Survey: Retiring Baby Boomers May Affect Shortage of U.S. Nurses

The U.S. will see more workers in the healthcare industry by 2026, due in part to a higher number of registered nurses that will retire soon.

A survey conducted this year showed that out of 3,347 baby boomer nurses, 27% of them plan to retire in less than a year. This represented an increase from the 16% of nurses in 2015 that retired within the same period of time.

Growing Demand

The planned retirement of baby boomer nurses will coincide with a greater need for nurse practitioners. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed nurse practitioners will increase by 36% by 2026. Home health aides, which is the third fastest growing occupation, will rise even higher at 46%.

Aside from retiring workers, an aging U.S. population will drive the need to hire more workers in the next 10 years. This presents a good opportunity to invest in a healthcare franchise, as more people are expected to use urgent care and non-emergency medical services.

Nursing Shortage

The prospects for job growth in the healthcare sector may be bright overall, as the BLS said that the industry will account for a majority of 11.5 million jobs that will be added to the U.S. workforce by 2026. However, the looming retirement of baby boomer will likely put pressure on a current shortage of nurses.

The survey said that an estimated 60,000 registered nurses have left their jobs since 2012. Those who plan to retire within the next three years comprised 73% of respondents. For this reason, the industry should train more individuals to fill the roles left by baby boomers.

A real measure of more jobs in the healthcare sector involves the addition of new workers, instead of simply replacing baby boomers that intend to retire in the near future.