There is patent evidence on the fact that there is nursing shortage globally. Countries for example Canada, Australia, USA and UK are reporting some significant complexity in maintaining the workforce. Most countries are seeking for solutions to this pressing issue and are reporting the effect of shortages on private and public health providers’ aptitude in sustaining of quality services. This paper aims at giving some light on nursing shortage, the prevalence, the causes, impact and recommendations.
Nursing shortage does refer to the situation in which demand for the registered nurses is usually greater supply. Most countries like US, Japan, Australia, Norway and UK are already experiencing this hit. The nursing shortage is actually rooted in the growing population which does demand the amplifying health services and other major factors. The current shortage of the nurses is a widespread and risky lack of some skilled nurses who are usually needed to cater for the patients and the whole populace. Actually the work of the 12 million nurses globally has not been understood yet. Studies have already shown that the nursing shortages are a major issue in most developed countries currently. The increased shortages of nurses have had adverse effects. It is therefore imperative to come up with a rational analysis of the whole issue and discuss the extent of the problem and its effects.
Some contributing factors on the reason behind nurse shortage do remain the same. One of the main reasons of the nurse shortage is the fact that women are having more choices for careers (Linda et al, 2006). With the reduced lengths of stays in the hospitals and care in the home settings, there is a great need for more experienced and highly skilled nurses. From an economic point of view, the shortage is usually driven most by supply side in the demand/supply equation than usually demand. This is a grave and complex shortage which does promise to actually worsen in the next decade as most of the nurses retire. The work environs in US differ than the last nursing shortage and do need to be taken into great consideration in developing some strategies in managing this shortage. Rapid technologies are advancing and changing ways of doing work. Organizations in the industries are actually dealing with some tight competition and labor market to hire the brightest and the best. There are some trends that do affect the working environment and offer a context on which nursing shortages does evolve. First the employees currently do seek some personal time over financial compensations, second the employees aim at being both active at work places and at home and more employees nowadays opt for less stressful work, more of the personal time and the fact that most employers increasingly offer some services to reduce stress (Linda et al, ). Employees during their twenties and thirties do view workplaces differently and usually prefer less bureaucracy and greater autonomy.
Nursing shortages has some effects. It amplifies the nurses’ loads, increases risks for medical errors, does increase deaths and also does increase the chances of getting some psychiatric help because of the mounting stress.
As new prospects open up for the young women and more stress have been added in this profession most of the people do opt to choose careers that are besides nursing. Both men and women do weigh their interests with career choices that do bring them some worthy compensation and enhance the quality of life. Women are currently pursuing attractive, competitive and lucrative careers that were usually impossible to be achieved some thirty years ago. The new admissions to nursing schools have also dropped. According to health care nursing universities and colleges denied 32, 617 applicants in the year 2005 due to the fact that there was shortage of the nursing educators. There is also a lack of young people entering in the nursing profession. Almost half of them will actually reach the retirement age in some next 15 years. There are other causes of the shortage of nurses for example the poor working conditions, inadequate resources, the aging workforce of the nurses and others (Claire et al, 2003).
According to the American Association of colleges of nursing over 581, 500 some new nursing positions would be created in the year 2018 to make nursing the most competitive profession. There are 168, 000 unfilled job vacancy in US (Michael, n.d). Despite the current issue of nursing shortage, research shows that US nursing shortage does project to grow to about 260,000 of the registered nurses by the year 2025. Also there is a shortage of the registered nurses in American could reach about 500,000 by the year 2025 (Michael, n.d). Also in a survey that was reported in the year 2002 also did find out that 65% of the public and 53% of the physicians did cite the shortage of nurses as the major cause of medical errors.
According to nursing shortage statistics there are numerous solutions to the nursing shortage. One is improving education. The nursing schools ought to reassess the various types of programs they have as well as the degrees they do offer in order to retain and attract more students. Second, there should be increase of job security. The more there is increase of nursing jobs the more many people might decide to have a career in nursing. Third, there should be reverse bidding. These will allow more nurses to fill in the open shifts through the web system. This will entail the RN being matched with vacancies that are based on the people’s qualifications. Fourth, there is staffing by free agency. Some of the available health care facilities do use the free agents in order to fill some vacant shifts. The free agency nurses hardly have any set schedule. They usually bid on the shifts that are actually not filled in by the health facilities staff. Free agents nurses do bid on some hourly rates or better still the shift bonus. Five, there should be increase of wages. The amplification of salary will actually motivate most people to enter the field of nursing. There have been relatively stagnant wages from the year 1992 to the year 2000. The narrow ranks of the nurses have also been linked with the poor outcome of patients. In a 2002, study concerning the patients’ outcomes in Pennsylvania hospitals did conclude that for each increase of one patient as far as staffing ratio is concerned, the death of the patients rose to roughly 7% (Michael, n.d). An increase of the patient to nurse ratios from 4:1 to 8:1 resulted in five more deaths among 1,000 patients (Michael. N.d).
Today around sixteen states have already responded to the nursing shortages with bills and laws that does mandate the patient nurse ratios in the acute health facilities and prohibiting mandatory overtime. The laws also do require global adoption of the health standards that do calculate the needs of the nurses and the field in general basing it upon the intensity of the illness in patients. Other states are undertaking a recruit campaign and also creating a loan forgiveness program (Michael, n.d).
There is a great need for the health care system to basically improve the poor working conditions of the nurses. The improvements should go beyond the superficial solutions to essentially making sure the status of the nurses is enhanced. There should be edification reforms and clear roles that do define who a nurse actually is and what they should or should not do. This will make the nursing profession a very desirable profession. There ought to be adequate staffing ratios in order to improve the safety of the patients as legal mandates are not really enough. Addressing the issue of nurses’ satisfaction through empowering them is effectual in attracting the population. The nurses should be empowered and be provided with some practical, valuable and recurrent skills of training and offer them power to solve problems. This will make sure that the nurses garner respect, professional status, autonomy and the right skills to lead and promote safety of the patients.
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