Nurses Are Talking About: Concerns and Misconceptions About Foreign Nurses and Visas

Troy Brown, RN

Disclosures

June 02, 2017

In This Article

No Nursing Shortage?

There is no nursing shortage, Peter McMenamin, PhD, senior policy advisor, Nursing Programs, and health economist from the American Nurses Association, told Medscape Nurses.He cited several sources that indicate that there are plenty of jobs and enough nurses to fill them. But, he said, nurses are unevenly distributed with regard to length of experience, with greater numbers of nurses nearing retirement age and younger nurses, as opposed to those in the middle, with 15-20 years of experience.

There are also salary disparities around the country, particularly in the lower Midwest and the Southeast, which tend to be largely rural areas. Still, he said, nurses in the United States have the highest salaries in the world.

Dr McMenamin said that after nurses graduate from college, they tend to settle down near where they grew up, but there are things that hospitals and healthcare employers can do to encourage nurses to move. "What health employers can do is improve the working conditions, possibly hire more nurses at lower wages, so that the staffing ratios are better.... There are ways to address the issue. I've been suggesting, to deal with the retirement [situation], that some hospitals want to be talking to their most senior nurses and offering them opportunities as mentors for new nurses. [This would] extend the...careers of the more senior nurses, and if you hire even just a few more new nurses than you might have otherwise, but carefully onboard them and keep them in contact with their mentors so that they get the benefit of all that experience and they feel special, you can grow your own experienced workforce that way," he explained. "Some people call that 'phased retirement,'" he added.

Don't let people just walk out the door. Figure out a way to prolong their careers with this possible mentorship relationship to capture some of that experience.

"Don't let people just walk out the door. Figure out a way to prolong their careers with this possible mentorship relationship to capture some of that experience," Dr McMenamin added.

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