Specialized RNs more in demand, survey finds

A recent survey of 388 acute care hospitals, sponsored by the American Organization of Nurse Executives and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Nursing, reveals a shortage of neonatal, operating room, and intensive care nurses. Respondents also indicated that it takes longer to recruit qualified nurses than it did several months ago. The survey found:

• Urban hospitals have the most difficulty in filling vacancies.

• It takes longest in the Midwest to recruit qualified candidates.

• Small facilities have the most difficulty recruiting obstetrics nurses, and it takes longer.

• Larger and urban hospitals use agency and contract nurses now more than ever.

All of this seems due to the aging and retiring of Baby Boomers, as well as competition from managed care entities and pharmaceutical companies. Hospital leaders are dealing with the new dearth of nursing staff by offering incentives, including flexible hours, bonuses, and child care.