NURS 6053 Week 3 Assignment – Shortage of Nursing Workforce

The mission and vision of achieving sustainable healthcare services and population health are contingent on the existing health workforce. Nurses are among the most profound health professionals who bear the mantle to support international, regional, national, and institutional urge for healthcare sustainability. To realize quality healthcare services, multiple considerations are fundamental in determining professional productivity.

NURS 6053 Week 3 Assignment

For instance, nurses and other health professionals should have sufficient capacity, operate in favorable workplace environments, and operate in numbers that provide synergies between demand and supply. The nursing workforce shortage is a global, national, and institutional stressor that compromises quality healthcare and population health. By definition, nursing workforce shortages refer to the discrepancies between the available nurses, institutional projections, and the existing service needs.

In many instances, analysts view these discrepancies from nurse-to-patient ratios to determine whether their industry should hire more nurses. The higher the ratios, the higher the shortages, and vice-versa. While nursing workforce shortage is a global challenge, it depends on the respective national and institutional policy frameworks.

Nursing workforce shortage: Statistics, Causes, and Effects

Notably, nursing workplace shortage is a multifaceted healthcare challenge that depends on demographic, economic, personal, and social aspects. According to Zhang et al. (2017), the global shortages of registered nursing professionals alongside other healthcare practitioners are widening despite many responsive measures to hire new employees and improve the health sector through technological advancements.

The author contends that developed countries such as the US face an unprecedented shortage of about 1 million registered nurses by the end of 2020. These projections are valid due to the prospective changes in demographic aspects, institutional dynamics, and ever-changing individual expectations or willingness to work in complex workplace settings.

Many factors lead to nurses’ turnovers and frequent shortages. For instance, an article by the Norwich University contends that the population dynamics play significant roles in influencing the demand and supplies for registered nurses (Norwich University Online, 2020). The article expounds that by the mid-2030, the population of people aged 65 years and above will outnumber young population of 18 years or younger for the first times.

These projections will lead to higher demands for holistic healthcare services considering that the elderly population face diverse health concerns. For example, health concerns like chronic conditions, obesity, and hypertension are more prevalent to people of 65 years and above compared to other age groups. Apart from the projected population dynamics that will contribute to more widened gaps between nurses and patients, institutional aspects contribute professional nurses’ shortage.

According to Halter et al. (2017), institutional aspects such as leadership styles, employees’ handling and satisfaction, and nature of roles contribute to nurses’ turnovers because professionals are not satisfied. Such aspects lead to shifting individual perceptions regarding professional development and contribute to workplace stresses.

Alongside institutional attributes and demographic changes, other factors like the aging workforce and economic performance combine to compromise labor supply despite the ever-increasing healthcare demands. Halter et al. (2017) highlight that the aging nursing workforce in the US facilitates the need for consistent hiring since many registered nurses will be retiring in the coming years. The effects of the existing healthcare discrepancies between labor demand and supply are felt at the organizational level.

According to the data presented by Drennan & Ross (2019), nursing workforce shortage in the US frustrates the process of quality healthcare. Due to high nurse-to-patient ratios, healthcare professionals face multiple challenges like burnouts, compromised patients’ safety, high patient mortality rates, and lengthy operational hours to complement the demand.

In many healthcare organizations in the US, the average nurse-to-patients ratio is 1 to 100 or 11 to 1000 patients (Drennan & Ross, 2019 NURS 6053 Week 3 Assignment). These proportions require short- and long-term measures to avert the effects of workforce shortages on the healthcare industry.

Policy Recommendations to Address Nursing Workforce Shortages

Considering the complexities and developments surrounding nurses’ shortages, it is valid to approach diverse perspectives. Notably, the process of harmonizing demand and supply for professional nurses requires multi-actor approaches to realize collective efforts and positive long-term outcomes. According to the 2020 article by the Norwich University, strategies to combat nursing shortage should start at the institutional levels and proceed to the global contexts.

For instance, the greater portions of nurses’ turnovers emanate from organizational aspects like poor recruitment and retention mechanisms, workplace stress, economic and financial determinants, and workplace cultures. From a national perspective, the nursing shortage may emanate from poor economic, educational, and financial policies that affect periodic hiring, education qualifications, and nursing graduates’ recruitment rates. Consequently, policy recommendations will concentrate on establishing level-specific expectations and responses to the nursing shortage.

Organizational Policies: Many healthcare institutions in the country embrace need-based recruitment measures to accommodate new nurses and replace the outgoing ones. However, effective recruitment and retention policies are singlehandedly not enough to address the shortages. Institutions require holistic approaches to address individual determinants that facilitate professional turnovers and compromise the willingness to work.

For example, multi-facet issues like discriminative workplace cultures, unequal provision of employees’ benefits, lack of promotions and recognition, entity’s reputation, and economic obligations influence how nurses are satisfied to execute their responsibilities. Therefore, organizational management and top leadership helms should create programs that empower nurses, develop their careers, and address satisfaction issues. These strategies include frequent training, job facilitation, reliable remuneration benefits, psychological counseling, and the adoption of appropriate leadership styles.

National policies: Countries should be on the front line to effectively coordinate relevant sectors to recruit and handle the registered nurses. For example, nurses’ national recruitment rates depend on the existing educational policies, economic performance, and healthcare sector policies. Therefore, governments should ensure effective transitions for nurses from graduates to institutional employees.

Also, it is essential to foster economic performance to provide nurses with opportunities for economic and financial satisfaction. A performing economy can facilitate the introduction of national remuneration programs for healthcare professionals. More importantly, nations should invest in healthcare technologies like Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to eliminate over-reliance on paperwork and ease workplace frustrations.

Correspondingly, national governments should partner with organizations to ensure equal employment opportunities for graduate nurses and midwives by enforcing anti-discrimination regulations. Also, it is fundamental to embrace partnerships that spearhead training programs and initiatives to eliminate workplace issues that lead to nursing turnovers.

Conclusion

The nursing workforce shortage is a global challenge that compromises quality healthcare services. Understanding labor shortages requires multiple approaches like analyzing demand against supply and evaluating nurses’ ratios to patients in institutional contexts. Regardless of the utilized approach, it is possible to argue that nursing labor shortages after healthcare services facilitate process errors, disease morbidity, and mortality rate and contributing to poor working conditions.

Efforts to address this issue rely on the existing synergies between organizations and governments. Institutions should address issues that lead to high turnovers, while national governments should encourage initiatives that provide professional advancements, process efficiency, and economic development.

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