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It is vital to know that recruitment is not enough to assure an adequate supply of nurses. American Nurses Association has created a national initiative to deal with the issues that have galvanized the profession. Every hospital in the country must focus on both retention and recruitment as future cornerstones of an adequate workforce.
A nursing shortage as defined by IOM “is a condition whereby there are not enough of professional nurses to provide quality of care of patients” (as cited in Quinn, 2002, p.2). National studies and reports have identified factors that have led to a profound nursing shortage: the aging of society (Martin et al., 2001); an aging nursing workforce (Buerhaus, Staiger, and Auerbach, 2000a; Minnick 2000) a decline in nursing enrollments (American Association of Colleges or Nursing [AACN], 2001); this shortage is uniquely serious in that it is connected to both an increased demand for, and also a decreased supply of nurses.
There have been lots of articles published in both nursing journals and public newspaper across the country about the worldwide nursing shortage. First and foremost is aging of the nursing workforce. The average age of nurses in the United States is 46 (Buerhaus, 2000). There has also been declining enrollment in nursing programs over the past decade, as women are able to move into other science focused roles besides nursing (Buerhaus, 2000). Also, highschool counselors tend not to recommend nursing to male or female students interested in science.
The salary structures in many health care facilities keep experienced registered nurses at lower salaries compared to other industries. A decreasing emphasis on retention of working nurses by many hospitals has caused nurses to feel that their concerns about stress and patient safety are not being heard or acted upon. Poorly trained managers or brusque, unkind preceptors often leave staff nurses feeling undervalued and not appreciated.
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However, additional tasks in administrative and managerial functions are added to the RNs main job functions which lead to job discontent and poor service because of the shortage in the nursing workforce. Worst case scenario would be that people who go to ERs may be sent elsewhere because of the resource shortage (CNN Health, 2001).
Though there is an easing of the nursing shortage issue in the perception of RN’s, there still persists pessimism among the RN’s in terms of the quality of their work and environment and patient safety. Issues that were responsible for the shortage of nurses still persist and the shortage leads to poor quality in patient care.
In most cases, it is a profession that is taken for granted, with nurses having to work in conditions that can only be considered to be inhospitable for them. What many governments and policymakers fail to understand is the fact that nurses are a crucial factor in the healthcare system and that without them; this system will most likely collapse.
It will affect hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, and government agencies. These staggering numbers will impact the quality of care and further degrade the working conditions for the nursing industry. The solution lies in decreasing the demand, increasing the supply, and managing nursing skills effectively.
This results in stress and fatigue which is reflected in the quality of work. Although nurses are experts in multi tasking, the overload of work takes its toll. Being rushed for time, the nurse no longer has any time to give to the elderly and the suffering, thus depriving of their emotional support.
The author of the essay highlights the problem of the immediate shortage of qualified nurses and warns that the problem will worsen in the near future. The article explains that as the baby boom generation gets older, more of them will enter the health care system and continue to compound the problem.
The authors believe that there is a need to bridge the profession between new graduates and long-term nursing professionals. They point out that though there is has been a substantial increase in those pursuing nursing careers,
It is measured by nurse-to-population ratio, nurse-to-patient ratio or number of job openings against number of nurses available for recruitment. Nursing shortage is a common problem especially in developing
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