NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some Factors In Nursing Supply And Demand

February 20, 2001

Many nurses are of the baby-boom generation and are about to begin retiring -- just as their age cohorts are doing so. Thus demand for medical care is expected to increase amid a growing shortage of nurses.

  • From 1993 to 1998, wages of private hospital workers rose only 2.3 percent annually -- slightly less than the inflation rate.
  • But now those rates are accelerating due to shortages of such workers -- and experts forecast medical costs will jump 12 percent this year.
  • Experts say turnover of registered nurses is a significant problem and is bound to get worse.

The health-care consulting firm William M. Mercer notes in its 2000 Attracting and Retaining Registered Nurses Survey, released January 3, 2001, that even higher wages may not stem the outflow of nurses from their chosen profession. That's because there is a great deal of job disenchantment among nurses which doesn't bode well for young career-seekers being attracted to the profession.

Source: Laura Cohn, "No Way Out of the Nurse Shortage," Economic Trends, Business Week, February 26, 2001.


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