Baby Boomers Present Complex Nurse Staffing Challenges, Demand Quality Care

Baby Boomers Present Complex Nurse Staffing Challenges, Demand Quality CareJanuary 29, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

Retiring members of the baby boomer generation, born from 1946 through 1964, will impact healthcare providers on a number of fronts, in particular, nurse staffing. A series of infographics recently released by Maryville University, posted by Healthcare Finance, quickly and simply put these nurse staffing challenges in perspective.

The research noted there are 78 million boomers, accounting for 25 percent of the U.S. population. They began reaching retirement age in 2011, and by 2019, will account for a 73 percent increase in the number of people age 65 or older.

As the population ages, estimates indicate 5.6 million healthcare jobs will be created by 2020. This includes a need for over one million nurses in roughly the same time frame to fill newly created positions, as well as replacements for retirees.

Over 50 percent of nurses are approaching retirement. Their median age is now 46, and nursing schools nationwide have become hard-pressed to consistently meet the demand. There is a current shortage of 125,000 nurses when all specialties and levels of practice are taken into consideration. Compounding the nursing shortage are expectations by the boomer generation for better quality healthcare at a time when less than one percent of nurses are certified in adult gerontology.

In an article posted by Hospitals & Health Networks titled, “Baby Boomers Expect More Out of Healthcare,” it is discussed how some healthcare providers are moving to address these growing expectations. The article also points out that boomers at each end of their generation expect different types of care. Older members want a high level of personal attention, particularly from physicians and nurses, while the younger members more readily accept technology to assist with their care. Bridging this gap will be challenging for healthcare provider organizations as staffing models evolve, and the competition for qualified staff increases.

For more than 35 years, Cross Country Staffing has been helping healthcare providers meet their most complex staffing challenges. We have developed comprehensive workforce solutions proven to effectively manage current and future needs. To streamline your healthcare staffing process and optimize your labor cost savings, partner with Cross Country Staffing.