Are We Headed For Nursemageddon?
As COVID-19 cases surge across the country, there's been a growing demand for nurses. A new position, the “traveling nurse” has even sprung up on job boards, offering higher pay and enforceable contracts for nurses to travel across states to offer their services. With the new ability to be mobile, cities and states are competing for nursing staff. If the surge continues, the shortage in nurses will leave resource-constrained hospitals and communities in dire straits.
We see from job postings and online profiles that, while the demand for nurses has more than doubled since March, supply has largely been unresponsive, resulting in extreme shortages:
Furthermore, we see that salaries of nurses have been very responsive to shortages, making it clear that hospitals are competing on salary:
Sign up for our newsletter
Our weekly data driven newsletter provides in-depth analysis of workforce trends and news, delivered straight to your inbox!
Based on this demand, we would expect the largest cities to be able to acquire the most nurses. When we look at the time it takes to fill these positions, we see that the smallest cities are indeed having the hardest time, but large cities are also not immune:
Below, we can see the broad geographic dispersion of the cities where it takes a long time to fill positions:
- As nursing positions have become more mobile, competition for nursing talent is increasing between cities.
- Salaries are the primary incentive hospitals are using to poach nurses.
- Cities like Denver, Austin, and Dallas are having an easier time recruiting nurses, while cities like Memphis, Buffalo, and Omaha are struggling.
If you have any ideas of other metrics to track or would like to hear more, please feel free to reach out.