The nursing shortage in Nebraska is as high as it is anywhere else in the country. Of the 808,000 nurses that will be needed across the country by 2020, 3,838 will be needed in Nebraska alone. The figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paint a bleak picture and these issues must be addressed. The highest nursing shortage in Nebraska is being experienced in the northern parts of the state.
The main problem for potential nurses in the state is that there is insufficient capacity in terms of the number of nurse educators. There are five schools accredited through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in the state, and some 920 applicants were unable to get enrolled in any of these. A significant investment must be made in facilities, faculty and resources, therefore.
The biggest problem in the state is the age of the nursing workforce. Many nurses are reaching retirement age, and the average age of nurse educators across the state is 53. This means around half of all nurse educators will retire within the next few years. This demonstrates just how important it is that initiatives are put in place to attract a new nurse educator workforce.
The shortage is felt all across the state, with no region or city able to escape it. However, the worst cases have been found in rural areas and small towns. There are currently 86 medically underserved areas in the state, affecting 43.13% of the total population. An additional problem is found in the fact that only 5.9% of the current nursing workforce in Nebraska is an Advanced Practice Nurse, who is educated to master’s degree level.
The salary for registered nurses in the state currently stands at an average of $56,480, which is lower than the national average. However, it has grown tremendously since 2002 and is continuing to do so, which does make Nebraska a compelling state to work in. Additionally, there are great variations in salaries depending on where the nurse works and what their levels of experience and education are.
Various initiatives are in place to increase the nursing workforce. Different schools have been able to receive funds to help them increase the capacity to educate more nurses. As a result, it is expected that acceptance rates to nursing schools in Nebraska will be raised significantly by 2020, in all areas of nursing.