In a November 9 Facebook Live session, Sheldon Fields, Ph.D., dean of NYIT School of Health Professions, and Assistant Professor Lisa Sparacino, Ph.D., discussed the looming nursing shortage in the United States.
Fields contends that as Americans grow grayer and more ethnically diverse, an enormous strain will be placed on a healthcare system that is ill prepared to face these demographic shifts.
(Watch the full interview and read more below.)
“Nursing, which is the largest healthcare profession, could potentially be facing a shortage even though we have roughly three million nurses,” he says. “The population continues to grow. People are living longer, and just because they are living longer doesn’t necessarily mean they are living healthier. So there’s more people to take care of.”
And growing numbers isn’t the only cause for concern. “The population is becoming more ethnically diverse. Do we have the nurses in place who mirror the growing diversity of our populations who really understand these populations and know how to take care of them with respect to their culture?” Fields asks.
Currently, the average age of a registered nurse is more than 50 years old. “We are going to have a wave of retirements, and we are not necessarily planning to replace those nurses in the numbers that we need in the specialties we need,” he says.
Fields also spoke about the issue in an op-ed that appeared in The Hill.