Nursing Shortage Essay Outline


Outline Template: Essay on the Nursing Shortage

I. Introduction to the topic

A. Facts about the nursing shortage

1. Global statistics

2. Domestic statistics

B. Impacts on patient care and quality of care

C. Thesis: Based on what the evidence suggests, the causes of and solutions to the nursing shortage.

II. First body paragraph related to the nursing shortage

A. Causes of the shortage.

1. Aging population

2. State of nursing education

3. Working conditions

B. Evidence to support statements

III. Second body paragraph

A. What is being done about the nursing shortage.

1. Institution policies

2. State policies

3. Federal policies

B. Barriers to change

1. Complexity of problem

2. Not all areas experience shortage

3. Cost and public policy issues

IV. Third body paragraph

A. Solutions to the problem

1. Public policy

2. Education/higher education

B. Importance for improving patient outcomes

V. Conclusion

A. Clearly, the nursing shortage is a problem (restate the thesis)

B. Causes and effects of the nursing shortage

C. Call to action, ie. expanding options for nurse education and improving working conditions.

Example Outline: Essay on the Nursing Shortage

I. Nursing is one of the world’s fastest growing professions; then how can there be a nursing shortage? (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2019).

A. Institutional variables

1. Leadership and organizational culture

2. Working conditions and burnout

B. Population variables

1. Aging population

2. Improving healthcare means people live longer

C. Effects of shortage

1. Poor quality of care

2. Inequitable access to healthcare

D. Thesis: To improve quality of care worldwide, the working conditions for nurses need to change, nurses need to be more empowered to make decisions, and technology needs to be implemented more effectively.

II. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2019), the nursing shortage is only projected to grow within the next decade.

A. Aging Baby Boomers require more nurses, but there are not yet enough to meet demands.

B. Not all areas experience a nursing shortage.

III. The effects of the nursing shortage include medical errors and poorer outcomes for all patients.

A. Legal and ethical issues arise when addressing the needs of nurses versus the needs of patients.

B. The nursing shortage can exacerbate healthcare disparities.

IV. To respond effectively to the nursing shortage requires changes in nursing education, in healthcare administration and organizational culture, and also in improving healthcare technology.

A. Expanding nurse education is the first step to reducing the global nursing shortage.

B. Nurses need incentives to work, which requires radical transformations to the working conditions to prevent burnout and employee turnover.

C. Technology such as artificial intelligence and tele-medicine will help mitigate the crisis.

V. Conclusion: Increasing the number and quality of nursing education programs, actively recruiting personnel to work in healthcare, and shifting to artificial intelligence systems for healthcare procedures when possible will all help alleviate the nursing shortage.

A. Public policy still does need to reflect the changing needs of the population.

B. The shortage should be addressed using data and metrics.

C. Advanced technologies will ultimately help improve patient outcomes.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2019). Nursing shortage. Retrieved from:

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