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Nurse Recruitment: VA Hospitals Will Need 40,000 Nurses

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 5th, 2016

The Department of Veterans Affairs will need nearly 40,000 registered nurses in the next three years to meet the demands of more veterans seeking care within the system and to replace retiring nurses.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that 9.1 percent of the VA’s existing RNs left in 2014. The system faces a severe shortage in the next five years when 20 percent of its nurses will be eligible for retirement. The report also noted that 12 percent of nurses who left in 2012 did so during their first year of employment.

Recruit VA Nurses The top reasons why nurses left the system were retirement and career advancement through opportunities elsewhere. The shortage and high turnover has led to a critical situation as the VA has trouble meeting the existing demand for services and strives to serve those who have been denied timely care.

Although the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has many system-wide initiatives to recruit and retain its nurse workforce, the GAO report found that three of the four VA medical systems had difficulty fulfilling the initiatives. The report identified that troubles were due to lack of sufficient administrative support, competition with private sector, a limited number of qualified and available nurses in rural locations and employee dissatisfaction.

What’s the best way to improve nurse recruitment and nurse retention? Visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

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