The nursing shortage is an issue that has an increase concern in the health care system today and that has been a threat to the quality of care and safety of the patients. “The shortage of nurses is not necessarily a shortage of individuals with nursing qualifications; it is a shortage of nurses willing to work in the present condition” (Buchan & Aiken, 2008, p. 3262).
The changes in the government policies in the creation of the new measurements and compensation methods for better quality of care has increased a more critical working condition for the nursing profession.
The United States will have a decline in the quality of health care and be jeopardizing the safety of the patients instead of having some positive outcomes. Nursing Shortage Influencing Factors There are five influencing factors that many of the researches have concluded: increase in the number of retiring nurses, noncompetitive salaries, nurse’s workload and role expectations, and increase opportunities outside the profession or going into administrative positions or other faculty positions.
The decrease in the young people entering the nursing profession has increased the nursing shortage because is leaving the older nurses to come to their retiring year. The younger populations is also looking for a more stable profession and are going to other professions as a security blanket for their economic stability. Nurses are also faced with the dissatisfaction of having noncompetitive salaries in their nursing profession and are forced to look for a more stable opportunity outside the profession to meet their needs.
Challenges and Consequences of not addressing the issue The nursing shortage must be addressed to find ways of overcoming the challenges and consequences of the issue to decrease the effects of having a negative impact on the health care system. To overcome the challenges and consequences one must look at the demand factors and supply factor in the specific countries or regions to deal with the nursing shortage. Some of the demand factors may be: “demographic and epidemiological trends, service use patterns and macroeconomic condition” (Buchan & Aiken, 2008, p. 264). Some of the supply factors might be: “improving recruitment, retention and return-getting, keeping and keeping in touch with these relatively scarce nurses” (Buchan & Aiken, 2008, p. 3266). The consequences of not addressing the issue of the nursing shortage will lead to an increase in the shortage, and poor health care outcomes, including a decrease in the quality of care, medical errors, patient injury, and increase in the infection and wound rates. Solution or Innovation
The policy makers need to come up with a motive or a solution that will bring the younger population to enter the nursing profession and be able to retain that population in the profession for a long time. The solution of the issue for the nursing shortage is not easy, but by increasing different types of motives and recruiting methods definitely will decrease some of the nursing shortage. Policy makers should look at “intervening with educational vouchers and incentive for nurses” (Abrahamson, PhD, RN & Fox, PhD, 2009, p. 241).
The method for increasing grants or educational loan forgiveness program will increase the incentive for the younger population to feel some kind of security in the nursing profession. Incentives for some of the younger nurses will include bonuses when hired, or an increase in the salary in competitive salaries, and a decrease in the workload in the profession. The government already has some of these solutions in progress, but a package of the incentives is a good idea to encourage the younger population to enter the nursing profession. Economic Investment
The government is already investing in the nursing profession by the different programs starting to take place for the nursing profession, and increase the entry of the younger population into the nursing profession. By increasing the positive outcomes in the health care system the quality of care and safety of the patient will increase, and decreasing the possibility of mortality rates, infection or wound rates, medication errors or even patient injuries. For example one program is the Nursing Loan Repayment Program, which includes repaying the students loans if in agreement to practice at least two years in a health care organization.
Public Efforts The older population should join in an effort to decrease in the nursing shortage by educating the young population, reinforcing the need for a better quality of care and the safety of the patient and also the importance of decreasing the nursing shortage in the health care system. The leaders of the health care system need to join and be able to develop some form of communication to promote the nursing profession, and in exchange be able to have a better health care system. Conclusion
The shortage will continue to get worse if the working conditions do not improve, and the measurements for compensation do not improve in the health care system. The nursing shortage will have a positive outcome once there a good amount of adequate staffing to decrease the number of influencing factors that increase the nursing shortage. “Nurses are the main professional component of the front line staff in most health systems, and their contribution is recognized as essential to meeting developmental goals and delivering safe and effective care” (Buchan & Aiken, 2008, p. 3263).