Needed in Maryland: Nurses, PAs, lab techs

August 28, 2008 - 10:15am

Click to enlarge graphic. (Graphic courtesy of the Maryland Hospital Association) 
Hank Silverberg, WTOP Radio

WASHINGTON - Wanted: Nurses, physicians assistants, pharmacists and lab technicians. 

In Maryland, the nursing shortage has reached almost 10 percent, 2,603 full-time nurses. 

The vacancy rate for speech therapists is more than 20 percent, according to a new report from the Maryland Hospital Association. It's nearly 20 percent for respiratory therapists. The rate is more than 15 percent for occupational therapists and physician assistants. 

The findings are in a study of 41 hospital positions. 

Maryland Hospital Association President and Chief Executive Officer Carmela Coyle says the problem is expected to get worse. 

"We don't have enough nurses in the pipeline today to fill those retiring nurse positions," she says. 

The association predicts a shortage of 10,000 nurses in less than a decade. 

The vacancy rate in Virginia is running less than the national average of 8 percent because of economic growth, but that could be short term. 

(Copyright 2008 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)