The NCHW issued a report that predicts a shortage of nearly sixteen thousand nurses in the state of Texas by 2030. They say this is a 5 percent shortfall of the number of nurses needed in the state, and the trend is showing no signs of reversal. Several factors are responsible for this shortage, but it’s mainly due to demographic shifts and the aging nursing workforce in the state.
Texas Nurse Shortage One of the Worst in the Country
In terms of raw numbers, the Texas nursing shortage is second only to California. That state is expected to fall short by nearly forty-five thousand nurses. The National Center for Health Workforce is in line with a Registered Nurse study that predicted Texas would need roughly 270,000 nurses by 2030 but would have a little under 250,000.
Texas is also short of nurses with advanced degrees. In Texas, about 4 percent of nurses have a master’s degree and 1 percent has a doctorate in nursing. This is despite growing demand for specialized nurses.
The Factors Contributing to the Trend
The graying of America is driving the nursing shortage in two ways. One is the increased demand for healthcare by an aging population. We will have more people over 65 than under 5 by 2025. This is why the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts demand for nurses to grow by 15 percent over the next decade.
The other is the aging of the overall nursing workforce; about a third of nurse faculty are hitting retirement age. This is a problem given that nursing students had to turn away more than 75,000 prospective students due to faculty shortages. This means the retirement wave hitting nursing is constricting the supply of new nurses.
The Potential Solutions in the Works
Texas is adding nurses – an estimated ninety thousand over the next decade. However, this isn’t keeping up with the demands of a growing and aging population. The state of Texas is encouraging higher education overall through the 60x30TX program. The goal is to see sixty percent of adults between 25 and 34 earn a degree by 2030.
Texas also falls short in the percentage of nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree. Less than two thirds of Texas nurses have a bachelor’s degree, though universities are working hard to increase the number of nurses with a BSN. Various universities give students the chance to get their RN to BSN in Houston online. The online RN to BSN program is designed for associate’s degree holders who want to complete the BSN degree that opens up higher paying jobs. Once someone has a BSN, they are much more likely to move on to earn a master’s or doctoral degree. Yet there is still a long way to go before the state reaches the goal of having 80 percent of nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree.
While the situation in Texas may seem alarming, there is still hope, and we can expect the state to continue working to fill the gap. Other states are also taking notes as shortages extend far beyond the lone star state.