Issues Facing The Nurses And Nursing Profession

By Karen P Williams

Nurses are one of the most in-demand health care practitioners in the world. Studies show that the nursing profession exceeds the limit of the human mind and body. For this reason, it is not surprising that the profession is faced with various problems that seem to have little or no solution. Medical facilities and hospitals are taking this information under serious consideration; making reforms in the practices and distribution of work load to properly address the issues.

Nurse shortage

There are approximately 2.8 million registered nurses in the United States alone and yet, it is faced with shortage problems. In the US, 30 states are suffering due to shortage problems based on a study that was conducted. Very big percentage of health care facilities lacks the medical staff to provide basic health care. As a result, health agencies refuse new admissions out of their will. The shortage in nurses has been a problem since the Second World War but it has only been in the recent years that it started to affect the quality of the healthcare services in significant ways.

Reasons for nurse shortage


One of the major reasons for the shortage is the job dissatisfaction. Most nurses are stressed out because of the frequent changes in the schedule, work overloads, shifting work schedules, and the lack of appreciation by superiors and colleagues. The steep population growth demands an increase in the health care services.

Aging in the nursing workforce is a big contributing factor to the problem. The people entering the profession are getting fewer and fewer, causing the average age of nurses to rise. Many experienced nurses are nearing or reaching the age of retirement and there are not enough new nurses for replacement.

In the United States–and other developed countries– the number of students enrolling and graduating from Nursing is on a continuous decline. This is also due to the fact that the number of nursing educators is dropping; causing universities and colleges to refuse admission.

Globalization provided career opportunities for both men and especially women. As a result, the women of today seek out employment in other fields besides nursing. People are weighing their options in search of a career that provides a worthy compensation and the opportunity to enhance the quality of life. Many are seeking careers in the field of medicine, law, and the corporate world that offers lucrative, competitive and attractive compensations.

Impact of nurse shortage

The shortage affects both the developing and developed countries. The direct effects on nurses include the increased work load for nurses. Nurses handle more patients than they are capable of therefore increasing the risk of human errors due to lack of focus. Turnover rates are increasing as well as the risk of the spread of diseases and infection to the patients and staff. Shortage also increases the risk of work related injuries and deaths.

The perception that nurses work with unsafe working conditions eventually leads to more shortage that affects local and national recruitment efforts. Most importantly, the increased amount of work increases the level of stress for nurses and in turn increases chances of seeking psychiatric help.

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