Medical Journal Houston - Page 10

Medical Journal - Houston Page 10 May 2016 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Honoring nurses by investing in the workforce THA Special to Medical Journal – Houston BY TED SHAW, President/CEO, Texas Hospital Association National Nurses Week runs May 6 to 12 and is an opportunity to celebrate the men and women who are indispensable to the delivery of health care. Nowhere is this more true than in a hospital. Nurses constitute the majority of the hospital workforce, and they are critical to every aspect of patient care. But, there are not enough of them. According to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, Texas has one of the lowest per capita supplies of RN workforce, ranking 44th among the 50 states. With 752.6 RNs per 100,000, Texas ranks well below the national average of 920.9 RNs per 100,000. And demand is outstripping supply. The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies estimates that between 2005 and 2020, the demand for registered nurses in Texas will rise by 86 percent. However, supply will grow by only 53 percent, leaving Texas 71,000 full-time equivalents short of its needs.  The causes of this imbalance between supply and demand are three-fold. First, the nursing workforce is aging. The average age of a working nurse in Texas is 46. The result is that Texas could lose more than 40 percent of its working nurses in the next ten years because of retirement. Second, Texas is experiencing unprecedented population growth. Estimated to double in size by 2050, the population will need many more nurses to meet health care needs. And the population is not just growi