce and the health care picture, some key facts jump out immediately:


  • The median age of nurses is 46. More than 50% of the nursing workforce is very close to retirement age.
  • America is seeing vast increases in the number of people over 65. This age group has many medical and health needs, and will put a strain on our health system.
  • Recent reforms in health care, such as the Affordable Care Act, will give millions of people access to the health care system. More nurses and health professionals are needed in response.

These factors, combined with an anticipated strengthening of the economy, will create a renewed shortage for nurses. In fact, a critical shortage of registered nurses is looming with statistics showing a potential shortage of 50,000 RNs in Georgia by the year 2030.


Negative Effects of the Nursing Shortage


The nursing shortage affords opportunity, but there are consequences, too. Nurses often need to work long hours under stressful conditions, which can result in fatigue, injury and job dissatisfaction. Nurses suffering in these environments are more prone to making mistakes and medical errors and quality of care can suffer.


When speaking with their patients, colleagues, legislators and others, nurses must be armed with the facts on the nursing shortage. For this purpose, GNA has created a Nursing Workforce Fact Sheet with information on Georgia’s nursing shortage. ANA’s web site features some useful resources on the nursing shortage HERE.


Another great resource for national nursing shortage information is the American Association of Colleges of Nursing web site at




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