Top South Dakota Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
The nursing workforce in South Dakota is experiencing some shortage, although it is not as significant as that in the rest of the country. There is a particular need for students with a high quality, advanced degree.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the shortage across the country is significant and this is having strong implications for the quality of care that is delivered to patients. Unless there is a positive growth, particularly in the areas of advanced practice nursing, problems may start to arise. Indeed, even in South Dakota, where there is no significant nursing shortage, there is still an above average growth expectation.
A number of factors could lead to a shortage appearing in the state, however. Firstly, much of the current workforce is set to retire within the next few years. Due to the recent economic crisis, many nurses have opted to remain employed rather than retire. Hence, there is a possibility that a huge number of nurses will suddenly retire en masse, causing a spike in the need for nurses.
Secondly, there is a significant shortage of faculty members. Again, this is mainly due to the current workforce aging. As a result, some 667 students had to be turned away from the seven schools registered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and many others remain on a waiting list.
One particular issue that the nursing workforce in South Dakota is facing is that the job is not particularly well paid. In fact, the average annual salary for a registered nurse is just $48,000, which is well below the national average. This is something the state must address if they wish to continue to retain and recruit a high quality workforce.
As in all states, the highest salaries – and the highest demand – is for those nurses with advanced degrees. The state is committed to having at least 80% of their workforce educated to bachelor’s degree level. To achieve this, significant efforts will need to be made to attract more high quality nurses to their educational programs. As a result, numerous programs are now offered online and an increasing number of nurses are taking part in RN to BSN programs, which allow them to achieve their bachelor’s degree in just two years.
There are 67 medically underserved areas in the state and this is affecting 44.68% of the population. This is a worrying statistic, but it is a much more positive outlook than in many of the other states.