Wisconsin could soon see an unprecedented shortage of key health care professionals. The Wisconsin Hospital Association ‘s 2016 Health Care Workforce Report finds that Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are the highest in demand with a 10.1 percent vacancy, followed by Surgical Technicians at 7.1 percent, Registered Nurses at 6.2 percent, and Dietitians at 5.9 percent.
“Data that we’ve collected for this year’s report shows a dramatic spike in that trend so we’re calling that the ‘silver tsunami’ and it appears it’s crashing upon our shores,” said Steven Rush, Vice President of Workforce and Clinical Practice for the Wisconsin Hospital Association. “Data from this year’s workforce survey has a marked increase in vacancy rates from last year, and significant over the last two or three years.”
Rush said retirements are outstripping hospitals’ ability to fill the vacant positions they leave behind. Rush called it a double whammy — the age of Wisconsin’s workforce is a direct reflection of the average age of the state’s population.
“Our economy is better so people can retire, and also you just can’t put off retirement when you’re approaching your sixties and seventies, and we have health care professionals who are working well into their sixties.”
Also, the shortage of nursing faculty is contributing to the current nursing shortage: the average age of a nurse educator is 52.