An increased interest in nursing careers by Millennials could be just what the U.S. needs to help fight a projected shortage of registered nurses caused by the retiring of baby boomers.
A study published in Health Affairs suggests that Millennials are nearly twice as likely to become registered nurses as baby boomers, and 60% more likely to become RNs than people born into Generation X.
This is a welcoming sign considering the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be more than one million RN job openings by 2024. However, those projections don’t account for what researchers consider a “surprising surge of interest in nursing among member of the millennial generation.”
The study was conducted by researchers from the Montana State University and Dartmouth College, and analyzed data on nearly 430,000 collected from the U.S. Census Bureau between 1979 to 2015.
Baby boomers accounted for the largest share of the RN workforce from 1981 to 2012, and as the youngest baby boomers turn 54 this year, they are rapidly retiring and dropping out of the workforce.
“This fear no longer appears to be justified, as the millennial generation is well on its way to replacing the baby boomers and supplying an additional 1 million RNs between now and 2030,” said one of the study’s authors Peter Buerhaus, who is director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at MSU and a professor in the MSU College of Nursing.
The researchers suggest that Millennials are gravitating to “more meaningful work” and could be one of the reasons they are selecting nursing.