March 5, 2006


Global stopgap for US nurse deficit: Growing labor shortage is fueling recruitment abroad. Even doctors are getting nursing degrees to work in America (Sara Miller Llana, 3/06/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

The joke circulating among doctors in the Philippines goes something like this: What's the new prerequisite for getting into nursing school? An MD.

That's because Filipino doctors are indeed heading back to school in great numbers to become nurses. But the punch line speaks more deeply to an unexpected twist in labor shortages a half a world away: Many of them are heading with their new degrees to the United States, where the scarcity of nurses and other healthcare professionals could reach critical levels.

And imagine how much worse it will be in places like Japan and Europe that don't have young people.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 5, 2006 9:26 PM

...the United States, where the scarcity of nurses and other healthcare professionals could reach critical levels.

No, of course it can't.

Right now it's a quasi-crisis, but as has been noted before in this forum, if it were a real crisis, the pay would be enough to tempt more people into the field, and out of retirement.

Right now it's slightly easier to get a degree in accounting than it is to become an RN, and they get paid about the same.
A CPA with a graduate degree can make significantly more than an RN with a graduate degree. (Although not vastly more. Perhaps a 20% difference).

A high school teacher with a graduate degree and twenty years' experience can make as much as an RN with a graduate degree.

A police officer with no degree, and twenty years' experience, can make more than any of the above. (Note, can. Depends on being promoted - but cops in NYC and LA can make six figures, either in base pay or by putting in the overtime. There are second-year officers in the LAPD who have grossed six figures, although it's not common).

Clearly, "medical professionals" are valued, but not more so than other skilled members of society.

When RNs start at $ 60K, then I'll say that we have a shortage - but won't for long.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at March 5, 2006 10:46 PM

As always, the marketplace is the boss.

Posted by: erp at March 6, 2006 10:32 AM

They could also pay LPN's more as well.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 7, 2006 12:20 PM