Top New Jersey Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
The nursing shortage in New Jersey is very serious. Every institution and every person in the state will be affected by this in some way or another. There is insufficient nursing faculty staff to educate and train the new nursing workforce. As a result, 895 qualified student applicants had to be turned away by nursing schools. Additionally, many of the current Nurse Educators are approaching retirement age, the population is aging and the health needs are changing, which means that the crisis is likely to only get worse.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a 17% shortfall of nurses n New Jersey in 2012. There were only 114,120 registered nurses, which were not enough to meet the demand. Additionally, less than 10% hold a master’s degree or above. It is believed that by 2020, an additional 40,000 nurses will be needed to fill the gap. The highest demand is for Nurse Educators, with a 10.5% vacancy rate that is only set to grow.
At present, there are 8,869 student nurses, of which 2,146 are first year students. To make sure future needs are met, this number has to be tripled. Indeed, 6,000 first year students are needed each year between now and 2020 to meet demand. This will be impossible to meet due to the shortage of nurse faculty members. Unfortunately, many of the students who were turned away were interested in studying towards becoming a Nurse Educator. The existing faculty workforce has an average age of 57.7. Some 74 faculty members will retire within the next five years, and no replacements for them have been found yet.
Another significant issue is that the health care needs of New Jersey residents cannot be met with the current dwindling workforce. By 2020, there will be around 1.8 million people in the state over the age of 65, who all have complex health needs. Various chronic illnesses are also prevalent in the state, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and asthma.
The average annual salary for a registered nurse in New Jersey is $74,990, which is higher than the national average. The highest salaries are enjoyed in Newark. The highest earnings are awarded to those with at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, it seems the state will have to invest in further incentives in order to attract more nurses to its workforce, above and beyond a good salary.