As the US population ages, about one in seven Americans is over 65. And with that comes an aging (and retiring) workforce. A recent blog post from The Hill tackles how these demographic shifts will affect the looming nursing shortage, and suggests a bipartisan effort will be necessary to reverse the trend.
According to the article, the average age for working nurses is over 50, and around half of the nursing workforce will retire within the next 15 years. Coupled with the slowing rate of nursing school graduates it seems that Congress must step in to reverse the trend. And there are a few options for that:
For one, they can allocate more funding towards Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs, which support nurses practicing in rural and medically underserved communities, nursing diversity grants, the National Nurse Service Corp, nurse faculty loan forgiveness, and geriatric education. Lawmakers could also expand the Graduate Nurse Education demonstration initiative, a program that currently reimburses qualifying hospitals for the cost of training advanced practice nurses.
Furthermore, nurse practitioners in many stats cannot practice without a physician attending at least a portion of the time. These and other outdated regulations are just some of the issues contributing to what is a major problem in today’s health care landscape. While the debate over coverage rages on, Congress members on both sides of the political divide must also consider the implications of health care’s workforce over the coming decades.