Top Ohio Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
In Ohio, a significant shortage of nurses is set to appear over the next few years. For a while, it seemed as if the state had escaped the worst of it, but this now seems to have been a direct result of the economic crisis. The crisis caused many people to decide to remain employed full time or to put off retirement. Now that the economy has stabilized again, the workforce is dwindling at an alarming rate because of the unusually high retirement rate.
One particular problem that Ohio is facing is that it does not have the capacity to educate its next nursing workforce. There are 37 schools in the state registered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Yet, some 1,305 qualified students could not be allowed to enrol because there were not enough resources, spaces and faculty to teach them. This is a big problem, because Ohio, like other states, has committed itself to ensuring at least 80% of its nursing workforce will be educated to bachelor’s degree level as a minimum by 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that the field of nursing will grow by 19% over the next six years, and Ohio is expected to follow this prediction. An aging population and aging workforce are leading to an increase in demand for specialized healthcare. Hospitals are pushing to be a last resort option for patients since the Affordable Care Act came into place, leading to a high demand for nurses in the community.
In Ohio specifically, there are 126 medically underserved areas. This means that 70.66% of the population is struggling to access healthcare as and when they needed. Add to this the fact that just 6% of the nursing workforce in the state are Advanced Practice Nurses, and the problems become very clear.
The mean annual salary for registered nurses in Ohio stands at $67,000, which is on par with current national workforce trends. However, employers are considering creating better financial incentives to attract and retain a strong nursing workforce. As such, many degree options are now offered online, and the majority of schools also offer RN to BSN program options, many of which can be funded by employers or through state grants.
However, Ohio must urgently address its need for Nurse Educators. Most nurses prefer to work in clinical settings, particularly because the salary is higher there for someone with a master’s degree as what it would be as a Nurse Educator. New initiatives are being developed to address this.