A shift upward in the number of children treated by hospitals and outpatient facilities nationwide has created a spike in the demand for pediatric nurses, resulting in high pay and exceptional benefits for these positions. In the last year alone, the Cleveland Clinic reported a 26 percent increase in patient volume in six of its specialized pediatric care units and an overall increase of referrals to pediatric specialty services in areas of critical care, surgery and emergency care, fueling the need to fill pediatric nurse jobs.
The increase in demand, say experts, is partly attributable to a rise in availability of pediatric services, as well as an increase in number and size of Pediatric Intensive Care Units across the U.S., and the reauthorization of CHIP (The Children's Health Insurance Program) by President Obama. In addition, a higher prevalence of childhood diseases such as obesity, H1N1, asthma and diabetes has triggered an overwhelming need for pediatric nurse job specialists.
"Although the recession has eased the nurse shortage somewhat, the demand to fill PICU nurse jobs, NICU travel nurse jobs, ER nursing jobs and other pediatric nurse job specialties continues to outstrip supply because of the general lack of experienced RNs to fill hospital nursing jobs at pediatric institutes," said Mary Kay Hull, Recruitment VP for 50 States Staffing.
The reprieve in the nurse shortage brought about by the current recession is temporary; report findings from a Vanderbilt University School of Nursing study reveal a four percent increase in nurse employment over the last two years -- contrary to an overall dip in healthcare hiring. But when the economy does recover, say staffing analysts, the nursing shortage of the future may be even graver than the last, as the average age of RNs creeps up toward 50 and their retirement over the next decade begins to impact healthcare adversely. Waiting lists for nursing programs continue and a lack of qualified teachers keeps a growing profession at bay.