More Nursing School Applicants Turned Away, Study Finds
Despite a growing shortage of nurses nationwide, the number of applicants denied admission to nursing schools has increased sixfold since 2002 because of a lack of instructors, according to a report released Monday by PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
The report, called "What Works: Healing the Healthcare Staffing Shortage," also found that by 2010, the number of registered nurses in the U.S. will begin to decline, a situation that has not occurred for decades.
The report found that half of all new nurses leave their first job within two years, also noting that every 1% increase in nurse turnover costs a hospital about $300,000 annually. The report found that the nurse work force "in general is dissatisfied" for three primary reasons: excessive paperwork, heavy workloads and inadequate staffing (Wessel, Orlando Sentinel, 7/10).
Bill Dracos, director of PWC's Health Advisory Practice, said that nationally, "despite the growing importance of nurses in the health care continuum, there is a lack of broad-reaching financial incentives to bolster nursing education." He added, "Hospitals receive significant federal funding for medical education, but they are not similarly subsidized for training nurses" (Roberson, Dallas Morning News, 7/10).
The report also found that the number of doctors in the U.S. will continue to increase but that there are "serious misdistributions of physicians by specialty and geography." Doctors who complete their residency training are more likely to pursue higher-paying specialties than primary care, while 20% of U.S. residents live in places with a primary care shortage, the report found (Orlando Sentinel, 7/10).
Deedie Root, managing director of PWC's Health Advisory Practice, said, "Unfilled positions and continuous turnover of staff are stressing the financial and cultural fabric of health care organizations" (Dallas Morning News, 7/10). An abstract of the report is available online.