USC Upstate News

Hiring eases in ailing times for high-demand nurses

09- 14- 2009

By Gary Glancy 

The recession has taken down some rock-solid professions over the past year … but nursing?Not exactly, experts say, though some reports suggest there's been an easing of the national nursing shortage because of the recent economic swoon.

"The biggest problem this year that hospitals are telling us is that people who would normally be retiring are not retiring for fear of running out of retirement monies in this bad economy," said Katharine Gibb, interim dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing at the University of South Carolina Upstate. "And people who have been working part time have moved into full-time positions -- again, hanging onto jobs for fear of the economy. So the normal turnover that hospitals would see has slowed considerably, making less available brand new positions."

Another factor is that the number of hospital admissions across the state has decreased in the past 12 months for both inpatient and outpatient care, said Jim Walker, senior vice president of health care work force and regulation with the S.C. Hospital Association.

"People are putting off elective surgeries and even nonelective medical procedures because they've either lost their health care benefits, are no longer employed or their plans have such a high copay and deductible that they can't afford it," Walker said. "So all (these elements) have come together to where some hospitals are not hiring -- especially new (college) grads -- at the rate they previously were."

That's not the case everywhere, though. As of last week, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System had more than 30 registered-nurse positions listed, "so I would think if we did not have a nursing shortage that all of those positions would be filled," said Susan Duggar, Spartanburg Regional's chief nursing officer. Read full story at