Registered nursing is one of the top five most in-demand jobs in the United States workforce, according to LinkedIn. As the demand for health care grows, the United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast: A Revisit predicts a shortage of registered nurses from now through 2030, mostly concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest regions.
Nurse Staffing Faces Deficit
Currently, the United States’ population of individuals over the age of 65 is higher than ever before in its history. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau projects the number of senior citizens to reach more than 80 million by the year 2030.
What this means is two-fold: the demand for care will continue to rise, and the number of baby boomer nursing professionals will continue to shrink, as a large population of the nursing workforce sets out towards retirement. According to Medical Care, an American Public Health Association journal, it is predicted that over one million RNs will retire from the workforce between now and the next eight years.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN),
a 5.1% enrollment increase in entry-level baccalaureate programs in nursing occurred in 2019, however the increase was not sufficient to meet the projected demand for nursing services, including the need for more nurse faculty, researchers, and primary care providers.” (1)
Not only does this affect hospitals and health care organizations at large, it impacts patients as risks for medical errors and compromised quality of care are growing concerns. Additionally, as fewer nursing professionals are available, the time spent with patients in the exam room is expected to decrease, as wait times to be seen increase.
How to Address the Nursing Shortage
Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for such an issue. However, there are initiatives that can be taken to help mitigate the issue at hand.
- Education – promoting flexible and affordable programs that incentivize students to enroll in and complete an RN or BSN degree.
- Flexible work arrangements – providing a culture that attracts nurses to remain committed to their work. These may include offering reduced work schedules for nurses nearing retirement age, providing childcare assistance, promoting positive mental health through wellness workshops, and offering employee assistance programs.
- Burnout prevention – supporting nurses by providing opportunities for continuing education and professional development, internal promotion, and on-site partnerships with nursing educational platforms.
- Activism & encouragement – advocacy programs and initiatives such as the Campaign for Nursing’s Future empower nurses and provide tools to improve overall health care practices.
The Future of Nursing
Nursing is without a doubt one of the most crucial professions in health care. As the World Health Organization reports that the world may be short 5.7 million nurses by 2030, it is hoped that nurses can potentially improve this outlook by taking advantage of the many prospective opportunities that may arise out of the shortage. Thankfully, organizations such as the AACN are working with schools, policy makers, nursing organizations, and the media to bring attention to and address the shortage.
The current nursing shortage is the largest and most complex yet. Ending it will require efforts that include recruiting a multitude of new nurses and acknowledging the needed improvement within hospitals, schools, and health care organizations worldwide.
Learn More About Advanced Care Hospitalists (ACH)
ACH is a Lakeland-based hospitalist group providing comprehensive patient care in community hospitals across Central Florida. Our providers are highly skilled, board-certified internal medicine specialists who are available around-the-clock to meet the care needs of patients from hospital admission through discharge. Post-discharge from the hospital, we continue overseeing patient care for 30 days.
We’ve found that continued care coordination ensures more accurate medication reconciliation, improved compliance with discharge plans, better scheduling of follow-up visits, and fewer hospital readmissions. Our providers do everything in their power to make sure our patients receive the compassionate and comprehensive care they need to promote healing and prevent a second hospital admission.
For more information about our services and our practice, please contact Advanced Care Hospitalists at 863-816-5884 or fill out a contact form online.
- Rosseter, Robert. Fact Sheet: Nursing Shortage. American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 1-6. 2020. https://www.aacnnursing.org/news-information/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage#:~:text=Though%20AACN%20reported%20a%205.1,researchers%2C%20and%20primary%20care%20providers