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The work of nurses and their pay – Healthcare Economist


Recent news reports have highlighted the need for a registered nurse. According to Pew, due to a shortage of nurses “Hospitals across the country are hampering emergency operations, struggling to find patients’ beds quickly and failing to meet the demands of nurses and patients.” Nursing costs are also rising. The Baltimore Sun reports that the University of Maryland Medical System plans to spend $ 5.1 million to hire nurses. However, these are countless stories. What does the data say on a global scale?

A paper published by Buerhaus et al. (2022) uses aggregated pay data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and unemployment data from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Events from February 2020 (pre-epidemic) to June 2021.

According to the data, the authors find a decrease in medical services that “never happened”.

By April 2020 employment had declined sharply in medical offices (−11 per cent), outpatients (−8 per cent), and home-based care (−7 per cent). Employment declined in hospitals (−2 percent), large RN recruits were, in part, due to the high number of patients with COVID-19 and other patients whose care was not delayed. Nursing homes declined slightly by April 2020 (-3 percent), but in contrast to other areas, the decline in nursing homes continued until 2021. The share of nursing homes continued, where the decline continued. The workforce was very high in hospitals (−2.2 per cent), in doctors’ offices (−0.7 per cent), and outpatients (+2.6 per cent) by June 2021. It was February 2020

Although post-epidemic employment declined by only 1% for registered pre-epidemic registered nurses, these rates were 10% for registered or well-trained nurses (LPN / LVN) and a 20% decrease for nursing assistants (NAs). As a matter of fact, as medical work has not decreased every year for the past thirty years.

Fees for nurses have also risen sharply, especially for LVNs and NAs. For LPN / LVN with hospitals and NAs, the pay increase was more than 10% last year.



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