The nursing shortage in Missouri is not as severe as in other states. However, some people are worried that this is set to change very soon. Indeed, one of the reasons why the shortage does not exit yet is due to the recent financial crisis, which led to many nurses putting off retirement, remaining employed full time rather than part time and even re-entering the workforce. Yet, unless these nurses are replaced very soon, then the picture will change significantly.
Indeed, the signs point towards the occurrence of a nursing shortage that has been predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The biggest problem in the state is that the educational institutions in the state are running at maximum capacity and this capacity is diminishing. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find nursing staff to work in the various colleges and universities, which means fewer spots are available for potential students as well.
This is a problem that has been seen across the country, but it is particularly significant in Missouri. Although there are 22 schools registered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 3,171 qualified student applicants were unable to get a place at any of these schools. Enrollment has been limited, in other words, at a time when the demand for quality nursing staff is higher than ever.
In Missouri, there have been some very creative projects to increase the nursing workforce, and particularly the nurse educator workforce. Various colleges are now offering bridge programs to allow students to achieve their licenses more quickly. However, collaboration between schools and health care facilities must be improved further.
There is a strong focus on increasing the workforce of nurse educators in particular. The current workforce in this field is almost fully over the age of 55, and they are retiring very rapidly. Unfortunately, the salary for nurse educators is lower than that of other nurse practitioners, which is why most of those who do achieve a master’s degree tend to choose other fields of work than education.
The current average salary for a registered nurse in Missouri stands at $63,000, which is slightly lower than the national average. That of a nurse practitioner is around $80,000. The highest earning nurse practitioners in the state earn $126,500. This shows that the perks of becoming more highly educated in Missouri are certainly interesting and encouraging.