Nursing Shortage Resources

Nursing shortage is where the demand for nursing professionals exceeds their supply which can be in a given healthcare facility that is a local scenario or either nationally or globally. This can be measured through the number of job openings that calls high number of nurses that are working in the healthcare than the ones who are available or even the ration between nurses and population. This is a problem that has become rampant in both developing and developed countries all over the world. From the Second World War, hospitals in the U.S have had to deal with a cyclical shortage of nurses. The national supply of nurses cannot meet the high demand nationally. With this recurrent shortage in nurses in the U.S means that the quality of patient care will go down. This is a complex issue that is multifaceted and the causes are very many.

The shortage that has been observed recently is due to multiple factors that are cumulative this includes the population growth that has been observed recently and it is very steep. This means that the number of people in need of care from nurses is increasing at an alarming rate but the number of nurses is not increasing to meet the high population. The other cause of the shortage is a continuing diminishing number of new students who enroll into nursing. This means that the inflow of new nurses into the healthcare industry to replace the nurses who are retiring. A decline in the RN earning which is relative to other careers that are available is yet another reason. Nurses opt to switch to other careers that attract better pay and hence leave gaps in hospitals. An aging workforce is also another reason, just like other careers the nursing profession is affected by the aging population meaning that nurses continue to retire and with no fresh graduates to take up the positions of this retired nurses translates to an inevitable shortage. There is also the fact that there is an overall rise in the aging population which requires a lot of healthcare services. This calls for great attention that may even mean personal nurses meaning the patient nurse ration has be balanced. This however is not possible as the available nurses are few hence the nursing shortage. All this issues are taking place just when the job opportunities that are found within the healthcare industry are expanding at the same time a large number of nurses are retiring (, 2012).

The issue of nursing shortage is a very serious one that needs to be looked into very urgently. The magnitude of the shortage can be seen for instance in 2002, it was estimated that the shortage of the estimated nurses was 125,000 which can be translated to 65% of the full-time equivalence. This shortage is expected to go higher by 2020 ranging from 400,000-808,000 due to the fact that there is a limited entry of new nurses into the profession. According to reports by American Health Care Association that was released in July 2008 shows that there are more than 19,400 opportunities in the nursing industry and at the same time additional 116,000 positions were open in 2007 according to the same association. This means that the total opportunities are 135,000 an approximate vacancy of 8.15%.this is a very high percentage meaning that the healthcare industry is seriously in need of nurses. It is also speculated that there are over 900,000 nurses that are aged above 50 years and are on their way to retirement, which means that a huge gap will be left with this nurses upon their retirement.

This means that the issue of nursing shortage has to be looked at if not then it means that there will be a negative impact on the patient outcomes which will eventually contribute to errors in the medical field. Furthermore a lower-nurse patient ratio that is in the surgical and medical teams means that there will be low mortality of patients. Therefore if the nursing shortage is not looked into it means that the patient mortality rate will go up and at the same time the low rates of nurse’s retention will lead to patients’ deaths that can be prevented.

Therefore there are strategies that can be implemented so as to deal with this issue; solutions should focus on increasing wages and recruitment of the nurses even if it means outsourcing from other countries such as Canada, Great Britain, India, African countries and so on. Focus should be on retaining the nurses who are currently in job positions and encouraging the people who left the nursing career to get back .the primary retention strategies are the improvement of their working conditions and enhance education and professional development (, 2012).

These solutions require solutions require economic investments as well as contribution from the lay public. When addressing this issue there is requirement of efforts that aim to recruit as well as retain nurses and at the same time strengthen the capacity of nursing schools. These strategies call for the supply of educational facilities with ample faculty and funding, improvement of aid in terms of finances to students such as scholarship that target groups that are underrepresented like minorities and even men. Therefore many stakeholders as well as the government should invest financially in to ensure that these strategies are a reality. The lay public should be involved with these efforts since they are the ones who feel the impact of nursing shortage.

Reference (2012).Nursing Workforce. Retrieved February 25, 2013 from