Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

The Nursing Shortage

I have written on this topic frequently because the nursing shortage is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurse is among the top occupations for growth through the year 2022.  The field is expected to grow 19% between now and then.

A 2013 survey conducted by The National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the Forum for State Nursing Workforce Centers found that 55% of the R.N. workforce is age 50 or older.

Although the needs of nursing are growing, two nursing schools in our State of Indiana have closed recently.  In addition, Purdue University is expected to receive double the nursing students.  Every year they must turn away applicants.  In 2013, more than 2,000 applicants were turned away because they did not have enough spots in the program to accommodate them.

The main problem is that it is difficult to find qualified nursing instructors.  This will be an emerging field and, depending on the school, you may be required to have a Masters or even a Doctorate to teach.

My concern is: getting nurses into the work force is one thing, but keeping them in the work force is another.  Mechanisms must be put in place to empower nurses to keep them in the work force.  Nurses are not asking for more money, although that would be great, but they are more interested in the non-economic benefits such as being treated with respect, being valued, being able to speak their minds and having reasonable and fair assignments and being supported after a difficult shift.  (See http://www.empowerednurses.org/who-we-are/bill-of-rights/)

I am hoping that facilities will understand the need to retain the nurses that they have and treat them with respect and care so that they stay in the work place.

What are your thoughts about the nursing short shortage? How can hospitals or health systems keep nurses?  I would love for you to leave your comments below.

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