Within the health, sector nurses constitute the largest proportion and it is important to appreciate the work that nurses do. They care for patients in private clinics, hospitals and at homes. Besides the bedside care they provide to patients nurses educate the public on disease prevention, health issues, home based care, and even give mental and emotional support for terminally ill patients. These services provided may seem simplistic but in their absence, the effects are devastatingly profound. In this paper I choose to research on the nursing labor market in Texas and seek to determine how nursing wages are calculated, factors that influence the supply and demand of nurse’s position, how a nurses pay is determined and possibly recommended some actions that could increase the supply of nurses in Texas.
According to the Texas centered for nursing work force studies (TCNWS) the number of registered nurses in Texas stands at about 146,000-plus who work on either part time or full time basis in health care settings. This constitutes the largest proportion of the work force in the state. Of the 146,000 registered nurses, 66% are employed in inpatient and outpatient hospitals. The remaining 34% are either self-employed or work in home based care, nursing schools, military institutions or school institutions
Although RN profession is the largest in Texas there has been concerns raised over the unprecedented shortage of nurses and it seems the gap between supply and demand will continue to rise. Stabilizing strategies should be implemented to bridge this gap.
An increase in the number of aging population has increased the demand of health care facilities and per person nursing services. Between 1990 and 2005, the number of people aged 65 years increased from 23% to 30.5 percent; this is according to a TCNW report. (2006)
Secondly is an increase in the population in Texas owing to increased births and immigrants, aliens and migrants from other states. In the 1990s, the population was 17 million people. Today it stands at approximately 23.5 million and it is projected that by 2015 the population should stand or teach 28 million. Consequently, demand for nursing services has increased.
Thirdly, retired and aging nurses. In the past, the number of people who chose nursing profession as a career was few. Today most people choose to join lucrative professions such as law and doctors. As such, there occurred a shortage in nurses. The current nurses are aged and demand for replacements is high as they look to retirement. . So, how does a shortage in nurses occur? Few nurses entering the nursing profession as compared to aging nurses exiting the profession. Difficulty to attract and retain nurses by employers. Few nurses qualified to provide acute services, advanced practice research and unwillingness to relocate to rural areas
The scenario at the national level is similar to that in Texas. The increasing senior population, more immigrants, retirement of baby boomers and few qualified nurses increase demand for nurses
Recommendations to increase supply of nurses
The shortage of RN will continue to prevail and increase unless drastic measures are taken. The solutions to the shortage of nurses are varied depending on the causes of the shortage. Some hospitals have already implemented strategies to address these shortage These include increasing the number of full time employees in nursing programs and also to increase enrolments into nursing programs and the number of students who graduate from them. This would replace the aged, retired or dead nurses.
Image is everything and if hospitals want to retain and attract new nurses, they have to rebuild the image. For example better pay packages and incentives, attractive overtime pay, flexible working times, better working conditions, motivation program, recruiting aged nurses, mentorship and role modeling etc. implementation of loan forgiveness programs, which lure nurses to less attractive areas like rural areas
Determining of Nurses Pay
A fair and equitable salary and wages rate should be satisfactory to both employee and employers considerations should be guided by the slogan ‘fair days pay for a fair day’s work’ That is, a salary that is commensurate to input and can sufficiently provide for basic needs, and cater for future ambitions, is that constitutes fair pay. The labor market as other markets is sensitive to forces of demand and supply.
These forces among other factors determine price (wage rate) and quantity (number of people in the market). In Texas nurses, salaries are high given that it is a rural area. Most nurses are unwilling to relocate to Texas. This has led to higher salaries in order to woo more people to the profession. The level of experience is important in determining salary scale. A highly experienced nurse earns more than an inexperienced one. In addition, external factors beyond an organization also have a hand in contributing to setting prices.
They include the cost of living, value of the job, economic conditions, presence of unions, laws etc. (Delaney 2006) some hospitals consider the regional pay differentials and pay according to the cost of living in the area. Legislative requirements dictate the minimum level of pay also determine salary rate. Unions have strong bargaining power and influence employers’ decision on amount of salary in a unionized labor market such as nursing. Overall salary determination is a complex issue and the determining factors vary across states.
Delaney, B (2000) Human Resources: Importance of External Factors in Wage
Determination. Retrieved on August, 24, 2007 www.hr.com/…/pay_strategies/base_pay/importance_of_external_factors_in_wage_determination_eng.html
The Supply of and Demand for Registered Nurses and Nurse Graduates in Texas: Report to the Texas Legislature Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies. Electronic Publication No. E25-12513, p.1) available at http://www.dhs.state.tx.us/chs/cnws/sb132rep.pdf accessed on August, 24, 2007