Nursing Workforce- What Does The Future Hold?

Nursing as a profession has continued to grow and diversify since its beginnings in the 1860s. Today’s nursing workforce is made up of highly skilled individuals trained in the latest care practices and medical treatments. Modern nurses need to feel at home both with administering complex treatments and with sitting by a patient’s bedside to offer much-needed comfort – it’s a demanding role to say the least!

The nation’s need for nurses has never been higher: an ageing population means people are living longer, which means they are managing long-term health issues over a longer period – requiring more intensive care. At present the demand for nurses is particularly high as the NHS suffers a staffing crisis.

The future looks bright for recently graduated nurses, who will have no trouble finding work in the current jobseeker’s market- and that trend looks set to continue.


Today’s Nursing Workforce

In the 2000s, the nursing workforce grew by 26%. But since 2008, the number of total practicing nurses has been in decline. More nurses are retiring and moving to new jobs than are being recruited into the workforce. In 2014, 13,400 trainee nurses graduated with degrees and entered the workforce. Meanwhile, 7500 nurses retired, and 17,800 nurses left their positions prior to retirement. This imbalance has created a shortfall of qualified nurses- 9.4% of nurse vacancies in the UK are currently unfilled.

There are a few reasons that could explain the nursing shortage, including changing migration patterns (more UK trained nurses now leave the UK to find work overseas than international nurses arriving to work in the UK); and an ageing nursing workforce.

One of the factors driving nurses away from the profession in recent years has been lack of adequate pay. This may be set to change- last time there was a significant shortfall of nurses,in the late 1990s and 2000s, the Pay Review Body took heed and answered protests with a significant bump to the average nurse’s salary.

With so many opportunities open to a trained nurse, it’s a jobseeker’s market. Six months after graduation, 93.3% of nurses are in paid employment.


Future Nursing Workforce

Nursing has an exciting future ahead. As the UK population ages, and the focus shifts away from short term hospital care to longer term care for ageing patients in their own homes, nurses will find their opportunities for work expanding. There is also added potential in community-based roles outside of hospitals. Nurses will also need to work with new technologies – today, social media and the Internet are changing healthcare practice as patients are empowered to learn more about their conditions. In future, many more technological tools may help nurses to do their jobs.

The McKinsey Institute found that by 2050, up to 55% of jobs may be able to be replaced with fully automated systems. Luckily, nursing is likely to be different. As compassion and empathy are central to the role, nursing looks set to remain relevant well after automation has begun to strip away jobs in other areas. Robots that can replicate the level of interpersonal skills a trained nurse has are still a long way off!

Nursing has never been a more exciting career. Step into your future today and check out EBPCOOH’s recruitment page for information on our latest nursing vacancies.