Nearly all area hospitals need nurses
Seven years back, Anne Pasicaran came from the Philippines to Sunnyside Community Hospital in order to help stem the shortage of nurses. And seven year later, she is still here.
Anne, a registered nurse, lives here with her husband and owns a big home on Sunnyside’s South Hill. The couple became US citizens in May and have a son, Riley, who attends preschool.
She is one of the five Filipina nurses at the Sunnyside Community and is helping to deal with the nursing shortage in the area which is getting worse.
Overseas nurses are recruited, local colleges crank out graduates, hospitals entice their own housekeepers to study nursing, but still, the nursing shortage continues to plague hospitals in the area and other parts of the country as well.
According to a November report by the Health Workforce Institute in Seattle, hospitals in Kittitas, Yakima and Klickitat counties have a minimum requirement of 98 registered nurses, and the count does not include requirements in clinics, school districts, jails and other places that hire nurses
And another concern in that the number is the same which was needed in the year 2004, in spite of the fact that some local nursing schools have almost doubled their enrollment and faculty since then.
Registered nurses are paid starting hourly wages between $23 and $27 by area hospitals. Most nurses taking up the job are registered nurses, which is the largest single job description of the health care industry.
The institute reported that during the period between 2004 and last year, the statewide vacancy rate rose from 6.2 percent to 8.7 percent
What is the most worrying fact that the situation is only going to grow worse since with the aging population, more number of people will seek more medical care at a time when more nurses would retire as well. It should be noted that the average age of registered nurses in the state in forty-eight years.
According to a 2006 report by the Center for Health Workforce Studies of the University of Washington, by the year 2020, the state will need almost 60,000 registered nurses, but will merely have 30,000 to 40,000 nurses.
Rhonda Taylor, the nursing program coordinator at Yakima Valley Community College said that the situation if going to be bad or worse if we continue doing what we are doing at present. The industry is trying everything to tackle the problem, including looking overseas, but to no avail.