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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS) announced yesterday that registered nurses top the list of the 10
occupations with the largest projected job growth in the years 2002-2012.
Although RNs have listed among the top 10 growth occupations in the past, this
is the first time in recent history that RNs have ranked first. These 10-year
projections are widely used in career guidance, in planning education and
training programs and in studying long-range employment trends.
"Given the aging of the U.S. population and the increased demand for
nursing care, it's not surprising that the growth in RN jobs is skyrocketing,"
said Barbara A. Blakeney, MS, APRN,BC, ANP, president of the American Nurses
Association. "Plus, many of those nurses currently working will be retiring
and will need to be replaced in the workforce," she added.
According to the BLS report, there will be more than 2.9 million RNs
employed in the year 2012, up 623,000 from the nearly 2.3 million RNs employed
in 2002. However, the total job openings, which include both job growth and
the net replacement of nurses will be more than 1.1 million.
"These new projections underscore the need to increase our recruitment and
retention efforts at the local, state and federal levels," Blakeney said. "If
sustained efforts are not made to address the nursing shortage now, both
access to and quality of care will be impacted."
After years of steady decline between 1995 and 2000, enrollments in entry-
level baccalaureate nursing programs have risen the last three years,
according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. However, more
than 11,000 qualified applicants had to be turned away because of insufficient
numbers of faculty, classrooms and clinical sites.
Earlier this month, ANA applauded President Bush's fiscal year 2005 budget
proposal for providing $147 million for nursing workforce development programs
including the Nurse Reinvestment Act. That figure represents an increase of
more than $5 million over the 2004 funding level and includes $32 million for
student loan repayments and scholarships, $21 million for nursing diversity
programs and $8 million for geriatric nurse education and nurse faculty loan-
However, the ANA and other nursing organizations are requesting a total of
$205 million for the nursing workforce development programs of Title VIII of
the Public Health Service Act. "A modest investment in nurse education and
retention programs now will yield significant results in the years ahead,"
SOURCE American Nurses Association