November 2, 2021
RALEIGH - Yesterday, Sheps Health Workforce NC, the North Carolina Board of Nursing, and Strategic Modelling Analysis and Planning released an important forecast, North Carolina Nursing Supply & Demand, that demonstrates the potential impacts of inaction on the nursing profession. The topline numbers offer a startling preview for North Carolina’s healthcare landscape, with a shortage of more than 12,000 Registered Nurses by 2033. It is important to note this forecast and its interactive component, NC Nursecast, are based on statistics from before the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, which is likely to exacerbate crucial data points on trends like burnout and early retirement.
“This report should have North Carolina’s policymakers and other healthcare leaders sounding the alarm. Shortages we have been talking about for years are closer than anyone might have hoped,” said Tina C. Gordon, MPA, CAE, FACHE, CEO of the North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA). “The good news is this data comes with a great tool that helps map out a path that can minimize the damage, keep healthcare costs from skyrocketing, and save lives. We all need to take these warning signs seriously.”
Long-standing issues like retention, the shortage of nursing faculty, maldistribution of nursing roles, and burnout have been looming for years, but the state’s healthcare infrastructure has managed to keep them from overwhelming the system. As the NC Nursecast shows, however, the state cannot hope to maintain similar outcomes with the status quo.
NCNA is calling for health systems to focus on nurse retention by using a variety of strategies, including offering competitive/fair pay and benefits, improving workplace conditions, and breaking the crippling cycle of travel nurses being used as stopgap measures. NCNA is calling for legislators to increase compensation for nursing faculty to recruit instructors and open the nursing pipeline, pass bills like the SAVE Act to allow all nurses to practice to the full extent of their training and education, and expand Medicaid to increase access to preventative care and keep patients from turning to our Emergency Rooms as the first healthcare option.
The North Carolina General Assembly, hospital system administrators, and regulatory oversight organizations must act now to prevent the nursing profession’s worst-case scenarios. This is something North Carolina can do, but it will take an immediate response and NCNA is excited to work with partners and allies across the state to help ensure every North Carolinian has access to quality nursing care in the coming decade and beyond.
Chris Cowperthwaite, APR
Director of Communications & Outreach
(919) 821-4250 or email@example.com
As the leading professional organization for North Carolina’s registered nurses, we equip nurses at all stages to thrive in an ever-changing healthcare environment. NCNA helps keep North Carolina nurses on the cutting edge of nursing practice, policy, education, and more. Join us as we work to advance nursing and ensure high-quality healthcare for everyone.
Established in 1902, NCNA provides continuing education, networking and legislative advocacy for registered nurses throughout North Carolina. For more information, please visit www.ncnurses.org.
The North Carolina Nurses Association serves the changing needs of its members, addresses nursing issues, and advocates for the health and well-being of all people.