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Health Care Professionals Essay

1725 words - 7 pages

Identify and describe three reasons there may be a physician shortage rather than a surplus in the United States.
The number of physicians in the United States has increased rapidly in the last four decades showing about a 218 percent increase between the years 1965 to 2005. The Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee (GMENAC) reported in 1980 that there would be a surplus of physicians of 70,000 in 1990, and roughly 140,000 in 2000. But, by the early 2000’s some observers were raising the spectre of a physician shortage, especially among some specialty groups.
Part of the response as to why there is a shortage lies in the way that differing methodologies and assumptions ...view middle of the document...

3. Thirdly, on the demand side, there has been unusual growth of the U.S population fueled in large measure by immigration. Since the mid-twentieth century, immigration has dramatically increased so that almost one-third of the U.S population growth in the decade 1990-1999 was due to net legal migration and the population of United States of 297 million is expected to slightly increase to 400 million by 2050. In this population pressure, the need for more physicians will inevitably increase.

Identify and describe three factors that contribute to the nursing shortage in the United States.
The supply of registered nurses grew from 1,662,382 in 1980 to 2,694,540 in 2000, an increase of 62.2 percent. Despite the overall absolute increase in the number of nurses employed in nursing, a shortage of nurses exists relative to demand.
The shortage of nurses is a confluence of factors which include the declining number of nursing school enrollments, the aging of the RN workforce, nurses not employed in nursing, declines in relative earnings, and the emergence of alternative job opportunities as mentioned in Health Resources and Services Administration. The reasons are given as follows:
1. First, there is the issue of nursing school enrollments. The growth in nursing students during the period 1995 to 2000 experienced an annual decrease in the number of entry-level students in baccalaureate nursing programs. The period 2001 to 2006 saw a reversal of this trend, with increases in entry level students each of these years, topping at 17 percent. However the increases have been decreasing steadily since 2003, and this fact combined with the estimate made by the federal government that increases in the number of graduates must be around 90 percent to meet the nursing shortage adequately, means that nursing school production continues to fall short of what will be needed.

2. Secondly, there is the aging of the RN workforce. The average age for hospital RNs is slightly over 43. Three factors contribute to aging of RN workforce:
a. The decline in number of nursing school graduates
b. The higher average age of recent graduating classes.
c. The aging of the existing pool of licensed nurses. This slowing of new, young entrants coupled with an accelerating retirement rate for older RNs will produce a national supply of nurses in 2020 that will not only be older, but also no larger than the supply projected for 2005.

3. Third, there is the phenomenon of nurses not employed in nursing. The number of RNs who gave up their licenses from 1996 to 2000 numbered 175,000, and this is projected to double by 2020. In addition to the number of RNs that gave up their license, there are 500,000 licensed nurses not employed in nursing, with about 69 percent being 50 years or older. Analysis of data from the 2000 National Sample of Registered Nurses shows that only 7 percent of the licensed RNs not employed in nursing were actively seeking employment in nursing.
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