BULLHEAD CITY — Arizona ranks in the top 10 states in the U.S. with nursing shortages, according to the Arizona College of Nursing. The U.S. Census Bureau reported one in five health care workers in the U.S. quit their jobs during the pandemic, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 275,000 additional nurses are needed from 2020 to 2030.
“Certainly there have been challenges to retaining and hiring nurses in Bullhead City, as much as anywhere else, over the past three years,” said Jena Morga, Western Arizona Regional Medical Center spokeswoman.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes the causes of the shortages are numerous and include two aging populations.
The U.S. has the highest number of Americans over the age of 65 than any other time in history. In 2029, the last of the baby boomer generation will reach retirement age, resulting in a 73% increase in Americans age 65 years and older.
The nursing workforce is aging too. Approximately 1 million registered nurses are age 50 and older, meaning that one-third of the workforce will be at retirement age in the next 10-15 years.
The need for nurses is projected to be greater in areas with high retirement populations.
Mohave Community College Director of Nursing Kerrie Hess says the college nursing program and MCC leadership has been meeting with hospitals and healthcare providers in Mohave County to develop training partnerships with joint goals and objectives, including preparation to meet the need for training with fewer human resources.
“The nursing program at MCC has begun enhancing instruction with high-fidelity simulation,” Hess said. “And we are looking into augmented and virtual reality training resources.”