August 24, 2016

Is the nursing shortage really news?

An AP article entitled "Hospital looks overseas for nurses" appeared in the Des Moines Register this week. To address the ongoing and increasing shortage of available nurses, It seems that UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's of Sioux City, Iowa is finding it necessary to recruit nurses from overseas. No big surprise there. Over one million nurses reach retirement age over the next 10-15 years, leaving vacant a projected 900,000 nursing jobs.

It begs the question:  Is this really news? Anyone who works in or has had occasion to use the health care system in the past few years already knows that we have a problem--a big problem. By 2030 here in Iowa, we will have 206,000 more folks age 65 and older than today--enough to populate our largest city, Des Moines.  And if you happen to be 65 or older, you know only too well that you're in the demographic cohort that does most of the being sick and dying.

Okay, we all get it. When do you suppose the light bulb will go on for our policymakers?