The shortage also affects the way nurses feel about their job and is causing many of them to leave the profession which in turn causes an even bigger shortage. A 2002 study showed that Maine had more Registered Nurses working in jobs not related to nursing than any other state in the New England area. Nurses who leave the profession are not willing to work long hours with unsafe patient assignments. Many nurses feel it can compromise not only the health of themselves, but the health and safety of patients. When nurses are overworked they are more likely to make a medical mistake or an error with administering medication. Also, when nurses are burned out and leave the profession they are unlikely to encourage new students to pursue Maine nursing careers.
As a majority of the population continues to age, the future nursing needs in Maine will increase greatly. As the baby boomers age, the increase in older patients will require more medical needs, and it will intensify the current shortage of nurses. The shortage will also be impacted by the amount of nurses that are expected to retire in the next decade. The Maine nursing shortage is not expected to decline any time in the near future. The State Labor Department projects that the deficit will increase to more than 5,200 nurses in the state of Maine by the year 2020.
The main issue that needs to be addressed is increasing enrollment in nursing programs. Currently, programs are not coming close to meeting the annual nursing demands. There are many nursing schools around the state of Maine and online nursing programs to pursue Maine nursing careers. Online nursing programs enable future nurses to complete general and core courses online and complete required clinical experiences at a local health facility.