Millennials are taking over the nursing industry, saving what could have been a potential shortage caused by Baby Boomers retiring.
Nursing has seen a welcome surge in millennials entering the field, USA Today reports. These younger workers are nearly two times as likely to be nurses compared to the generations before them, according to a recent Health Affairs study states. This growing trend has helped avert a potential crisis in the nursing workforce and has long-term implications for the future of the industry.
David Auerbach, one of the study authors and an affiliate of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at Montana State University, said,
Definitely the composition of the workforce is shifting. In just a few years there will be more Millennials than Baby Boomers in the nursing workforce.
Across the United States, more and more hospitals are seeing young nursing job applicants whose initial fields of studies or college degrees were not in nursing. But authorities are hiring them to fill positions vacated by Baby Boomers who are retiring.
Lisa Sparks, chief nursing officer at IU Health West Hospital in Avon, said, “We’re really seeing an influx of millennial nurses into our workforce. I would say it’s been the most noticeable over the last 18 to 24 months.”
Experts say there are numerous reasons for this phenomenon. Nursing fills the void left by a downturn in manufacturing jobs, and is a steady, reliable source of income, Auerbach said. Health care may also appeal to millennials’ desire to be in a field that contributes to society, and nursing offersflexibility and diversity that may be absent in other industries.
“There’s not going to be any one simple explanation. It’s probably going to be a combination of things,” Auerbach said.
Hospitals have to make changes to accommodate younger applicants, though, including transition practice programs to help new nurses adjust, adaptability in terms of benefits, and training.