Why Are Nurses in Demand?

With the nationwide nursing shortage, nursing is ripe with job opportunities. Why are nurses in demand? The causes of the nursing shortage include baby boomer aging, nurses retiring, increased health needs, longer lifespan, and an inability for nursing schools to keep up with the rising demand.

Nurse wearing purple scrubs smiling in hospital

If you’re hoping to become a nurse, one thing is certain. You’ll be in demand as a professional. Nurses have ample job opportunities to choose from due to the need for nurses across the country. The nursing demand is expected to increase even more in the future, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and between 2020 and 2030, there will be approximately 194,500 nursing job openings yearly.

Amid the current nursing shortage, it’s vital to understand how we got here and how we’re planning to solve the problem. You may wonder, why are nurses in demand, how are we addressing the nursing shortage, and what does it mean for you as you head into a nursing career? We’ll cover all these questions for you, starting with a few causes of the nursing shortage.

Because registered nurses are so sought after, now is the perfect time to join this career. With an accelerated nursing program, it’s possible to earn your degree and start your career much sooner than you might think. With Concordia University Texas’s (CTX) Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track, we’re committed to helping more nurses join the workforce.

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1. Expanding Senior Population

The baby boomer population (those born between 1946 and 1964) is aging, which is causing a higher need for healthcare. Baby boomers are considered to be the longest-living generation in history (and the second-largest generational group, right behind millennials).

2. More Americans Are Seeking Medical Care

Another reason why nurses are in demand is that there’s an increasing prevalence of chronic health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Currently two out of five Americans has two or more chronic health conditions. Furthermore, older individuals are more likely to have chronic health concerns, and as the baby boomers get older, they also contribute to increasing the prevalence of health conditions.

Another contributing factor to the rise in patient needs is that accessibility to healthcare has increased, which has caused more people to seek care.

3. Many Nurses are Nearing Retirement Age

For the nursing profession, the aging of baby boomers poses a two-fold challenge: Not only do older Americans require more healthcare, but they also still make up a sizable portion of the nursing workforce.

Since 2010, about 10,000 baby boomers per day have met retirement age, and by 2030, all boomers will be at least age 65. This means both a sizable reduction in the workforce and a loss of years of experience, which is a great reason to enroll in nursing school sooner than later.

Because many of these nurses have advanced degrees, the demand for advanced-degree nurses will also increase — the first step of which is to obtain a BSN degree.

4. Insufficient Staffing and COVID-19 Causing Burnout

As the demand for nurses exceeds the supply, nurses have had to deal with having understaffed units, which has caused some to experience increased fatigue and stress in their work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased this stress. During the pandemic, nurses have dealt with higher patient loads, more responsibility, and trying mental and emotional challenges.

Some of these nurses have burned out and sought alternative career options, further widening the gap between how many nurses we need and how many we have.

5. Nursing School Enrollment Can’t Keep Up

Another of the causes of the nursing shortage is that the nursing schools have not been able to keep up with the demand for new nurses. Because nursing programs require a time-intensive, hands-on educational model with in-person labs and clinicals, finding ways to expand class sizes can be a challenge.

According to the American Academy of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 91,938 qualified nursing school applications were turned down in 2021, including 76,140 applications for entry-level bachelor’s degree programs. The AACN also reports that in 2021, student enrollment in bachelor’s degree nursing programs rose by 3.3 percent. This increase in admission is not large enough to support the increasing demand for nurses moving forward.

6. Insufficient Nursing School Faculty

Furthermore, nursing schools have had trouble keeping up with nursing demand because of the challenge with finding well-educated nursing school faculty. There is an increased need for nurse educators with graduate degrees, but graduate nursing programs have not been able to sufficiently expand. In 2021, the AACN reports 14,743 qualified applications to graduate level nursing programs were turned away, which only perpetuates the challenge with finding qualified nursing faculty.

7. Life Expectancy is Increasing

Another reason why nurses are in demand is that the American life expectancy is high, 77.3 years in 2020, according to the CDC. Though yearly fluctuations are normal, it’s predicted that in the long run, the life expectancy will continue to increase even more as medical innovation and treatments improve, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

All of these factors translate to greatly increased demand for healthcare services, especially nurses, who tend to have the most contact with patients.

Nursing Shortage by State

Here is a map that details the states most affected by the nursing shortage. In the places with a lower nurse to population ratio, the demand for nurses is higher.

Map of U.S. showing nursing shortages by state
Nursing shortages by state

Nursing Shortage in Texas

In Texas, nurses are in particularly high demand. While the nursing shortage is affecting the entire country, there are state-by-state differences, and we are seeing a significant impact in Texas, as the number of nurses we have based on our population size is lower than needed.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects significant shortages in most nursing fields by 2032. According to a 2021 report, the shortage of registered nurses in Texas will grow to more than 57,000, meaning 16% of openings will not be met. The largest shortages are expected at hospitals.

This means there’s never been a better time to pursue a nursing career, especially in Texas, because you’ll be eligible for a multi-state nursing license.

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Nursing Specialties in High Demand

While nurses are needed in every nursing specialty now and into the future, there are certain specialties to note. A few of the high-demand specialties as the nursing shortage escalates include:

  • Inpatient hospital nurses
  • Nurse educators
  • Advanced practice registered nurses
  • Critical care nurses
  • Travel nurses
  • Emergency nurses

How CTX is Addressing the Nursing Shortage

After we consider the question, why are nurses in demand, the next question becomes, how are we going to meet the demand? At Concordia University Texas, we are committed to finding a way to increase the supply of nurses in our state and country. Our approach is through efficient education that helps more students enroll and helps them graduate and get into the workforce sooner.

Accelerated Hybrid Curriculum

That’s where our accelerated BSN track comes in. Because our ABSN students take a hybrid online approach, we can educate more students while still retaining a high level of excellence. Because we mix in-person and online education, this allows us to offer three ABSN start dates each year, in January, May, and August. Our 16-month accelerated track allows students with a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 college credits to finish nursing school and enter the workforce sooner.

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Because you’ll take online courses rather than in-person lectures, our instructors can spend their time teaching your in-person labs. That helps us jump one of the key hurdles that nursing schools are facing, a shortage of qualified instructors.

Two Track Locations

Furthermore, we offer the ABSN track in two Texas cities, Dallas and Austin, so we can reach even more students across the state. We have also built quality relationships with the top healthcare facilities in both cities, and with these strong ties, we know that we’ll be able to provide top-quality clinical experiences to an expanded number of students each year.

Through these intentional steps to increase efficiency, CTX is able to address the nursing shortage by accepting and graduating more nursing students. Nursing is a proud profession, one that is essential to the wellbeing of our communities, and we work each day to ensure the future for nurses is bright.

Become a Nurse in as Few as 16 Months

With the nursing shortage in Texas and across the country, it’s no surprise that nurses are in demand. There has never been a better time to enter the nursing profession. If scrubs are in your future, quit waiting to start nursing school.

CTX ABSN student in purple scrubs

With the ABSN track at Concordia University Texas, you can graduate well prepared to sit for the NCLEX in as few as 16 months.

Reach out to our admissions counselors to learn more about how to get started in the [email protected] track. Now is the time to achieve your nursing goals.