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A Look at Nursing in Georgia

Nursing is a viable occupation because the demand for nurses remains strong. However, the United States is facing a nursing shortage, and the shortfall of nurses around the country is uneven, with some states managing better than others.

How Is Georgia Faring?

Georgia’s population is growing rapidly and the number of elderly residents is increasing. Rural areas have a low ratio of nurses per capita. The shortage of nurses is significant and could get worse.

Older nurses who started their careers in the 1970s and 1980s are on the verge of retirement. There are not enough new nurses to fill the vacancies that retiring nurses will create. Moreover, with novice nurses filling these vacancies, the workforce will skew toward inexperienced nurses.

To compound the shortage, nursing programs are turning away qualified students due to budgets cuts, limited classroom space, a shrinking pool of nurse educators, and a reduced number of clinical sites.

Does Healthcare Setting Affect the Nursing Shortage?

Many RNs are forgoing hospital employment that entails working on nights, weekends and holidays with long hours and mandatory overtime. They are moving into fields with higher wages and a more suitable schedule such as physician’s offices, schools, outpatient clinics and private homes. These other options are making it harder for hospitals to find competent RNs.

How Many Nurses Are There in Georgia?

As of May 2016, there were 73,330 RNs employed in Georgia, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. Nationally, 2,857,180 RNs were employed in 2016.

The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area — with 39,460 nurses — ranked seventh on the BLS list of ten metropolitan areas for most nurses employed. In addition, Rome, GA ranked eighth out of ten metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients for the occupation. Rome has 1,430 RNs and a location quotient of 1.93.

What Is the Statistic for Nurses Completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program?

The number of entry level BSN-prepared RNs in Georgia doubled from 2001 to 2011, and the number of RNs graduating with a BSN in 2013 jumped 86 percent from the 2009 figure. Georgia nursing schools enrolled 12,669 students to baccalaureate and graduate degree programs in 2015. Of those students, 4,498 completed a BSN or graduate degree.

What Is the Job Outlook and Salary for RNs?

The BLS predicts that the number of RN jobs will rise 16 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is more than double the rate for all occupations. The BLS places the May 2016 national annual median salary for nurses at $68,450, while RNs in Georgia have an annual mean wage of $64,750.

What Are Some of the Major Employers in Georgia?

Emory Healthcare in Georgia is a multidisciplinary academic medical organization. This comprehensive healthcare system comprises six hospitals, the Emory Clinic and over 200 provider locations. Here are some of the hospitals that are part of the Emory Healthcare system:

  • Emory University Hospital – Atlanta.
  • Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital – Tucker.
  • Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital – Atlanta.
  • Emory Johns Creek Hospital – Johns Creek.
  • Emory Eastside Medical Center – Snellville.

Additional institutions found in Georgia are Kennestone Hospital in Atlanta, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and Gwinnett Medical Center, which are all high performing in procedures and conditions. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Shepherd Center are nationally ranked for specialties.

Attracting nurses to open positions is key to addressing Georgia’s nursing shortage. Incentives and recruitment efforts are vital to improving the current circumstances. The state is making some progress, with many hospitals are offering tuition assistance, paid training, sign-on bonuses and residency programs. Outreach efforts by healthcare systems to educate high school students on the prerequisites for a nursing career can help alleviate the nursing shortage.

Learn more about the Columbus State online RN to BSN program.


Sources:

U.S. News & World Report: Best Hospitals in Atlanta, GA

SmartAsset: The Best Places to Be a Nurse: 2016 Edition

American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Georgia Nursing Education at a Glance, Fall 2015

ALD: Nursing Workforce Shortage: Implications for Georgia

Georgia Health News: Georgia Has Too Few Nurses, and the Problem Could Get Much Worse

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Labor Force Statistics From the Current Population Survey

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Help & Tutorials

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2016 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Georgia

The Telegraph: Nursing Shortages Continue as Need Grows in Middle Georgia

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016 – Registered Nurses

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses


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