Health Care Providers Report Persistent Shortages of Registered Nurses, According to UAlbany Center for Health Workforce Studies Report
Health care employment continues to grow in New York State despite uncertainties in the economy, according to Center's annual report of trends in health personnel in New York
Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980
ALBANY, N.Y. (August 2, 2005) -- Health care providers across the state reported that health workers in a wide range of occupations were in short supply, particularly registered nurses (RNs), according to a new report from the University at Albany's Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS). The report, The Health Workforce in New York State, 2004: Trends in the Supply & Demand for Health Workers, is based on an annual study conducted by CHWS to identify trends in supply, demand and use of health personnel in New York State.
Between 2000 and 2004, registered nursing education programs produced nearly 25,000 graduates, but over the same time period, the total number of RNs licensed in the state grew by only 7,300. "We need to better understand attrition from registered nursing in New York State," said CHWS director Jean M. Moore. "Clearly, we need to know how many RNs are retiring, how many are relocating to practice nursing in other states, and how many are leaving the profession of nursing altogether. Knowing more about reasons for attrition from nursing in New York State can help us develop viable strategies for maximizing retention."
Health care employment continued to experience steady growth in New York State, despite uncertainty in the general economy. Employment in the health care sector in New York State grew steadily between 1990 and 2004, increasing by 19 percent. During that same period, employment in all other settings increased by only 2 percent. In upstate New York, health care employment grew by 17 percent, while employment in all other sectors declined by 5 percent. Health care employment in New York City grew by 21 percent between 1990 and 2004, compared to 9 percent growth in employment in all other sectors. Much of the growth has been limited to two sectors - offices/clinics and home health care, while hospital employment has remained relatively stable.
Interest in the use of technology in health care has grown tremendously over the past two or three years, particularly applications such as the electronic medical record and automated medication ordering and dispensing systems, according to the study. "Most planners and policy-makers recognize a tremendous potential for technology to reduce medical errors, help contain the costs of providing care, and improve patient outcomes," said Moore. "The adoption of emerging technology by New York City hospitals is currently very uneven, with some providers actively integrating new technology and others doing very little. The relatively low level of current technology adoption, coupled with increasing pressure to accelerate its use may result in a demand for workers experienced in the use of technology that far exceeds the supply. Helping the health workforce integrate technology into their day-to-day work will become an increasingly important issue throughout the country over the next several years."
Printed copies of the report are available from the Center or may be downloaded from the Center's web site at: http://chws.albany.edu.
The Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany's School of Public Health conducts studies of the supply, demand, use and education of the health workforce, and collects and analyzes data to understand workforce dynamics and trends. It is one of six regional centers devoted to health workforce studies with a cooperative agreement with U.S. Department of Health's Health Resources and Services Administration/Bureau of Health Professions.