US faces deficit of 450,000 nurses by 2025

The United States could see a deficit of 200,000 to 450,000 registered nurses available for direct patient care by 2025, a 10 to 20 percent gap that places great demand on the nurse graduate pipeline over the next three years.

The new estimates and analysis come from a McKinsey report published May 11. The shortfall range of 200,000 to 450,000 holds if there are no changes in current care delivery models. The consulting firm estimates that for every 1 percent of nurses who leave direct patient care, the shortage worsens by about 30,000 nurses.

To make up for the 10 to 20 percent gap, the United States would need to more than double the number of new graduates entering and staying in the nursing workforce every year for the next three years straight. For this to occur, the number of nurse educators would also need to increase.

"Even if there was a huge increase in high school or college students seeking nursing careers, they would likely run into a block: There are not enough spots in nursing schools, and there are not enough educators, clinical rotation spots or mentors for the next generation of nurses," the analysis states. "Progress may depend on creating attractive situations for nurse educators, a role traditionally plagued with shortages."

Read the report in full here.

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