Slowdown’s Side Effect: More Nurses –


Slowdown’s Side Effect: More Nurses

Economy’s Woes Prod Many
Who Left Field to Return;
Brushing Up on Anatomy

May 7, 2008

The Wall Street Journal Home PageThe ailing economy is helping to ease the nursing shortage.

With house prices falling and the cost of gasoline and food rising, many nurses are going back to work, in some cases to make up for the income of a spouse who has lost a job. Hospitals say part-time nurses are taking on extra shifts. And nursing schools are seeing an increase in people applying for refresher courses on the ins and outs of modern hospitals. Some older nurses are putting off a planned retirement.

“We are seeing a temporary lessening of the nursing shortage,” says Jane Llewellyn, vice president of clinical nursing affairs at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. But, she says, “as soon as the economy turns up we’ll see them staying home again.”


So, it’s a WAGE shortage, not a nursing shortage.  There are nurses out there, but for the current wage structure they’d rather stay home.


  1. whitecap nurse says:

    Actually, it’s a working conditions/benefits problem more than a wage problem – at least in California (and we already have ratios!). Nursing is really hard work.

  2. Jim in Texas says:

    My wife was a nurse from 1966 until 1995.

    When she finally quit I was quite sad. In coversations with her family this is a girl/woman who never wanted to be anything but a nurse. Her family wasn’t well off and she began saving coins early in her life because she knew there wouldn’t be any family money for nursing school. When she was old enough, she borrowed money from relatives (paid back with interest) and got a scholarship to the Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1963.

    When I met her in 1971 she was a labor and delivery nurse and I think I fell in love with her when I helped her transport high risk, new born infant twins to a better-equipped hospital 90 minutes away. One survived and she performed CPR on the dead infant for the entire trip.

    She worked and thrived in high-risk deliveries in Wash, DC and Southern California.

    In 1991, the beginning of the end for her was a vicious defense attorney and two days of testimony, discovery and actual trial, regarding an incident she’d had little to do with (she admitted the patient and went off duty.)

    The experience devastated her and although she carried on with nursing for a few more years, the loss of the magic, the hours, lack of staff and all the other failures that I’m not really qualified to comment on finally led her to quit in 1995.

    When I was laid off in 2001, I joking made a comment that she’d have to go back to work again. She told me that she’s wait table and clean up rather than return to nursing and she wasn’t joking.

    The profession lost a good one in 1995.

  3. My best PRN nurses are retired from nursing full time, and over 70. They are picking up more and more shifts these days, and I love it. They’ve seen it all, and are absolutely wonderful mentors for my newer nurses. I just wish I had more of them…

  4. I’m seeing the effects of this too. I’m graduating next week with my BSN. My education major friends are struggling to find jobs while I’ve had several offers. The prospect of being able to find a job with a fair amount of ease is appealing to people in a rough economy too who may have otherwise chosen other majors.

  5. Oh Booo Hooo,

    If you thing nursing is going through its ups and downs you should really look at EMS. Those disposable Paramedics and EMTS that are leaving the ambulances daily for better wages and shorter shifts called nursing school.

    Alex ~D~

  6. Nurses are the front line of healthcare and are utterly essential. The shortage is a world wide problem and you can help. There is a new social network, being pioneered by Shawn D. Mathis, that is designed to supply nurses with everything they need and to help them keep in contact with one another. It’s worth checking out.

  7. Don’t forget the fact that nurses are still mostly women and a lot of us who have spouses quit or go part-time to care for our children while they are young and not in school yet.
    I don’t know how some of the nurses I work with take care of their young children all day and then work a night-shift. I have tried this and I am a MAJOR grouch and feel like crap. I would rather go without a new car, vacations, etc. than bust my rump for 12 hours in a crazy ER after being awake with my children all day. You literally feel pulled in all directions caring for your family and patients. It’s exhausting to say the least.
    I feel lucky that I can work weekends and still be at home during the week. After all, someone is always looking for a weekend off. I make pretty good money with a PRN differential on the weekends. I can’t complain. A nursing career can afford great flexibility. When my children are in school I will go back full time.


  1. […] tagged viciousOwn a WordPress blog? Make monetization easier with the WP Affiliate Pro plugin. Comment on Slowdown’s Side Effect: More Nurses -… saved by 1 others     kevjumba15 bookmarked on 05/07/08 | […]