10 Main Reasons For Nursing Shortage Problems In Hospitals

10 Main Reasons For Nursing Shortage Problems In HospitalsThe current nursing shortage in the United States is becoming more of a certainty. There are many reasons for there being far fewer nurses available for the large number of patients that all major hospitals see every day.

1. Aging RN Workforce

Owing to the fact that fewer young people enter the nursing profession, the average age of nurses is on the rise. Currently the average age of a Registered Nurse is 45.2. However, based on a recent Government Accounting Office report, 40 percent of all Registered Nurses will be more than 50 years old by 2010. As experienced nurses retire or approach retirement age, there simply aren’t enough new young nurses of the same quality to replace them.

2.Baby Boomers Approach Retirement

One of the main reasons discussed for the nursing shortage is the aging of the people born in the years after the Second World War. Over seventy million children were born in the years since the 1940s. Most of these people are getting into their senior years now and are either retired or heading into their retirement years. These baby boomers are retiring in large numbers and many of them need health care as they age from qualified health professionals. This is one reason why the nursing shortage has multiplied enormously the last few years.

3.Hiring Medical Assistants Instead Of Nurses

The overwhelming lack of knowledge in society is another reason for nursing shortage. People generally don’t realize how nurses can help them until they face health emergencies themselves. There’s a widespread notion among patients that nurses are only able to take vital signs or administer shots. We all know that there’s much more to the story than that!

This ignorance is widespread and has actually led to many hospitals and doctors hiring medical assistants, nursing assistants and medical professionals that are definitely less qualified than nurses. While hospitals can get away paying much less to these nursing substitutes than they would to registered nurses, the skill sets differ, as do the expertise levels. Hospitals tend to prioritize money over other concerns, which is why many medical facilities choose to cut their costs by hiring nursing substitutes.

Hospitals are forced to cut costs by not hiring nurses in the facility, as insurance companies do not want to pay more than they have to for a medical appointment. This encourages lesser-trained medical staff to substitute the need for nurses. As a direct result of this phenomenon, hospitals are generally phasing out nurses. This leads to overworking and overburdening the ones that do remain on staff. Nurses are invaluable in some settings owing to their special skill sets and education, but they are also overworked and under-supported owing to all these reasons. The cycle continues with nurses feeling strained and wanting to quit their jobs in order, which contributes to shortage. Again, fewer young people opt for nursing courses, taking up shorter, specific medical assistant courses instead, which contributes to shortage as well.

4.Women Have Many Alternative Careers To Consider

Women who used to look at nursing as a great career option have given to a generation of women who find that there’s a greater range of careers available to them, unlike in the past. This means not many women seem interested in taking nursing up as a career. Also, many women feel that the nursing career stereotypes women and this limits their career opportunities elsewhere. Also, modern women are very savvy and can see that nurses are not paid enough for the work they’re forced to do.

5.The Nursing Career Has Lost Its Appeal Among The Youth

Young people evaluate future careers based on potential earnings, challenges and a good work-life balance. The horror stories associated with dealing with overburdened doctors, residents, surgeons, demanding patients, working double shifts, being underpaid and under-appreciated are part of the halo that surrounds nursing. Since health care as a rule is being stretched to its limits, it’s small wonder that young people are avoiding the career path altogether.

6.Insufficiently Trained Nurses

Younger nurses who enter the field have to go through several levels of training. With a decrease in quality trainers, the training that these younger nurses go through is not as good as the training that previous nurses received. As such, the younger nurses are not always the best choice for care settings. Even if a hospital has the correct number of nurses in their roster, young and incorrectly trained nurses may not be able to provide the care that is expected of them. So there’s a perpetual nursing shortage even when there are enough nurses in some hospitals.

7.Nurses Are Not Willing To Work In Critical Care Scenarios

To combat the nursing shortage, many hospitals and healthcare centers offer incentives to people who are willing to go through the training and sign a contract with the hospital. Nurses who are willing to sign contracts are offered sign on bonuses and other temptations. This is also contributing to the problem of nursing shortage.
With the highly competitive market and its demand for nurses being at an all time high, nurses look for the best places to work. They are not attracted to positions that are crucial to patient care. Many are especially attracted to less stressful environments where they can earn decent salaries, not be overworked and have time for their families as well. While this is good for the nurses’ career, departments such as oncology and emergent care do need dedicated nurse and this attitude makes them suffer from severe nursing shortage.

8.There Are Not Enough Nursing Trainers

There’s a lack of qualified, experienced nursing trainers to train young minds in the art and science of nursing. As a result, even if many young people apply for nursing courses, institutes can only enroll as many students as they can manage to train. The absence of quality trainers contributes greatly to nursing shortage. Students who really want to get into nursing are then forced to sit in classes with a very high trainer-student ratio, and as a result, inadequately trained nurses are let out into the market.

9.Nurses Face Poor Working Conditions

One major contributing factor to a high nursing turnover and the lack of interest in young people to take up nursing is the well-known poor working conditions for nurses. Nurses are expected to work long shifts, sometimes double shifts, and are expected to handle more patients than is ethical. Nurses are overworked in almost every major hospital. Added to this is the lack of proper facilities, training, amenities, benefits and considerations for nurses. The nursing career does not seem very attractive given all these aspects.

10.Nursing Jobs Experience Slower Growth

Approximately 60 percent of all nursing jobs are found in hospitals. However, owing to administrative cost cutting, rapid growth of outpatient services and increased workload for nurses, hospital nursing jobs will experience slower than average growth. This is a negative point for those looking to make their career in nursing. Fewer people are expressing interest to join nursing, while great numbers of existing nurses choose to quit their jobs due to the stresses. Slow growth options accompanied by negative work conditions and low salaries ensure that young people opt for nursing only if they feel a strong call for the vocation.

Previous post:

Next post: