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South Carolina: Nursing Workforce Update

Career News September 10, 2013

This report looks at the South Carolina nursing workforce. Specifically, it pinpoints the needs for educational advanced degrees and professionals who can step in and aid the state in improving, not only the number of registered nurses and other professionals available in the state, but also the quality of education each individual holds. Overall, there is a not significant shortage, but advanced degree nurses are limitedly available. This is impacting the overall well being of patients.

Though the state of South Carolina does not have a significant shortage present, there is still a large problem with nursing throughout the United States. With thousands of jobs that are unfilled throughout the country, there is a direct implication to patient health. The good news is, for those who are entering this field, there is a significantly long term protected, positive growth in nursing fields, in the US. In particular, areas of RNs and those with advanced degrees are in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there is an excellent job growth in this field for the projected decade. With above average growth, finding positions will not be hard.
However, the lack of nurses in the country is brought on by many factors. Some of these can impact South Carolina in the coming years, as well.

Retirement – It is likely that a significant impact will occur in the next several years as the workforce retires. The demand for well-trained professionals is high, but most in this area are older. Many have stayed on longer than normal due to concerns about economic conditions. Thus, in the coming years, it is likely that more retirees will step away from the field, creating more of a shortage.

Faculty Shortage – South Carolina must improve the knowledge of future nursing faculty by advancing the types of nursing degrees so that nurses’ can work in more challenging areas of the field. However, with a faculty shortage occurring throughout the state, this could become a significant problem. There are simply not enough qualified candidates to teach in the state, and that leaves a gap in the number of programs available to students.

Recruitment and Retention – There is no doubt that jobs in the nursing field are difficult, but this is challenging in South Carolina for a number of reasons. Nursing positions require long hours, for example. With more than 73% working between 36 and 55 hours per week, there is a significant demand on professionals in the field. These long hours and difficult work make it hard to recruit individuals into the field and difficult to maintain their presence, as well.

Cultural Differences – In many ways, the state has a lack of African Americans, Hispanics and other minority groups present in the health care industry especially in nursing. As a result, there is a significant cultural gap present in the workforce which contributes to the shortage.

South Carolina: Nursing Workforce At-A-Glance

Total Number of Registered Nurses, 2011: 42,650

Employment per 100,000 Residents: 24.06

Annual Mean Salary (2011): $61,350

Projected Demand for Nurses in 2020: 25,981

Is South Carolina in the Top 10 as far as pay? No

Is South Carolina in the Bottom 10 as far as pay? No

Does South Carolina have an articulation agreement? If so, what kind?

Yes, the state has a mandated plan. This means that the state’s laws create an articulation agreement. It is created through the collaborative work of legislators and educators in the field. This means that all schools in the state apply this plan including private institutions, state colleges and universities, as well as community colleges.

South Carolina: Outlook for Nursing Jobs

The state’s goals include improving the educational elements of the nursing field in South Carolina. Its goal is to move nurses into 21st century care. To do this, they hope to push students to higher education levels with a goal of achieving at least 50 percent at a level of BSN or higher by 2020. The state is also working to establish a diverse workforce, to accommodate the changes in the cultural make up. It hopes to push the state towards nursing workforce that reflects the state’s population accurately. This is according to the Focus of Nursing Campaign for Action present in the state.

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