Nursing is a career that combines the art of caring for patients with definite knowledge and skills obtained through learning and occupation. Over the past years, the United States of America has faced a shortage of nurses. The inadequate number of skilled nurses has an adverse impact on the general patient outcome including mortality. Therefore, there is a need for the government to address this issue so that it does not impair the health and wellbeing of millions of people (Rubin, 2015).
Many factors have combined to produce a nursing shortage in the United States. Short staffing and restructuring are the factors that put off many nurses. They lack professional resources to fight back these threats. Most of the nurses are not ready to face their growing job burnout. The realization that they are not meeting their responsibilities toward their patients is demoralizing and makes them turn away from their occupation. Also, many hospital administrators, whenever faced with financial complications, tend to degrade the role of nurses. They increase the workload of registered nurses time after time (Allen, 2015). They also allow unlicensed assistive workers to perform critical nursing duties. Such issues make nurses feel insignificant to the extent of resigning.
Nursing also has been regarded as a profession for womankind. Today, many females in the United States are presented with a wider variety of career choices than in the past. Men are still not joining the nursing profession in significant numbers. The nursing workforce is also aging, and few new nurses are being trained to replace them. Insufficient financial support has also hindered efforts to train enough numbers of new nurses, and the working nurses are underpaid. Some nursing schools have therefore turned down or waitlisted many competent candidates (Carthon, Nguyen, Pancir, & Chittams, 2015).
The nursing shortage comes along with some consequences. The available nurses suffer from heavy workloads. They work long hours to meet the demands. The nurses suffering from such working conditions are prone to mistakes and medical errors. Therefore, the quality of services offered to the patient is diminished and the number of readmissions increases which only builds up the daily workload of the nurses (Aydin, Donaldson, Stotts, Fridman, & Brown, 2015). The mortality rate also tends to rise as some patients receive the wrong diagnosis while some are left unattended. The labor force also may reduce affecting the country’s productivity and general outcome.
The nurse shortage is a threat to healthcare. Therefore, there is a need to lay down strategies to solve the problem accordingly. Career progression inventiveness needs to be developed to move nursing graduates through graduate studies more rapidly. Healthcare employers need to be supported to create and sustain staff development programs and lifelong learning for continued competence (DesRoches, Buerhaus, Dittus & Donelan, 2015). Counselors and youth organizations should be established in high schools to recruit more young and diverse population into nursing. In work environments, strategies to retain experienced nurses should be put in place. They should enjoy the appropriate salary and benefits programs. Those who serve as mentors to the new workforce should also be rewarded. Decision-makers in hospitals should redesign work to enable the aging workforce to remain in direct care roles (Seldomridge, 2015).
In conclusion, to inspire growth and deployment of the nursing staff with skills suitable for a healthcare organization, the public, administrators, and professionals should take part in the ongoing long-term workforce planning. This is regardless of the perceived or real pressures related to the short-term demand for nursing services (Allen, 2015). Without agencies to enforce these changes, the nation is in danger of facing serious failures in the healthcare system. Strategies to recruit and retain are costly but notwithstanding must be implemented. Some measures must be imposed to ensure that these efforts will be accompanied by specific strategies to overcome workforce concerns acknowledging the long-term obligation to a career in nursing.