Top Massachusetts Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
A report has been released that has demonstrated that the nursing shortage in Massachusetts is worsening. The report was compiled following a survey of 76 different hospitals in the state. This showed that in just one year, vacancy rates for registered nurses went from 3% in 2010 to 3.9% in 2011. If this trend continues, then the 19% expected growth rate that has been projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will be overtaken very quickly.
The survey also demonstrated that the largest shortage is currently in specialty hospitals, where the vacancy rate is 5.1%. Acute care hospitals, by contrast, have a vacancy rate of 3.9%. Specifically, the demand has been high in home health departments, pediatric critical care unites and emergency departments. Meanwhile, rehab facilities, post-partum/nursery units and skilled nursing services did not experience significant vacancy rates.
However, the state is keen to inform officials that the vacancy rate has actually improved over the past 24 years. The median rate over this time period was 4.1%, which is higher than the present rate. However, if trends continue, Massachusetts will once again overtake that rate within the next year.
Massachusetts is home to no less than 24 schools that are accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Yet, some 4,495 potential students had to be declined because there is insufficient nursing faculty staff. This demonstrates that the demand for nurse educators is also incredibly high in the state. At present, only 8.2% of Massachusetts 121,469 registered nurses are advanced practice nurses. Hence, the state is making a strong push towards creating opportunities for nurses to further their education to master’s degree level. It is also very important to address the needs of the 45 medically underserved areas in the state, which affect 56.71% of the overall population.
The state has also ensured salaries are high for nurses, thereby hoping to attract a greater skilled workforce. The average annual salary is $81,890, which is well above the nation average. Exact salaries vary depending on a number of factors, including experience and employer. Geographical location is also a very important factor, with the highest paid registered nurses being employed in the Boston-Cambridge metropolitan area. Unfortunately, the more rural areas of the state, where demand is the highest, tend to also be the least well paid. This is certainly something that the state will need to address.