Nursing Shortage: More Jobs Than Recruiters Can Fill

New York agency describes feeling the pinch of a looming nursing shortage.

August 10, 2010, 9:39 PM

Aug. 14, 2010 — -- No matter how many nurses walk through Michael Fazio's door looking for jobs, it's never enough.

Despite a U.S. unemployment rate approaching 10 percent, Fazio's Manhattan-based company, Prime Staffing, which specializes in placing New York-based nurses, has such an extraordinary demand for nurses that it can't fill all of the vacancies.

"We're trying to engage nurses from around the country to come to New York and work for Prime Staffing," said Fazio, the company's president.

But even that might not be a wide enough net. The United States faces a looming national nursing shortage, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

In December 2009, workforce analysts with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that more than 581,500 new registered nurse positions would be created through 2018, which would increase the size of the RN workforce by a whopping 22 percent.

Skilled nurses are quickly becoming wooed and sought after by hospitals, medical facilities, doctor's offices and nursing staffing agencies.

It may be no surprise that Prime Staffing isn't the only outsourcing agency aggressively targeting nurses.

There's also the San Diego-based AMN Health Care, whose chief clinical officer, Marcia Faller, said the company places thousands nurses each year in long-term and short-term positions nationwide.

"We're beginning to see more opportunities for temporary nursing," Faller said. "We are predicting that the nurses that went back to into the profession during this recession to help out their families are going to leave again and the ones who held off on retiring are going to be leaving too."

Faller expects the nursing industry is expecting a dramatic shortage of nursing by 2016.

Fazio's clients include New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

In addition to competitive salaries, Fazio's firm is known for A-list treatment of its nurses -- including buying Broadway show tickets for prospective employees, and paying for luxurious apartments, fancy dinners and performance bonuses.

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"New York is a great city," Fazio said, "and if a nurse is considering working here I want them to see all that New York has to offer."

Stephanie Wetmore, an RN from Rochester, N.Y., has been working with Prime Staffing since March.

"Prime had hospitals with patients and types of services, emergency medicine, that I was looking for," Wetmore said, "so it was a good fit between the two of us."