For the past few years, South Carolina has enjoyed a relatively balanced nursing workforce. The recession that took hold of the national economy in 2008, forced many who would have retired, to stay in the workforce. Schools continued to aggressively recruit and graduate nursing students realizing the ease in the nursing shortage was short-term. Now, the tides are changing again in South Carolina. In fact, a perfect storm is brewing and a significant shortage is on the horizon again. Not only is there a need for BSN prepared nurses at the bedside, but nurses will also be needed to navigate the complicated healthcare environment of the future. For experienced nurses seeking advanced opportunities, an investment in their education through online RN to BSN programs or more traditional routes will be necessary.
If current trends in graduation rates and retirement remain relatively constant, it is estimated that by 2028 there will remain a shortage of approximately 6,400 registered nurses in South Carolina. Considering the magnitude, aging, and complexity of care for the baby boomer generation, coupled with advances in medicine, the potential for a taxed healthcare system is inevitable. The stress put on healthcare systems will likely cause a greater shortage than already anticipated.
South Carolina Seeing High Demand, but Slow Growth, of Number of BSN-prepared Nurses
Nurses will play a critical role in the future of healthcare. They will be needed to provide safe, quality care to an ever-expanding population. The Institute of Medicine's 2010 Future of Nursing report recommends increasing the proportion of baccalaureate degree nurses to 80 percent by 2020. As of 2012, only 43 percent of South Carolina nurses had a BSN or higher degree. It is anticipated that by 2020, there will be 65 percent with a BSN or higher at the current growth rate of 1 percent per year since 2008.
According to The Hospital Nursing Workforce in South Carolina: 2015, the role of nurses in the hospital is changing. Based on this report, 56 percent of hospitals created new job classifications for nurses in the past year. Those positions included case managers, care coordinators, clinical documentation specialists and Magnet coordinators, to name a few. Each of these rolls will require BSN-prepared nurses who are skilled at navigating the newly envisioned healthcare world.
Clearly, South Carolina has a demand for BSN-prepared nurses and will continue to encourage its workforce to seek higher levels education to better serve the residents of South Carolina. Fortunately, now, more than ever before, it is easier for nurses to return to school to advance their education. With the increase of online RN to BSN programs readily available, more opportunities exist. No longer is geographical location a road block to quality education. Online RN to BSN programs allow working nurses to have little interruptions to their career and life routines, making it easier than ever to return to school.
Overall, the hospital job market in South Carolina is ripe for growth and opportunities, especially those who are BSN-prepared. Over time the value of their education will not only serve the nursing profession, but the residents of South Carolina for years to come.
Learn more about the University of South Carolina’s online RN to BSN program.
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