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Florida has more than 12,000 Registered Nurse vacancies and expects new growth

The 2015 Survey of Florida’s Nurse Employers surveyed six nurse-intensive industries to evaluate the state’s demand for registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants (CNA)/home health aides. This survey has been conducted by the Center for Nursing biennially since 2007. The overall survey response rate was 20 percent and included information on 43,179 nurses (37,875 RNs; 627 ARNPs; and 4,677 LPNs) and 11,181 CNAs.

Evident from survey respondents is the fact that turnover has increased for hospital indirect care RNs and decreased or remained stable in other areas. Overall, there is an increase of nearly 30 percent in vacant RN positions since 2013. It is estimated that there were 12,493 RN vacancies statewide as of June 30, 2015, of which 75 percent are in hospitals. The survey also asked respondents to estimate the total number of new nursing positions they intend to create through June 2016. Nearly 10,000 new RN positions will be created statewide with the majority of these in home health agencies. Within the responding facilities, there were nearly 10,000 separations from July 2014 to June 2015. The number of separations was highest for RNs at 6,023.

Positions requiring experience and/or advanced education remain in demand in hospitals, home health and public health (e.g. Unit Managers, Patient Care Coordinators and Administrators).  Staff nurse positions are most difficult to fill in skilled nursing, home health and hospice settings.  Over 70 percent of hospitals report that they preferentially hire nurses prepared at the baccalaureate level (BSN). About 43 percent of these facilities indicate that they require associate degree (AND) prepared nurses to attain a BSN within one to five years of hire. Fewer than 20 percent of the responding facilities in other industries preferentially hired BSN graduates.

The majority of responding facilities indicated that they provide some type of educational support for their nursing staff. The most common types of support are tuition reimbursement and flexible scheduling. Respondents were also asked what some of the key emerging roles for nursing are in their facility given the healthcare environment. Nurse employers primarily report care coordination as a leading emerging position in their industry for which an RN or BSN would be required.

While the state and national economies are slowly improving, healthcare has remained a strong sector of employment throughout the recession. Economic factors will have an undetermined impact on the future employment growth of healthcare personnel in Florida. Nurse employers have a strong incentive to understand the potential growth drivers of the nurse workforce to strategically plan for the future.

For more information on the Florida Center for Nursing, please visit www.FlCenterforNursing.org, and to view a full copy of the reports, please visit http://tinyurl.com/nursedemand.

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