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New Hope for Nursing Shortage

Modern Medicine (01/24/12)

Since 2002, there has been a steady increase in the number of people becoming registered nurses. A study published by the RAND Corp., Vanderbilt University, and Dartmouth College finds a long-term steady increase in the number of people becoming registered nurses. The number of people aged 23 to 26 who became registered nurses increased by 62% from 2002 to 2009.

“The spike we’ve seen in young women becoming registered nurses is dramatic,” says David Auerbach, the study’s lead author and an economist at RAND. “If the trend continues, it will help to ease some of the concerns about future nursing shortages.” Some researchers have warned the U.S. could experience a shortage of 400,000 registered nurses by the year 2020. But the new RAND study concludes that if the number of individuals entering the nursing profession continues to grow at the current rate, the nation’s projected nursing needs will be fully met by 2030. “These findings were a real surprise and are a very positive development for the future health care work force in the U.S.,” says Auerbach. “Compared to where nursing supply was just a few years ago, the change is just incredible.”