Research Paper on the Health Care Issue: Nursing Shortage

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1402 Words
Date:  2021-06-23

The need for health care is rapidly growing in the United States; thus, the projected shortage of Registered nurses (RNs). Notably, the reasons for the problem include challenges facing nursing schools in expanding their capacities in the short-run to meet the growing demand. For instance, the Bureau of Labor StatisticsEmployment Projections 2014-2024 indicates that Registered Nursing is among the top listed profession in terms of job growth up to 2025. Consequently, the number of registered nurses will increase to 3.2 million up from 2.7 million in 2014 translating to a 16 percent increase. Furthermore, the bureau predicts that 649,100 nurses need to be replaced in the health sector due to growth of healthcare demand by 2024.

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Demand for nurses

On the other hand, the Tri-Council for Nursing gave a statement in July 2010 regarding the demand and supply projections, which caution about a nursing shortage. Evidently, the economic decline in 2010 causes a shortage ease in many parts of the America which analysts argue is temporary. Moreover, the Tri-Council raises a warning that the entry of Registered nurses into the health sector is slow as compared to the estimated demand for nursing services.Also , a predicted deficit of nursing staff is likely to spread across the US by 2030 according to the United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast Markedly, the deficit is projected to be intense in the southern and western states.

Projected Shortage of nurses 2000-2020 for shortage of Nurses

Slow growth of nursing schools enrolment. Enrolment into nursing schools is very low compared to the projected growth in demand for healthcare. For example the enrolment for 2016 indicated a growth of 3.6%. As a result, there is a shortfall in the projected need for services related to nursing which include primary care providers and researchers ("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017.)

Limited enrolment into nursing schools due to few nursing school faculty. Nursing schools in the United States turned down 64,067 applications for graduate and baccalaureate courses from qualified applicants in 2016. Notably, the reasons cited by nursing institutions are budget constraints, limited classroom space, shortage in number of faculty and clinical preceptors ("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017.).

Limited enrolment due to constraints in capacity expansion

Change of demographics. The population in the United States is quickly ageing and hence the demand for nursing services for the aged is on the rise given the limited number of nurses ("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017).

Rising stress levels due to pressure from insufficient staffing. Insufficient number of nurses causes the few who are available to strain since they look after a large number of patients. As a result ,many nurses are leaving the profession due to the work stress they experience at the place of work. Notably, staff shortage is a major problem for quality of care nurses give patients, amount of time spent with patients and quality of work life. Future shortages are a catalyst for stress on nurses and therefore will lower patient care quality as well as result in high rates of turnover("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017).

High retirement rates as compared to enrolment. The number of nurses exiting the nursing profession has steadily been growing from 40,000 in 2010 and is projected to reach 80,000 by the year 2020. Also, 40% of registered nurses are 50 years of age and over. On the other hand, the high growth rate of enrolments in nursing schools have begun to level off ("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017).

U.S. faces dangerous shortage of nurses- Video of

Solution to shortage of nurses in the United States

Strategies have been put in place to address the nursing shortages at institutional, federal and state levels to ensure that the lasting solution is found. For instance, the University of Wisconsin in January 2014 declared an incentive grant od 43.2million to provide loan forgiveness in future for nursing graduates that agree to teach in the state after school. Markedly, the initiative is a response to a projection by the institution that a shortage of 20,000 nurses is eminent in Wisconsin by the year 2050 ("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017.).

Also, nursing schools are engaging in public-private partnerships to help finance initiatives to expand their capacities. For instance, the Minnesota VA Health care system has committed to finance expansion of clinical sites and nursing faculty to a sum of $5.3 million in a partnership program with the University of Minnesota ("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017.).

The Centralized application system (CAS) in the United States for registered nurses has been expanded to accept a wider range of applicants including nursing degree applicants from 2010. The expansion of the CAS has ensured that all available spaces in nursing schools are filled to meet the rising demand of nurses. As a result, in 2016 38,000 seats and more vacant seats are identified graduate and Baccalaureate programs ("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017.).

Private stakeholders in the medical field have undetetaken initiatives to boost the nursing profession. For instance, the Johnson& Johnson runs a multimedia initiative to promote nursing as a career. The initiative uses television advertisement, recruitment videos and brochures create awareness ("American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage," 2017.).

Optimizing the staffing of nurses in an era of nursing shortages- Video

Spheres of Influence: Government.

Strategies employed by the government are important in expansion in enrolment and expansion of the nursing faculty. Therefore, working closely with the Centralised application agency is a viable option to ensuring maximum utilisation of capacity. Also, working with state funded institutions to expand capacity of the nursing faculty is another option. For instance, to help identify and propose potential private partnerships will go a long way to ensure sustainability.

Furthermore, the shortage of nursing staff is a critical issue requiring policy responses that are timely. Therefore, arranging for meetings among stakeholders where obstaclesand benefits achieved during implementation ofgovernment policies addressing the nursing shortage is important.As a result, incorporating the shortage of nursing staff into the government agenda requires nurses to work together to prove that a nursing shortage exists. Moreover, nurse leaders need to be persistent in seeking for a solution in liaison with civil servants, nursing institutions, professional bodies and networks outside and within government. Also, support strategies to develop effective policy such as improvements in remuneration and working conditions should be part of government policy agenda. Most importantly, consistent monitoring of the nursing shortfall is necessary for immediate response to policy level issues.

Spheres of Influence: Work Place.

Leadership style in the nursing department affects professional satisfaction and commitment by members of the faculty. Therefore, studying and analysing the style of leadership as perceived by the members of nursing staff is critical to assessing job satisfaction in the nursing profession("Solution to the Shortage of Nursing Faculty: Awareness and...: Nurse Educator," 2014.).

The high rate of turnover among the nursing staff is mainly caused by work related pressure due to understaffing in medical facilities. Consequently, addressing issues that create work pressure in the work place will help improve job satisfaction and dedication to service. Peer mentoring helps young members in the profession to handle such pressure. In addition, it provides valuable experience to the mentor as well as menteesince individuals who are young in the career gain from mentoring experience(Nursing Outlook Org., 2016). Also, mentees are able to create professional networks, develop diversity of thought and establish research collaborations. Mentorship programs are used as platforms for identifying establishing early academicians and researchers at the pre and postdoctoral levels


American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Nursing Shortage. (2017.).

Retrieved from of a government policy to address nursing shortage and nursing education quality - Abhicharttibutra - 2016 - International Nursing Review - Wiley Online Library. (2016).

Retrieved from Solution to the Shortage of Nursing Faculty: Awareness and... : Nurse Educator. (2014).

Retrieved from

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