Nursing Shortage Review On Nurses Shortage The Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Health - Nursing Type: Essay Paper: #86492519 Related Topics: Nursing, Nurse To Patient Ratio, Nursing Career, Nursing Research
Excerpt from Essay :

Nursing Shortage

Review On Nurses Shortage

The supply of professional nurses relative to the increase in demand for their services has been on a general decline over the years. As a career choice, nursing has been facing perennial shortage of professionals. Most healthcare organizations will affirm that their daunting tasks were recruiting fresh nurses and retaining the ones already in practice. The 2008 projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the demand for professional nurses would increase from the then two million to three million, which represents sixty percent increment. In ideal situations, the number of those who have enrolled in nursing will be sufficient to supply the rise in their number. Nevertheless, this would not be the case if nothing were done to salvage the worrying trend of most students not graduating or resorting to other careers. According to Benjamin Isgur of PWHC Health and Research Institute, of the 320,000 who enrolled in nursing college only 78,000 finally graduated in 2008. Furthermore, only twenty-three percent of graduates who stick to their profession while the other fifty percent quit and pursue other careers. Worsening the challenge of the nursing shortage is the increasing number of aged nurses and their expected retirement (Kovner, 2009).

Problem statement

Absence of adequate number of professional nurses is likely to compromise on the quality of care that patients receive. In addition, the nurses may end up being overwhelmed and distressed with the workload leading to job dissatisfaction. Broader disparity in patient-to-nurse ratios is believed to be the greatest cause of job burnout and frustration, which eventually causes increased rates of staff turnover. Those healthcare facilities with understaffed nurse workforce have been found to contribute greatly as far as negative care outcomes are concerned. However, it has been established that facilities with low rates of nurse turnover have, for instance, the least rates of risk-adjusted mortality. In addition, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) conducted a research that proved a direct correlation between shortages of professional nurses, the increased workload, and the decline in the quality of care that patients receive.

In light of United Nation's Millennium Development goals, the shortage stands out as one of the major impediments to the attainment of these objectives. Among these development goals are those that touch on health care and include a reduction in child mortality, improving maternal fitness, and fight HIV / AIDS, malaria and other serious diseases (Buerhaus, Staiger, & Auerbach, 2009).

Search Strategy

In this paper, electronic searches have been used to find articles related to nursing shortage. While the search was random, the key databases that were used include CINAHL, Pubmed, Purdue, EMBASE and Cochrane library. The search phrases were nurse shortage, causes of nurse shortage, impact of nurse shortage, and solution to nurse shortage. On this particular research, a sum of 10 articles and books, mostly those published within the last 5 years, were gathered from the search result. This research materials formed the basis of this literature review.

Revision of Search Strategy

Whereas the phrases described above were crucial in providing necessary resources, most of the articles and books gathered were quite general in the discussion of the topic. Therefore, to improve the quality of search result, more specific terms and phrases were utilized. For example, instead of simply searching for nurse shortage, specific phrases search as impact of nurse shortage or causes of nurse shortage were used.

Literature Review

The nursing shortage is a global problem that affects the U.S. And other nations around the world. Canadian nurses, for instance, are faced by similar workforce deficiency, complain of job burnout, and stress (McIntyre & McDonald, 2014). On a global scale, nurses are an indispensable component of the health care system and account for the greatest percentage of health care professionals. The year 2020 certainly sends jitter among caregivers in the U.S.A. As it is the year where the many nurses are expected to retire from public service. This implies that the remaining workforce would be overstretched beyond their limit: something must be done earnestly to salvage the situation. Blakeley and Ribeiro (2008) assert that the factors affecting to a nurse's choice of premature retirement include the desire to relieve workload and freedom from tight schedules.

In 2000, the approximated number of registered nurses in the U.S. stood at about two million against an overall demand of two million. This represents a six percent shortage, which is equivalent to one hundred thousand nurses. Surprisingly, instead of this gap closing up, it widened uncontrollably over the last couple of years. For example, in 2008, the number of registered nurses was two and a half million. However, projections show that there will be a shortage of close to one million nurses equating to about thirty percent as of...


