Future nurse supply may not meet demand
By: Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development says nursing is one of the occupations that will be in high demand but future supply is uncertain according to a survey of 77,000 RN's.
A predicted nationwide shortage of nurses has been pushed back by the recession to the year 2020. Local officials haven't pinned down when it will occur in Wisconsin, but say unless there's more faculty to train more nurses it's likely.
One reason, says Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman, is that nurses are older than employees in other fields, which means they're closer to retirement. She says if one looks at who the workers are in Wisconsin, most fall between ages of 40 and 44. But if one then looks at the nursing workforce, nurses are older with ages clustered mostly in the 45-49 range.
The survey shows 93-percent of RN's in Wisconsin are women, with most working in hospitals. Nearly 43-percent have Bachelor's Degrees. Nursing groups and state jobs officials have long sought this kind of data so they can plan for the future. This survey of RN's will be followed by one for licensed practical nurses, or LPN's.
State workforce officials say 11-percent of the 36,000 new jobs added since December of 2009 were health care workers.