According to a recent report by the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing (NJCCN), New Jersey is facing a potential nursing shortage in the coming years due to high turnover, an aging workforce, and the lingering effects of the pandemic. The state’s workforce of registered nurses could decline by 5% within two years, as there won’t be enough graduates to replace retiring nurses.
New Jersey has about 141,000 registered nurses (RNs), 13,500 advanced practice nurses (APNs), and 23,500 licensed practical nurses (LPNs), but demand has surpassed supply, which has caused stress in the labor market and affected workplace stability. In 2021, New Jersey had the highest demand for nurse practitioners (NPs) in the country, as well as among the highest demands for RNs and LPNs.
Dr. Edna Cadmus, the NJCCN’s executive director, emphasized that New Jersey must invest in the future of nursing to address the current supply and demand for nurses and ultimately improve healthcare for everyone. The US Department of Health & Human Services had previously predicted that New Jersey would have one of the worst nursing shortages in the country by 2030, with a projected workforce of 90,800 registered nurses when the state would need 102,200 at that time.
The report also highlighted the high turnover rates for nursing professions in 2021, including 24% for RNs, 50% for LPNs, and 29% for NPs. Additionally, 55% of the state’s hospital RNs are aged 56 or older, while 33% are at least 66. To meet projected demand in 2031, New Jersey must add around 25,000 jobs, the report stated.
To prevent future nursing shortages, New Jersey needs greater investment in nursing. The NJCCN suggested several bills within the State Legislature that would establish nursing initiatives emphasizing education, faculty recruitment, and retention of nurses, eliminate certain practice restrictions for APNs, and increase eligibility for the Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program, which offers student loan redemption.