State nursing shortage worsened in 2011, reports says

A nursing shortage appears to be on the rise in Massachusetts, according to the latest workforce report from the Massachusetts Hospital Association and the regional chapter of the Organization of Nurse Leaders.

A December 2011 survey of 76 hospitals found the vacancy rates for registered nursing positions to be 3.9 percent, up from 3 percent in 2010. The facilities surveyed included 56 acute care hospitals — about 90 percent of those in the state — and 20 specialty hospitals.

The vacancy rate is slightly below the 4.1 percent median rate over 24 years that the hospital association has conducted the survey.

“While general economic conditions seem to continue to suppress the vacancy rate, the most authoritative studies warn that growth in demand for RNs over the next few years will outstrip the projected growth in the workforce, leading to renewed shortages of registered nurses,’’ David Smith, senior director of health data analysis and policy for the hospital group, said in a statement.


The survey also found that openings took longer to fill last year. See highlights of the survey here.

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