Nov 29, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

New data from the just-released 2017 AMN Healthcare Survey of Registered Nurses reveals that the anticipated nursing shortage is drawing closer. Here’s a closer look at the study and what its results mean for the healthcare sector, as recently reported by Market Insider.

About the Survey

As more members of the Baby Boomer generation come of retirement age, the percentage of nurses planning to retire in the near future is rising. Specifically, a staggering 27 percent of nurses plan to retire within the year -- up from 16 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, a full 73 percent of Baby Boomer nurses who plan to retire expect to do so within the next three years. Concludes Market Insider, “This suggests that the retirement timetable for Baby Boomer nurses has advanced.”

By these estimates, the number of Baby Boomer nurses in 2020 will drop to half their 1.26 million peak in 2008. These findings reinforce data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that there will be more than 200,000 job openings for RNs between 2016 and 2026.

“A Perfect Storm”

So what does this mean for the healthcare industry? Susan Salk, President and CEO of AMN Healthcare said, “Nursing shortages are being felt throughout the country today and they are expected to intensify as the retirement wave becomes a more significant factor.  Other macro trends, such as the rising demand for healthcare services from our aging general population and the improving economy, are creating a perfect storm for what is expected to be one of the most challenging eras of clinical workforce shortages.”

Added Marcia Faller, PhD, RN, Chief Clinical Officer of AMN Healthcare, "Our research, coming closely behind the BLS projecting an astonishing number of job openings for nurses, should be a wake-up call, because the healthcare industry will need solutions to cope with this impending crisis.”

But a shortage of nurses isn’t the only issue challenging the health care labor force. The BLS also predicts that more than 600,000 job openings will exist for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations over the next 10 years.

Read more about studying nursing.



Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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