AONL 2021: Buerhaus outlines pandemic’s impact on nursing workforce

Nurse and health care economist Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, shared preliminary findings from recent and ongoing research into the pandemic’s impact on the nursing workforce. The immediate rise in nurse unemployment at the start of the pandemic has largely subsided, but non-white nurses and those working in nursing homes continue to be affected. The Montana State University professor said prior to the pandemic, the profession was on track to grow 25% between 2019 and 2029. His recent survey of nurse leaders, conducted in association with AONL, indicated members are seeing RNs retire and take sick leave at higher than usual rates. While members of the public still hold nurses in high regard, the pandemic has made them less willing to recommend nursing as a career, Buerhaus said. His research team plans to develop long-term workforce projections next year. Meanwhile, he believes it’s time for nursing to rebuild and reset its priorities.