SPH Study: Health Workforce Shortages Persist in New York State

A surgeon wearing blue scrubs and a blue face mask works on a patient in a brightly lit room.
Image by Artur Tumasjan / Unsplash.com

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 28, 2024) — New York State continues to experience workforce shortages in all health care settings, according to a recent report released by the Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health

Each year, CHWS analyzes a variety of primary and secondary data sources to assess and describe New York’s health workforce at the state and regional level. The report includes information on the health care system, the health status of New Yorkers, the supply of and demand for health workers, and projections for future health worker demand. 

Currently, there are reported shortages of registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses and aides (nursing aides, certified nurse aides, home health aides, personal care aides and medical assistants) across all health care settings including hospitals, ambulatory care, nursing homes and home care services. Surveyed providers cited a variety of reasons for recruitment and retention difficulties, including general workforce shortages and better opportunities within and outside of health care.

CHWS analyzed trends in health care employment and found that while jobs in health care grew statewide, growth varied by geography and setting. 

“The number of jobs in health care downstate, including Long Island and New York City, has increased,” said Robert Martiniano, senior program manager at CHWS. “But at the same time, health care jobs in all upstate regions have declined.” 

According to the report, job growth was strongest in home health care and in ambulatory care, while jobs in nursing homes and hospitals declined.

CHWS continues to monitor New York State’s nursing education pipeline. Applications and acceptances to RN education programs were about the same in 2022 and 2023, which suggests that the production of new RNs is expected to hold steady. However, several factors limit the expansion of RN education program capacity, including faculty shortages, lack of clinical training sites and program caps.

In Fall 2023, UAlbany’s School of Public Health launched two new nursing programs including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program and a Master of Science in Population Health Nursing, to provide existing nurses with new options to continue their education and advance their careers. 

“The goal of this report is to provide health care providers, policy makers and other stakeholders with current information to assist in health workforce planning and development,” said CHWS Director Jean Moore. “Our research can lead to informed decisions on education and job training investments, help guide policies related to health profession education pipeline capacity, as well as inform current and prospective students about health care employment prospects and opportunities.”