Nursing represents the largest healthcare profession. Therefore, the healthcare system struggles to provide services efficiently without a robust nursing workforce. A nursing shortage is particularly disruptive in Texas as it is one of the most populous states in the country and quickly gaining new residents.
The rising population is creating job opportunities for nurses across the state, especially for BSN-prepared nurses who can practice at the top of their scope. Employers are increasing pay, offering flexible work hours and creating new pathways for specialized nursing roles to attract and retain nurses. The Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program prepares graduates to fill these roles and meet this emergent healthcare need.
Does Texas Have a Nursing Shortage?
According to Texas Health and Human Services, the state anticipates future shortages in most nursing roles. The state's report, Updated Nurse Supply and Demand Projections 2018-2032, concludes that "Texas will face a shortage of LVNs, RNs and CNMs in relation to projected demand for each nurse type by the year 2032."
Specifically, in 2018, the supply of RNs was sufficient to fill 223,581 full-time equivalent nursing positions, but it fell short of the 251,367 nurses needed. While the Texas nursing workforce looks to grow nearly one-third by 2032, the demand for nurses will grow by 38.8%, outpacing the supply and leaving a deficit of more than 57K full-time nursing positions. Based on these projections, there are not enough nurses to meet the need, and approximately 16% of full-time RN jobs will go unfilled.
In addition to the well-documented nurse shortage before the COVID-19 pandemic, the spread of the virus has exacerbated many of these issues. There are signs that the ability to deliver necessary care have been further impacted by these surges and research also indicates that a growing number of nursing professionals will likely seek career changes sooner rather than later.
What Has Fueled the Population Growth and Demand for Nurses?
Since July 2021, the population of Texas has increased by 470K people, making it the largest-gaining state in the nation, according to the United States Census Bureau as of December 2022. The state now has a population exceeding 30 million — a feat only California has achieved. The growth was fueled primarily by domestic migration, followed by international migration and natural rises in population.
With a larger population comes a greater demand for healthcare services and nurses to facilitate that care. In addition, the nation's population is living longer and managing more complex comorbidities, expanding the need for care. The aging population also means that a substantial portion of nurses are leaving the workforce as they near retirement themselves.
What Areas of Texas Need More Nurses?
Given that each area of Texas experiences population growth at differing rates, the demand for nurses varies based on location. For example, according to the state's Health Professions Resource Center which breaks the state into eight geographic areas, the most significant nursing shortages will occur in the Rio Grande Valley – the location of TAMIU. There, 13.6% of the demand for full-time nursing jobs will go unmet in 2023.
Other areas in Texas expected to face nursing shortages include:
- Gulf Coast
- Central Texas
- East Texas
- West Texas
- North Texas
Do Nurses in Texas Need a BSN?
Some healthcare employers require a BSN, while others prefer to hire candidates with the degree. According to a 2022 American Association of Colleges of Nursing survey, 27.7% of employers require the degree as a condition of employment, and 71.7% strongly prefer BSN program graduates. This is because BSN-prepared nurses have the honed, in-demand expertise and hands-on experience needed to provide patient-first care.
Texas has experienced sizable population growth in recent years, which will likely continue. As a result, the demand for healthcare professionals like nurses has expanded, presenting new job opportunities throughout the state.
As the complexity of patient care increases, nurses who can practice at the top of their scope of practice may have more upward mobility and wider choice of employers. TAMIU's online RN to BSN program gives graduates the experience and evidence-based practice skills to capitalize on the abundance of professional opportunities emerging in Texas, including more available positions, the potential for higher pay and other benefits.
Learn more about TAMIU's online RN to BSN program.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.