A new General Accounting Office report on the nursing supply finds, as have previous reports, that a nursing shortage may be coming, but it said data aren't available to analyze the market dynamics very well.
"Current evidence suggests emerging shortages of nurses," said the report, which was obtained by Modern Healthcare and reported first in the magazine's July 18 Daily Dose electronic newsletter. However, available data aren't adequate to calculate the difference between supply and demand, and the data don't allow for sufficient understanding of nursing workforce issues at the state or specialty level, the report said.
The report, Nursing Work Force: Emerging Work Shortages Due to Multiple Factors, calls for more detailed data to assist in "planning and targeting corrective efforts."
Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) asked the GAO to produce the report in May because of debate about whether a nursing shortage now exists and to what degree. Provider groups, such as the American Hospital Association, have reported rising nurse vacancy rates. But a May study by the Congressional Research Service said it couldn't state conclusively that an across-the-board shortage of registered nurses exists.
The national unemployment rate for registered nurses was 1% in 2000, the lowest level in a decade, the GAO report said.
The report documents that hospitals and other healthcare providers are having difficulties recruiting and retaining nurses and that job dissatisfaction is a major contributing factor.
Separately, AMN Healthcare, San Diego, a temporary healthcare staffing agency, has filed for an initial public offering of stock less than a week after its primary competitor, Cross Country, based in Boca Raton, Fla., did the same.
AMN's registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission puts the value of its planned IPO at up to $172.5 million. The company said it would use the proceeds to reduce debt and for working capital. Cross Country filed for an IPO of up to $115 million (July 16, p. 16).
AMN has contracts to supply nurses to about 42% of all U.S. acute-care hospitals, according to its SEC statement. The company lost $3.9 million on revenue of $230.8 million in 2000 and lists assets of $216.7 million and debt of $121.7 million. Like Cross Country, AMN warned in its SEC filing that its growth possibilities may be limited because of increased competition for nurses.
With Jeff Tieman