• Uncategorized

Shortage of Nurses and the Healthcare System


Shortageof Nurses and the Healthcare System

Shortage of nursing professionals in countries like the United Stateshas attracted the attention of both researchers and healthcareinstitutions. In the U.S, Registered Nurses (RNs) form the largestshare of the healthcare professionals (Huston,2014). However, the current and projected shortages have posedthreats to the healthcare sector.

Causesof the Shortages

The shortage is majorly attributed to the increased demand fornursing services. For instance, as a result of a rise in the agingpopulation, the services are on high demand in excess of theavailable supply (Peterson, 2004). Secondly, changes in social andemployment patterns have led to specialization in other careeroptions. Post 1950 women now have a wide variety of career optionsand this gradually diminishes the number of registered nurses.Thirdly, there have been instances of scaling down in major healthinstitutions due to policy changes. In the U.S, for instance, healthinstitutions reduced staffing in response to the healthcare costpressure of the 1990s.

Impactsof the Shortage on the Healthcare System

Due to the shortages, available RNs have to work for long hours andperform beyond their areas of specialization. Consequently, chancesof errors and mistakes are higher (Anderson, 2007). In addition,patient care quality reduces due to disorganization of procedures inmost healthcare systems. Overcrowding is the other impact that arisesdue to shortages of nurses in healthcare institutions. Finally,chances of survival in critical care facilities are diminished due toreduced workforce.


To remedy the situation, increased funding to the nursing faculty hasbeen recommended. This is aimed at providing learning fee subsidiesto enroll more nursing students (Josseter, 2014). Secondly, there hasbeen a proposal to raise RN’s wages to attract more employees intothe field while reducing turnover rates. In the United States, therehas been a move to outsource nurses from other countries to meet theavailable demand. These measures, however, still run short of theminimum number of requires RNs.


The shortage of nurses in the healthcare systems is a real currentcrisis. In order to solve the problem, each cause has to becritically analyzed. Proposed solutions have to be directed toindividual causes of these shortages. Such proposals will lead topermanent solutions to the challenge.


Top of Form

Anderson, S. (2007). Deadly consequences: the hidden impact ofAmerica’s nursing shortage. New York: National Foundation forAmerican Policy. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nfap.com/pdf/0709deadlyconsequences.pdf

Huston, C. J. (2014).&nbspProfessionalissues in nursing: Challenges &amp opportunities.

Josseter, R.J. (2014). Nursing shortage fact sheet. AmericanAssociation of Colleges of Nursing. Retrieved fromhttp://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/NrsgShortageFS.pdf

Keenan, P. &amp Kennedy, J.F. (2013). The nursing workforceshortage: causes, consequences, proposed solutions. TheCommonwealth Fund, Issue Brief. Retrieved fromhttp://www.commonwealthfund.org/usr_doc/keenan_nursing.pdf

Peterson, C.A. (2004). The global impact of the nursing shortage.NSNA. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nsna.org/Portals/0/Skins/NSNA/pdf/Imprint_Feb04_Peterson.pdf