Nursing Shortage Leading In A Complex Evolving Environment Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Nursing Type: Essay Paper: #27338095 Related Topics: Healthcare, Nursing, Leadership, Workforce
Excerpt from Essay :

Leading in a Complex, Evolving Environment


Nurse leaders of today face a wide range of challenges in the execution of their mandate. It is important to note, from the onset, that to be able to effectively address some these challenges, today’s nurse leaders ought to have a unique set of skills and capabilities that enable then to navigate the said challenges so as to ensure that patient care is not adversely affected. This text concerns itself with nursing shortage as one of the main challenges in care delivery facing nursing leadership today. In so doing, it will not only assess the impact nursing shortage has on patient care, but also some of the options that ought to be taken into consideration in seeking to rein in the challenge.


Throughout history, the United States has had periods of nursing shortages as well as surpluses – with this cyclical nature of nurse staffing impacting the healthcare system in various formats. Currently, the U.S. is in a state of what could arguably be referred to as serious nursing shortage. As a matter of fact, in the words of Masters (2018), at present, “the nursing shortage is real; the long-term pipeline numbers are alarming” (187). With regard to the said long-term pipeline numbers, it is important to note that as Haddad and Toney-Butler (2018) point out, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that “estimates of upwards of one million additional nurses will be needed by 2020.” There are no guarantees that this is a target that can be met. This is more so the case given that as Haddad and Toney-Butler (2018) further observe, through 2020, it is expected that available registered nurse jobs will vastly outnumber available jobs for any other profession. With this in mind, and given the current state of affairs, the relevance of formulating and implementing viable strategies to address the concern of nursing shortage cannot be overstated. Seo and Spetz (2013) are of the opinion that “during periods of nursing shortage, hospital managers have difficulty recruiting and retaining nurses…” (219). This could adversely impact the delivery...


Some of the more prominent ones in this case include an aging population, an aging workforce, and nurse burnout (Haddad and Toney-Butler, 2018). When it comes to an aging population, the authors are of the opinion that on the whole, we have an aging population. More specifically, the baby boomer generation is being ushered into an age that demands enhanced medical attention. According to Grant (as cited in Haddad and Toney-Butler, 2018), “currently, the United States has the highest number of Americans over the age of 65 than any other time in history.” With this in mind, there is bound to be an increased need for medical and health services by this population – effectively straining the available healthcare workforce. Next, when it comes to an aging workforce, it is important to note that we also have an aging nursing workforce with registered nurses over the age of 50 numbering close to a million. According to Grant (as cited in Haddad and Toney-Butler, 2018), this effectively means that we have a third of the current workforce facing retirement. The impact has already started being felt at nurse faculty which according to Cooley and DeGagne (as cited in Haddad and Toney-Butler, 2018) “is experiencing a shortage, and this leads to enrollment limitations, limiting the number of nurses that a nursing school can generate.” Lastly, with regard to nurse burnout, it should be noted that there are nurses who come to the realization that the profession is not their calling upon graduating and working for a few months – after which as a consequences of the challenges of the profession, they suffer burnout and exit the profession (Haddad and Toney-Butler, 2018).

Nurse shortage, as it has been pointed out elsewhere in this text, does adversely affect the delivery of care. When the demand for healthcare services cannot be sufficiently met as a result of inadequate staffing, patients are likely to be turned away from healthcare facilities. Even when attended to (or admitted), the delivery of quality care is likely to be compromised by the fact that the available nurses are not only overscheduled but also overworked. As a matter of fact, as…

Sources Used in Documents:


Cherry, B. & Jacob, S.R. (2018). Contemporary Nursing: Issues, Trends, & Management (8th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Haddad, L.M. & Toney-Butler, T.J. (2018). Nursing, Shortage. Retrieved from

Masters, K. (2018). Role Development Professional Nursing Practice (5th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Seo, S. & Spetz, J. (2013). Demand for Temporary Agency Nurses and Nursing Shortages. INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care, 50(3), 216-228.

Stanley, D. (Ed.). (2016). Clinical Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare: Values into Action (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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