Economic Effects on the Nursing Profession

The downturn in the economy has done a couple of things for the nursing profession. More nurses who have not worked as nurses for awhile have returned to active status in order to bolster their family income and to cover lost income for instance if a spouse has lost a job. This has lessened some of the nursing shortage.

On the other hand, as in any industry, cut backs are likely. Where nurses are going to be most affected by this is in areas where nurse-to-patient ratios are not set and/or enforced. Mandatory overtime will also continue to be an issue, and where it has not been, expect that it may come to be a problem.

Nurses will continue to have good job security as a general rule, but this can vary with the financial stability of the facility or company.

Working conditions have always been a huge issue for nurses, and with a recession heading more towards a depression, this is going to be an even bigger issue. What we need to do is to remain a strong collective voice and continue to advocate for better conditions and improved patient care and safety.

With all of these challenges, it will be increasingly important for nurses to work closely with their administration and to make needs and ideas known to those who can help to make them realities such as legislators. Establishing and enforcing nurse-to-patient ratios will be ever more important in the future.


  • babia518

    With the economy the way that it is and the jobs that are being lost, even though nurses are needed, I am worried that hospitals will cut back on the nurses. This then in turn will cause the ratio of patients to nurses will be high. also this will cause more stress in the work place and with the nurses.

  • Jennifer

    With the economy the way that it is and the jobs that are being lost, even though nurses are needed, I am worried that hospitals will cut back on the nurses and the ratio of patients to nurses will be high. If nurses have to care for too many patients at one time, patient care and satisfaction may be lost.

  • Rphizz

    i agree with sabrina in that patients will be feeling the effects way before nurses do, if they ever do. the baby boomers are retiring now and nurses will be needed now more than ever. the fact that the care of the patients will decrease also scares me. the only way to fix that is more nurses, and we are facing that problem before the baby boomers are even in the hospital…

  • I know the Secret

    It amazes me that nurses, the bedside ABSOLUTE MUSTS always have to ‘take on more’ or ‘help tighten’. Doctors have little worry with this. Haven’t met a poor one yet! I’ve been practicing bedside nursing now for 28 years and am appalled at how CLUELESS nurses are as to their power! We’re educated to think and do a job that would repulse and intimidate most people, yet we cower and cowtow to any threat! How about being fair to ourselves? How about we start CHARGING FOR EVERYTHING WE DO? Assessments, starting and maintaining IV’s, administration of meds, CPR, interpretation of rhythms and act accordingly, serving snacks, teaching patients and families,etc. When a house doctor comes up to the unit to start an IV, he pulls out a CHARGE SLIP! We are responsible for so much at a flat rate……and just wait for socialized medicine to kick in! Whose pay do you think they’ll just have to curtail? I worked in Detroit and many of the nurses I worked with came every day to work from Canada because of their lower wages. Keep the change! Yes, we undersold ourselves years ago and the hospitals grew comfortable having us settle for what they throw our way. “Oh, they need to work here their husbands lost their jobs, they’re lucky to have a job……..just add a little moe each month—they’ll get used to it!” I have a DON friend at a large Cleveland hospital who admitted this to me. How can we blame them? Less for us means more profits for them—they are a business, after all. Do you really think ANY CEO is going to take a paycut? Have you been watching the news of recent? To this I say, SHAME ON US!! Want to end a nursing shortage? Pay nurses per task—your paycheck will be as big as your ambition….the patients will be cleaner, safer, more satisfied, who wouldn’t mind doing more for more money? One can make ends meet with ONE job!…….maybe backrubs will come back! (for a fee, of couse).

  • sabrina

    I feel that with the economic effects the only ones who will really suffer will be the patients. We are going to have over worked staff who are also over loaded. It makes me nervous to see how the patient care will go down. The time spent with each patient will decrease, we will not be able to form theraputic relationships and discover important things about our patients.