While there is a growing need for nursing professionals across the U.S., Texas is seeing a particularly significant increase in demand for nursing home nurses. Several factors have contributed to the shift, including an older population settling in Texas.
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program can prepare students for nursing home roles to ensure older individuals have the care they deserve. The curriculum explores the skills nursing home nurses need, like interpersonal relations, verbal communication, observation, patience and more. BSN-prepared nurses are then well-positioned to pursue graduate degrees in nurse administration or gerontological care to continue serving older adults.
What Is Driving the Demand for Texas Nurses?
A handful of factors are driving the demand for nurses in Texas. According to SeniorLiving.org, approximately 80 million U.S. residents will be 65 and older by 2030. In Texas alone, the 65+ population is expected to grow by 28% in that same timeframe, driving demand for nursing professionals in many settings, especially nursing home care
Not all older adults will require stays at assisted living or nursing home facilities. However, aging people often need more healthcare services, such as nursing home care for chronic illnesses and age-related conditions.
The rapid rise in the elderly population might require the construction of over 3,000 additional nursing homes to meet the demand, reports SeniorLiving.org. In Texas, nursing homes must add 31 beds per facility and build and staff 340 new nursing homes by 2030 to ensure sufficient access to care for these individuals.
The shortage of nursing professionals has prompted Texas Health and Human Services to call for nursing home reform, including optimizing nursing home configurations and expanding clinical staffing. The Center for Medicare Advocacy reports that while nursing home “residents represent a small portion of one percent of the population of our country, residents and staff accounted for an astounding 20-25% of all deaths.”
Many of these deaths correlate to reduced staffing standards. For example, nearly 20 years ago, a government report found that over 90% of facilities had insufficient staff to prevent harm or to meet residents’ needs. However, with residents facing greater care needs than ever, staffing concerns have not been addressed two decades later, as “more than 90% of facilities still can’t meet the staffing standards identified in 2000.”
The need for nurses in the state has reached crisis levels, says the Texas Health Care Association (THCA), with only 8% of nursing homes having adequate nursing personnel. “[L]ow staffing levels are leading the industry to fall below national averages in survey, quality and staffing measures,” THCA reports. “A key component of quality care is direct care staff in nursing homes who know, understand and can anticipate the needs of residents, particularly those who require increasingly complex care for debilitating diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer.”
What Do Nursing Home Nurses Do?
Nursing home nurses play a critical role in ensuring the well-being and quality of life of long-term care residents. Like nurses in other healthcare settings, they address residents’ physical, mental and emotional health.
Job duties of nursing home nurses may include:
- Health assessments and monitoring: Perform health assessments on residents and continuously monitor vital signs and symptoms.
- Medication administration: Administer medications at the correct time and dosage while monitoring their response.
- Wound care: Provide wound care and dressings for injuries, bedsores or surgical sites and document healing progress.
- Activities of daily living: Assist residents with tasks like bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting.
- Communication: Relay information to residents and their families and provide updates on care plans and health status.
- Collaboration: Partner with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians, therapists and social workers, to deliver comprehensive care.
- Emotional support: Offer emotional support and companionship to residents, especially those dealing with loneliness, anxiety or depression.
How Much Do Nursing Home Nurses Make?
RNs working in nursing homes and residential care facilities earn a median annual salary of $75,410, with the top 10% of nurses making more than $120K, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As with other nursing positions, nurses with more education and experience may have higher earning potential.
Texas needs more nurses, particularly in nursing homes. Nurses graduating from an online RN to BSN program can help address nursing home staffing challenges and provide specialized care for an aging population.
Learn more about UTA’s online RN to BSN program.