There’s no surprise in the reality that the United States is in the middle of a nursing crisis. According to some statistics, currently there is an estimated shortage of 150,000 nurses in the U.S. alone. Over the next ten years or so, there will be a need for over 650,000 new nursing jobs, while at the same time 450,000 nurses will have left the profession. Most predict that the shortage will equal to a need of approximately 800,000 nurses!
There are however a number of nurses (Aprrox. 300,000+), most of whom fall under the “baby boomer” demographic that are no longer working and could help buffer the shortage. Many of the reasons for leaving are a result of the shortage. When hospitals make certain cutbacks it has a ripple effect that is felt from the top down. If hospitals can figure out a way to retain these nurses by offering different incentives such as, lighter workloads, bonuses and so forth. There may be a chance to keep “veteran” nurses around a lot longer to help teach and groom new nurses just entering the profession.
The nursing profession is still very appealing, it’s just there isn’t enough faculty or class space to accommodate the numbers. Some states are taking the initiative and offering grants for nursing-school expansions to help with the increasing numbers being turned away. These new initiatives are in their infancy and it is still debatable whether this will have a positive affect. Besides the issues with education, a bigger and more severe problem is contributing to the nursing shortage.
To compensate for certain staffing shortages, hospitals have made major budget cuts which in turn makes them make adjustments in patient care. Never is this good thing. Often times nurses are told to keep the amount of time with patients to a minimum, which leads to the obvious, poor patient care. There are nursing organizations trying to implement laws in which the ratio of nurse to patient are increased to ensure there are enough nurses to provide the quality care patients expect.
These are just a couple important factors to this ever growing nursing shortage and without governments and educational institutions taking action, things will only get worse.