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Physician and Nursing Shortages

By 2025 the US will be short up to 90,000 physicians and short 500,000 nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projects that between 2014 and 2022 there will be over 1,000,000 job openings for nurses because of growth and the need for replacements. Recently, there were over 70,000 nursing student applications turned down because there aren’t enough teachers, classroom space, and clinical space to train them.

The current situation prevents us from training enough nurses to fill the void. The nursing shortage is causing many currently working nurses to leave the profession because they are understaffed, overworked, and stressed.

Presently, there are about 500,000 licensed nurses who are not in the nursing workforce. About 20 percent of them have been out of the workforce for too long and would need additional training before they can go back to work. That leaves about 400,000 nurses who could return to the nursing workforce in a relatively short period of time. The question is how to incentivize this group of nurses to return to the workforce. The average age of this group of nurses is 47 years old and the age when most people become seriously concerned about ever being able to retire. Health care organizations should focus on using private pension plans to attract and retain nurse. The private pension plan can work as a powerful magnet to draw a large portion of that group of 400,000 nurses back into the workforce. The vesting period would hold them there until they reach retirement age. Private pension plans could also effectively keep the current workforce of nurses on the job. Moreover, the private pension plans will also work to attract physicians. Multiple AMA reports show that having enough money to retire is the top financial concern among all US physicians.

How do we pay for it? Private pension plans can be funded using investment grade life insurance policies. The premiums can be paid either directly by the employer or through special bank financing much the same way a healthcare organization makes any other financial investment. The special bank financing was designed specifically for this type of plan.

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