The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) has just reported that the employment numbers in the healthcare sector continue to defy the overall US economy. Hospitals and other healthcare employers have been adding an average of 24,000 jobs per month from June 1, 2010 – June 1, 2011.
Nursing is the largest employment segment of the healthcare sector. While the nursing shortage abated between 2008 and 10, the BLS still projects nursing to be the shortest occupational classification in the foreseeable future, as do private foundations.
For instance, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Institute of Medicine released its report on The Future of Nursing in October 2010. The report called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80% and doubling the population of nurses with doctoral degrees.
Foreign-trained nurses are almost always baccalaureate-prepared and will necessarily have to be a component of any increase in US nurse supply. While no one wants foreign nurses to take US nurses’ jobs, the numbers plainly show that foreign nurse recruitment must be increased or else US patient’s care will be compromised.