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The Big Nursing Issue – Upcoming Nurse Shortage

Five years from now, we won’t have enough nurses to provide basic care. This is the biggest nursing issue. We are about to enter a nursing shortage twice as bad as in any fifty years. The systems we have to train and employ nurses will not be able to overcome the lack of supply. Current projections provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipate that by 2022 we will need 3.23 million nurses. We will only have 2.18 million. This discrepancy has developed for three major reasons.

Nursing Issue Part 1 – A Lack of Nurse Educators 

Unlike many professions, nurse education is not provided in large lecture halls. Much of the training nurses receives is hands-on physical skills. Practicing these skills in hospitals requires that nursing schools maintain strict ratios of students-to-preceptor. This ensures that patients receive safe care from students. Nursing faculty often experience higher workloads and less pay than an advance practice nurse. To solve the nursing shortage, we must first address the nurse faculty shortage.

Nursing Issue Part 2 – A Significant Percentage of Nurses are Reaching Retirement Age

Not only does our country need more nurses, we will actually have fewer nurses (2.7million) than we had in 2012. In 1980, 54% of nurses were under the age of 40. This figure has plummeted. In 2012, only 29.5% of nurses were under the age of 40. This uneven distribution was initially caused by an influx in nurse training in WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Nursing is a physically and emotionally draining profession. It is unrealistic to expect nurses to delay their hard earned retirement.

Nursing Issue Part 3 – The Aging Baby Boomer Generation Will Create a High Demand for Nursing Services

The biggest generation in our countries history is aging. Baby boomer will soon create a high demand for chronic healthcare services. Approximately 75million Americans will be leading the charge into retirement! On top of that, baby boomers have a reputation to indulge. To further complicate the issue, healthcare technology is expanding. Technology now exists to support every body system. This means that people can almost choose how long they want to live.

These factors are irreversible. The only thing we can do is support nurses to the best of our ability. Preventing nurse burnout must be a top priority. We need to help nurses find fulfilling positions so that they can continue to provide compassionate care.


2 Responses to “The Big Nursing Issue – Upcoming Nurse Shortage

  • Superb post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more
    on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate
    a little bit more. Thank you!

    • Administrator
      2 years ago

      Thank you for reaching out! We would be happy to continue our writing on the subject.

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