Nursing Shortage … It’s Happening Now!
There are more than 3-million nurses in the United States and approximately one-third, about 1-million, are “baby boomers” who are expected to retire soon.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1.2-million job openings for nurses by 2020 because of growth and the need for replacements. Right now, hospitals are concerned and I have noticed more recruitment outreach strategies such as job fairs, working with students and providing students with benefits such as paying for school if they work for the hospital upon graduation.
What does that mean? That means hospitals will continue to be short staffed and that there will be an influx of new nurses who will have neither the experience nor the nursing judgment of their more seasoned peers to keep patients safe. While I whole-heartedly support new nurses, they do need mentors until they can develop their “nursing legs.”
According to Alexandra Robbins, an author on nursing issues, “The more patients assigned to a nurse, the higher the patient’s risk of death, infections, complications, falls, failure-to-rescue rates and readmission to the hospital — and the longer their hospital stay.”
In response to the impending shortage, the Bureau of Labor Statistics now lists nursing as a top occupation for growth through 2021. My concern is that with these new nurses, it is important for us to mentor them, take them under our wings and teach them everything we know. Otherwise, we are not going to have the staffing and help we need. We need to stop bullying these new nurses.
This is a critical time in our profession and we need to do everything we can to support new nurses while still attracting to our profession those who have a calling to be a nurse.
What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear your comments below.