The already delicate health care base is in jeopardy because of ineffective recruitment and retention programs, insufficient nurse educators, and ever growing number of the aged population that require care (Newman, 2013).

Besides the challenges experienced by indurate nurses, job dissatisfaction and disillusionment are always reported as significant contributors to the high rate of new nurses quitting the profession. As for the case of disillusionment, it is not just simplistic to consider nursing entirely in regards to personal commitment. It goes far beyond to other aspects such as knowledge of various illness, proper medication and treatment, managerial skills, strong personal attributes and emotional stability. It is critical to show an accurate professional brand in any career, but this is more so in the case of professional nursing. If individual are expected to portray affective commitment for their work, then job satisfaction plays a significant role (Denman, 2008).

Causes of the Nursing Shortage

Concisely, the following are attributed as major reasons as to why there is a general global decline in the number of registered professional nurses:

Career Options: advancements of technology and the surfacing of new career lines entice more people to shun away from traditional careers such as nursing. Nowadays, most young women and men opt to pursue careers in law, engineering, and business management. They are lucrative and derive more job satisfaction. Nursing is an involving profession, but with limited job satisfaction.

Wage Disparity: the broad discrepancy between the compensation nurses receive and those of other health care professionals are considerably shocking. In fact, nurses are mostly considered as the bottom line staffers relative to doctors. Ironically, they receive less compensation and yet they are the ones spending much of their time with the patients performing most of the work.

The Nursing School Dilemma: of the high proportion of students who enroll for courses in nursing, just a handful of them end up graduating. As already stated in the introduction, less than a third of the 320,000 graduates in 2008 enrolled in nursing college in 2008. This dilemma has been linked to several factors, including heavily theoretical class work, insufficient nurse trainers, and little motivation in the learning process (Buerhaus, Staiger, & Auerbach, 2009).

Old Age

The standard age of registered nurses is slowly going up. This implies that the high number of nurses who joined the profession during the period of nurse boom in the 1970s will soon be retiring from the profession. It is expected that 2020 is the year that the highest number of nurses will hang their boots thus aggravating the shortage even further.

Leaving the Profession

Inadequate staffing has always been the genesis of stress, which often mars their job performance and forces some to abandon the profession. As the economy grows, other opportunities come into play and many people already in the nursing profession encounter difficulties and stresses related to their practice. Both women and men are considering various career options and settling for those that will guarantee them worthy compensation and boost the quality of their life (Denman, 2008).

Impact of the Nursing Shortage on the Health Care System and Patient Care

Patient Safety

Studies have already established a strong and a direct correlation between the number of nurses in a healthcare facility and the quality of care that patients receive. According to American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2009) from their 2007 metanalysis, "the deficiency of registered nurses, coupled with increased workload, posed a significant risk to the quality of care." On the other hand, minimizing the nurse-to-patient ratios resulted in reduced hospital-mortality and a reduced length of stay but increased the number of successful patient rescue operations.


Nurse shortage implies that the present few are compelled to be at the workplace for longer hours to cover up the problem. This creates instances job burnouts and dissatisfaction. In the nursing profession, most of them report this challenge, which, they further assert, affects them negatively on their personal health. Reports relating to dynamics in the labor industry have constantly indicated that nursed are among the most stressed, overworked, and sickly professionals, with about eight percent of the workforce failing to turn up for their duties on reasons related to their health status (Cummings…

Sources Used in Documents:


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2009, September, 28). Nursing Shortage Fact Sheet. USA: AACN.

Buerhaus, P.I., Staiger, D., & Auerbach, D.I. (2009). The future of the nursing workforce in the United States: Data, trends, and implications. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Blakeley, J., & Ribeiro, V. (2008). Early Retirement among Registered Nurses: Contributing Factors. Journal of Nursing Management, 16(1), 29 -- 37

Cummings, G., et al. (2008). The Relationship between Nursing Leadership and Nurses' Job Satisfaction in Canadian Oncology Work Environments. Journal of Nursing Management, 16(5), 508 -- 518.

Cite this Document:

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