Florida Faces Worsening Nursing Shortage

Florida hospitals and health centers are filled with many hard-working, caring and compassionate healthcare workers. Unfortunately, many of these individuals are placed under undue stress when these facilities are not adequately staffed. Even with dedicated and experienced workers, errors and medical malpractice are more likely to occur in an improperly staffed medical environment.

According to a report issued by the Florida Hospital Association last month, the state may face a critical healthcare worker shortage in the years ahead. The state has struggled with shortages over the years, but the situation is expected to worsen. The report attributes this shortage to:

  • Cuts to Medicaid payments
  • Current health care reform legislation
  • Increased rate of retirement of healthcare professionals

By 2025, the shortage of Florida nurses is expected to increase to 50,300 full-time registered nurses. Currently, more than three-fourths of hospitals in Florida are short on nurses. The vacancy rate of emergency room nurses in Florida is the highest of all the nursing departments in the state at 8.3 percent.

A stressed and overburdened nursing staff is more likely to make mistakes as longer working hours become common and temporary nurses replace full-time staff. Tragic medical malpractice cases that can arise in these situations include:

Compounding the shortage is the fact that Florida’s population is increasingly in need of healthcare: The population is expected to grow 60 percent by 2030, contributing to a greater demand for and stress upon healthcare services.

The state is also struggling with a physician shortage. There are not enough new physicians to replace the aging and retiring physicians. One-fourth of Florida’s physicians are over the age of 65, while only 10 percent are under the age of 35.

We rely on healthcare professionals during the most unexpected and trying times. Unfortunately, healthcare workers who are careless when performing their job duties have the capacity to change our lives forever. Hospitals across the state are seeking solutions, such as finding new ways to recruit and hold on to new nurses.

If you have suffered an injury because of medical malpractice in Orlando, Florida or the surrounding areas, please contact experienced injury attorney Michael Barszcz to schedule a consultation.