In this essay, an attempt is made to discuss regarding the causes of nursing shortage in the US and few recommendations are suggested in order to overcome the problems related to nursing shortage.
An important noticeable trend in health services management is the shortage of nurses in the present context and probably this shortage would become a serious problem in the future when there is need for large number of nurses.
One can find various causes for this nursing shortage. In the present days of expanding educational sector and employment market, people have more options to choose as their career. Hence the people tend to compare the various opportunities and they would choose only those jobs which they would enjoy. Consequently, there has been drastic reduction in the number of students who enrolled in the nursing courses.
Secondly, there has been conflict between personal life and professional life. In the present context, people do not want to sacrifice their personal life for the sake of professional life as nursing jobs implies that the nurses need to dedicate their life time to their jobs. One finds that nurses do not encourage their children to take nursing as their career which is not the case with other professionals such as doctors, lawyers, etc.
This also leads to reduction in the number of people who opt for nursing profession. Thirdly, the youth prefer to have a stress less life and in order to achieve this objective they opt for the independent and freelance jobs which are provided by the healthcare management institutions.
In addition to this, one finds that there is negative picture created in the press regarding the nurses as one reads about the complaints against nurses, and, strikes of the nurses for higher wages. These newspaper articles and reader’s opinions also have shaped the mindset of the people towards the nursing profession. All these factors are responsible for the shortage of nurses in USA. (Nevidjon and Erickson, 2001)
Few suggestions have been discussed by the scholars in order to overcome the problem of the nursing shortage. One important solution that can be suggested is that there should be increase in the wages, increments and other allowances to the nurses and attempt should be made to attract nursing professionals from other countries such as Canada, Caribbean countries, India, Philippines and so on. Increase in the wages would lead to greater investment in the payment of salaries. However, this action would improve the job satisfaction of the nurses.
The increase in the number of nursing staff would result in improving the quality of health care. Secondly, the government should initiate legislations to protect the rights and freedom of the nurses. For instance, the government can specify the minimum staffing ratios which would enhance the job satisfaction of the nurses and this would not only attract new entrants, but also helps in retaining the earlier ones.
Thirdly, both the government and private health care institutions can invest in the advertisement campaign to include more number of people to the nursing institutes.
Specifically this advertisement campaign may address the minority communities in USA. Those people who had left the nursing profession should be encouraged to rejoin the workforce. These are both short term and long term measures which would benefit the patients who need better care from the medical professionals.
All these programs and actions include costs in the form of initial investment. For instance Johnson & Johnson invested $20 million in the advertisement campaign. The government also has increased the increased the investment in the nursing institutions. In spite of these costs, there are huge benefits leading to the improvement in the health standards of the people of USA. (Gerson and Oliver, 2005)
Gerson, Jason., and Oliver, Thomas. (2005). “Addressing the Nursing Shortage”, retrieved online on 13-10-2005 from http://www.kaiseredu.org/index.asp (last updated August 2005)
Nevidjon, B., and Erickson, J. (2001). “The Nursing Shortage: Solutions for the Short and Long Term”, Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 6:1, retrieved online on 13-10-2005 from http://www.nursingworld.org/ojin/topic14/tpc14_4.htm