Shortages of health care professionals continue to challenge health care organizations throughout the country and a new survey reveals that the increased demand is outpacing the growth in supply of new health care professionals. This problem is intensifying as a result of graying Baby Boomers growing use of health care resources across the country.
The nursing shortage has received much attention for some time. The shortage extends beyond nurses into other categories of health care professionals.
Key findings of the new NAHCR/JWT Employment Communications Metrics Online Report include:
•Based on full time equivalent positions (FTE) the overall vacancy rate for nurses is 10.1% and 20.8% for occupational therapists and 10.3% for speech therapists.
•The vacancy rate for rehabilitation professionals is high: 20.8% for occupational therapists and 10.3% for speech therapists on an FTE basis.
•The turnover rate among nurses is high at 11.3%and even higher among critical care nurses.
•The turnover rate for occupational therapists is 21.8%.
•Nearly 55% of all open rehabilitation positions took 60 to 90-plus days to fill, including 75% of physical therapist positions, 71% of respiratory professional and almost 68% of occupational therapists.
•More than 30% of open nursing positions required 60 to 90-plus days to fill.
The continued nursing shortage results from tougher educational standards and the failure of the educational system to expand its capacity to train nurses. Last year 30,000 qualified candidates were turned away by four-year colleges because of a shortage of seats. Even larger numbers of qualified candidates were turned away by two-year nursing academic programs because of a shortage of instructors.