A Look at Nursing in South Carolina

South Carolina is known for its Grand Strand beach, the historic and charming cities and state parks where you can hike, kayak and camp. The Palmetto state is also an ideal destination for golfing and fishing. But is South Carolina a good state for finding nursing jobs? While the supply of nurses in most states is increasing, South Carolina still needs more nurses. So if you want to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and you live in South Carolina or want to move there, you may discover many employment options.

Is There a Nursing Shortage?

In July 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) published its report Supply and Demand Projections of the Nursing Workforce: 2014-2030. The study includes projections for the supply and demand of registered nurses in 2030 based on 2014 statistics.

The report indicates that the deficit of nurses has eased nationally. However, there are certain states, as well as some rural and urban areas across the country, with a shortage of nurses. The nursing shortage is a matter of distribution. This is because the number of new graduates fluctuates and nurses tend to practice in states where they receive their preparation.

What Is the Job Outlook for RNs?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for nurses is predicted to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026. This rate is much faster than the average for all occupations.

How Much Are RNs Paid?

Glassdoor cites that the average annual base pay for RNs nationally is $65,976 as of May 1, 2018. Yearly salary for nurses in South Carolina is estimated to be between $52,000 and $91,000. Income varies for nurses in South Carolina based on experience, specialty, education and the type of healthcare facility.

What Is the Status of Nursing in South Carolina?

South Carolina is experiencing a shortage of nurses. As of October 2017, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) lists the total number of professionally active nurses in South Carolina at 35,996. The HRSA workforce study estimates that the state’s demand for nurses will reach 62,500 with a 10,400 shortage by 2030.

What Is Causing the Nursing Shortage?

The insufficient number of nurses is due to numerous factors:

  • Aging patient population.
  • Retiring nurses.
  • Lack of nurse educators.

A major shift in healthcare is occurring because a large portion of the patient population is moving into retirement age. More nurses are needed to provide care to older adults who suffer from multiple chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, dementia and arthritis as well as heart, liver and kidney disease. Their medical aliments may require complicated and ongoing treatments.

Additionally, the majority of the nursing workforce is at or approaching retirement age. The 2015 National Nursing Workforce Study is the latest survey available from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Out of 260,000 RNs and licensed practical nurses/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) randomly selected to participate in the study, approximately 78,700 nurses responded. The results showed that 50 percent of the RNs are age 50 or older. With a growing segment of the nursing workforce retiring, nurses are needed to fill the vacancies.

Not only are clinical nurses retiring, but so are nurse educators. The number of new nurse educator graduates is not keeping up with the number of nurses leaving the workforce. That is because to teach in academia, nurses must complete a master’s or in some cases a doctoral degree program. Typically, the path to becoming a nurse educator can take six to eight years or more.

South Carolina Needs Nurses

The demand for nurses in South Carolina is high. Nursing shortages can disrupt the delivery of care and jeopardize patient safety. Therefore, it is imperative that South Carolina recruits nurses for open positions, while remaining diligent about retaining qualified staff. Nurses should keep in mind that many employers prefer — if not require — new hires to have at least a BSN.

Nurses with an associate degree may want to consider enrolling in an online RN to BSN program. An online program is affordable and offers a flexible schedule. Generally, students are able to complete the program in about 12 months.

Learn more about USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program.


Columbia Regional Business Report: South Carolina Seeks Cure for Looming Nurse Shortage

Discover South Carolina: South Carolina Beaches

Glassdoor: Registered Nurse Salaries in South Carolina

Charleston Regional Business Journal: Health Care Industry Warns of Labor Crisis

EveryNurse.org: Becoming a Nurse Educator

WSPA News: SC Has Critical Shortage of Nurses

National Council of State Boards of Nursing: National Nursing Workforce Study

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses

HRSA Health Workforce: Supply and Demand Projections of the Nursing Workforce: 2014-2030

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: Total Number of Professionally Active Nurses

RegisteredNursing.org: Why 2016 & 2017 May Be the Best Time to Start a Career as a Registered Nurse

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