Nurses jobs now in ample supply in Hawaii adding to the oversupply issue

The longtime nursing shortage in Hawaii has now turned into an oversupply, leaving many recent graduates without jobs, and the economic slowdown is to blame, nursing executives here say.
This is further aggravated by the fact that nurses who were scheduled to retire or move to other jobs have postponed their plans, some because their spouses lost jobs or because of substantial losses in retirement savings.
Nurse turnover at Hawaii Pacific Health — the state’s largest health care system, employing nearly 1,600 nurses — has dropped to around 4 percent a year from 18 percent just three years ago, said Gail Lerch, HPH’s executive vice president and a registered nurse.
Overall, the demand for medical services in the Hawaii and mainland US also dropped in recent years as people lost their jobs and health insurance.  Also, many people opted to stop or delay their elective procedures. Financially troubled medical facilities such as Hawaii Medical Center have reduced beds, further diminishing nursing jobs.
There are hundreds of recent nursing graduates that entered the job market just as thisoversupply was brewing, leaving many aggravated and anxious to find work in the profession.  They are now forced to take on jobs not related to nursing.
The stakes are high for the new nursing graduates. Finding a job normally takes between six months to two years for most registered nursing graduates.  If they are lucky to enter thehealthcare sector for the interim, many are working as lower-paid aides, technicians, clerks and other medical-related positions while they look for work. Nurse aides currently earn about $15 an hour, roughly half the pay for an entry-level registered nurse.
Health officials predict the oversupply of registered nurses to be short-lived as a substantial number of working nurses are expected to retire in the next five to 10 years.
According to local officials, the current surplus considered a blip on the radar screen, a phenomenon that caught everyone by surprise when the economy changed.  This phenomenon of new graduates not getting jobs is all over the United States — it’s not just a Hawaii issue. It’s very much economically driven.
In the coming years and decades, demand for nurses will increase with the wave of baby boomer retirees. By 2025, Hawaii’s seniors population will represent 21 percent of the total, up from 14.5 percent now.
The current excess of nurses is in part a result of nursing schools significantly boosting enrollment in recent years to alleviate what had been called a severe nursing shortage.Nursing students typically take two to four years to graduate.
Certain that more nurses will be needed in the future, medical facilities and nursingschools are exploring ways to keep recent graduates in the job pipeline by creating bridge programs.
Medical centers and nursing schools also are exploring creation of the first nurse residency program in Hawaii that would be sponsored by the Hawaii State Center for Nursing.


Nursing Shoes said...

Hawaii is not the only one, there are also some Asian countries that are experiencing it, many nursing graduates are still jobless until now.



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