What You Need to Know About the Nursing Shortage
It’s no secret that there has been an increase in the demand for nurses. For a multitude of reasons, there is a shortage of qualified nurses in the medical field. This shortage affects patients as well as current nurses, so it’s important to understand what is behind it. To help you better understand this shortage, we’ve gathered some facts for you.
What’s causing the nurse shortage?
Let’s make one thing clear: there is no one single reason for the current shortage of qualified nurses. In fact, there are many reasons for the shortage. All Nursing Schools lists the following as contributing factors impacting the nursing shortage:
- Enrollment in schools of nursing is not growing fast enough
- Limited nursing school faculty
- With fewer new nurses, the average RN age is climbing
- An aging U.S. population1
While this is not an all inclusive list, it is a good place to start when understanding the need for more qualified nurses in the medical field.
According to Rebecca from The Atlantic, “The U.S. has been dealing with a nursing deficit of varying degrees for decades, but today—due to an aging population, the rising incidence of chronic disease, an aging nursing workforce, and the limited capacity of nursing schools—this shortage is on the cusp of becoming a crisis, one with worrying implications for patients and health-care providers alike.”2
What is being done to address the shortage?
We need nurses – there’s no way around it. But, how is the current nurse shortage being addressed? Villanova University says “nursing schools, healthcare organizations and nursing associations are taking steps to increase the number of qualified nurses available to care for patients.” Some of these steps include:
- Improving retention
- Encouraging educators
- Attracting new nurses3
This shortage needs to be addressed because it not only affects current nurses and patients, but it affects the entire population. You never know when someone will need medical care, and there needs to be nurses to care for whatever problem arises.
“There will always be a need for nurses, the medical professionals that make otherwise harrowing experiences bearable for patients and their families,” Rebecca writes.2
While the nurse shortage is a problem, there are being steps taken to turn the tide. Remember to encourage young kids around you to consider the nursing career path!
How has the nursing shortage affected your nursing career? Tell us in the comments below!