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Nursing Shortage: The Good and the Bad

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Female doctor in hospital hallway

by Megan Woods

According to the American Nursing Association, the nursing shortage is not going to be decreasing any time soon.

Over the past decade, the average age of a Registered Nurse has increased from 43 years old in 2002 to 45 in 2010. Aging Baby Boomers is inevitable, as well as their retirement. More people are turning 65, and in turn, have many more medical and health needs that put a strain on our health system.

There might be opportunities for those that are seeking a job. Unfortunately, for those that are already employed, they need to work long hours under stressful conditions, resulting in fatigue, injury and job dissatisfaction. This can cause medical errors and mistakes while the quality of a patient can suffer.

West Virginia University Medicine offered an incentive back in 2016 to hire 200 nurses in 150 day. WVU Medicine is still searching for more than 800 positions today.

Several hospitals are also combating the local nurse shortage. St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington provides free tuition to any full-time or part-time employees.

In Charleston, their medical center has a direct partnership with Bridge Valley and Technical College that helps students in the career path exchange the cost of training for work commitment at the Charleston Area Medical Center.

At a glance, the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses says that in 2016, West Virginia had a need of over 30,000 nurses. During the fiscal year of 2016, the state of West Virginia issued more than 2,700 Registered Nursing licenses.

There are 19,746 registered nurses from West Virginia, while a total 6, 209 are from bordering states.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment of the Parkersburg WV area’s unemployment rate was 5% in 2016. As the state struggles with economic growth, the possibility of looking at shortages in employment opportunities such as nursing could improve the unemployment rate.

Our state peaked in nursing graduates at 1,216 in 2009 while dropping over 200 individual graduations in 2016.

The number one way to combat the nursing shortage is to reach out to high school students deciding their career path and showing them that an opportunity in nursing is promising as well as rewarding, according the American Nursing Association.

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