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A Shortage of Care We hear about it in newspapers on television and over the radio Today there is a shortage of nurses and healthcare workers and the problem is going to get worse over the next couple decades with the baby boomer generation getting older The statistics show us just how bad this dilemma is in Iowa There are 2516 projected RN vacancies among employers who interviewed with the Iowa Nurses Association from November 20 2000 This number reflects only the RN vacancies We must also take into consideration the LPN and CNA vacancies as well which will add up to an even more disturbing number of positions left unfilled in our healthcare environments In addition to the problem of current vacancies is the prospect of current nurses retiring Using information from the Iowa Board of Nursing 60 of actively licensed nurses will be over the age of 50 and may be retired by 2009 Iowa Nurses Association 2003 We are going to need to replace the nurses retiring however the number of people enrolling and graduating from nursing schools has declined In RN and LPN programs we have seen a decrease in the number of graduates by 27 percent over the past six years Iowa Nurses Association 2003 We are losing nurses and then do not have the number of graduates to replace those people when they retire which only adds to the shortage Just when we think we have as much of this problem we can take we have to consider the people who teach the nurses of tomorrow A survey conducted in the fall of 2000 showed us that 49 of the faculty in nursing education programs plans to retire within ten years Iowa Nurses Association 2003 As a result we are looking at an existing shortage of nurses that will grow with a larger older population then we will take away 60 of the current nurses retiring in ten years
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