Sample Research Paper on The Shortage of Nurses
The shortage of nurses is the most common practical problem nurses across the U.S face. The shortage of nurses has led to the availability of more job opportunities without enough staff to fill them. This has compromised the care patients receive because nurses are always in a hurry to complete their workload. The shortage of nurses has also made nurses perform mandatory overtimes, experience fatigue, which increases their chances of making mistakes and being injured (Spring Arbor University para. 5-6).
Experts have observed that the current shortage of nurses will worsen as Baby Boomers continue to age. Statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013 revealed that the demand for registered nurses would continue to grow up to 2022. On the contrary, statistics by the U.S registered nurse workforce released in 2012 projected that the shortage of registered nurses will continue to affect the entire country up to 2030.
One of the key factors that have contributed to the shortage of nurses is that the enrolment in nursing schools is not growing faster enough to meet the projected demand for nurses. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2013 reported that there was an increase by 2.6 percent in nursing enrolment (American Association of Colleges of Nursing para. 14-20). However, the increase was not sufficient to meet the growing demand for nursing services. The situation has been complicated further by the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the Patient Protection Act that have seen an increase in the number of patients accessing healthcare services (AACN para. 14-20).
A second factor that is contributing to the shortage of nurses is that a large proportion of nurses in the U.S are near retirement age. A survey done in 2013 found that 55 percent of nurse are 50 years of age and older (AACN para. 14-20). Recent projections have indicated that in the next 10 to 15 years, the number of nurses that would have attained the retirement age will be one million. Another factor that has aggravated the shortage of nursing is demographic changes, as more nurses are needed in order to cater for the needs of a population that is aging. Surveys have projected that by 2030 the ratio of nurses and people needing care would have decreased by 40 percent (AACN para. 14-20).
The shortage of nurses is also overworking nurses making some to leave the profession. Studies have shown that nurses are among professions that register the greatest job dissatisfaction and emotional burnout, especially when they take more patients than they could handle (AACN para. 14-20).
The problems of shortage of nurses is complex because it is not limited to the U.S alone; it is a global problem. Globally, some of the causes of nurse shortage are challenges posed by HIV/AIDS, international migration of nurses, and the reforms in the health sector such as restructuring (The Truth About Nursing, Inc. para. 5). The shortage of nurses in developing countries has been aggravated by the migration of nurses to developed countries where the pay is better. For example, the average patient to nurse ratio in Europe is ten times that in African countries. On the contrary, some countries in Central and South America have more doctors than nurses. Nurses play a critical role in the provision of primary care and studies have shown a connection between increasing the number of nurses and positive results for patients (The Truth About Nursing, Inc. para. 5).
The Truth About Nursing, Inc. “What is the nursing shortage and why does it exist?” n.d. Truth about nursing, http://www.truthaboutnursing.org/faq/nursing_shortage.html.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “Nursing Shortage.” 2017. http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage.
Spring Arbor University. “4 Problems Nurses Face in the Hospital in 2016.” 2017. https://online.arbor.edu/blog/nurses-problems-hospital-2016/.