New Jersey officials say the state is making headway in its attempt to address the growing vacancy rate of healthcare professionals. However, they say there is still more work to be done in order to avert the shortage and attract more students looking for a career in nursing.
Lawmakers recently heard from representatives of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) who said that the program has supported 61 nursing students who are pursuing or who have just completed advanced courses that will qualify them for faculty positions.
Launched in 2009 in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the NJNI is part of a nationwide effort to strengthen the nursing industry by helping professionals enhance their skills and add additional education to their resumes. We need more highly educated nurses to play leading roles in discussions and debates about health care reform, Marlin Gross, an assistant nursing professor at Cumberland County College said in a press release. “We need them to provide more complex care to an aging, and more complex, population of patients and to provide critically needed research into ways to improve health care. And we need them to fill faculty vacancies so we can curb a looming nursing shortage and help ensure that all people in our state, and in our country, have access to a highly skilled nurses when and where they need one.
“According to current state data, New Jersey could experience a shortage of more than 23,330 nurses by 2030. Nationwide, the American Colleges of Nursing said that colleges turned away 75,587 qualified nursing applicants last year due to insufficient faculty, clinical sites, space and budget constraints.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment opportunities for registered nurses will increase faster than the average of other occupations – by 26% – through the end of the decade.