According to the US Department of Labor (2008), there are three major educational routes to become a registered nurse: a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, an associate degree in nursing, and a diploma. Once students graduate from an approved program, they must pass a national licensing examination in order to obtain a license. Data from the National Employment Matrix shows that Registered Nurses are projected to generate about 587,000 new jobs over the 2006-16 periods, and that they constitute the largest health care occupation, with 2.5 million jobs.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2002, cited by Westendorf, 2007) has revealed that the workforce is currently at a median age of 43.3 years. In addition, in the year 2020, the demand for nurses will exceed the supply by 20% (American Organization of Nurse Executives 1999, cited by Johnson et al., 2006). If the current tendency is sustained, the shortage will have catastrophic effects.
Factors causing the problem
New healthcare technologies, surgical improvements, and drug developments, among other variables, have increased life expectancy.
Epidemiologic transition has increased degenerative, chronic, and man-made diseases, and has displaced pandemics of infection as the primary causes of morbidity (Omran, 2005). The demand far exceeded the supply, creating a severe imbalance. Various excellent models have emerged to minimize the shortage in various countries.