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A Critical Nursing Shortage: Reasons, Strategy


Job discontent has been traditionally known to be quite high in the field of nursing. Besides innumerable other problems, nurses express their anguish about a number of major disquiets, that relates to staffing issues, respect, approval, and wages, and such matters of dissatisfactions ate to a great extent having an effect their choices to be working in the health care business. In the course of the study, aspects that impinged on the nurse recruitment and retention at health care facilities were distinguished as: responsiveness and backing of colleagues, effective management procedures, work atmosphere, equipment supplied by the organization, fulfillment and gratification at the place of work, employment requisites, progress path offered by the organization, work schedules and timings, and finally the distance of the healthcare facility from the nurse’s dwelling location. (Wold, 2008)

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Thus taking into account such inclinations, a wide-ranging recruitment policy needs to be developed so as to catch the attention of and retain proficient healthcare professionals. To facilitate such a policy the most significant issues are required to be identified. The findings of the research work that went into this paper suggests that fostering a conducive work atmosphere by the management of the health care organization and offering an attractive staff development path are two of the most valuable and practical answers to the problem of recruitment and retention of quality health care professionals. In addition, this paper also makes a few useful recommendations in terms of efficient leadership and staff involvement which may be valuable in the attempt to cope with the existing issues the medical-surgical unit at ABC Hospital faces.


Job dissatisfaction is likely to play a key role in both current as well as future problems relating to recruitment and retention of nursing staff. Inadequate staffing, severe work pressures, and the use of overtime as a means to cope with lack of adequate staffing emerge as key reasons underlying the high level of observed job discontentment amongst healthcare professionals. Results of various surveys reveal that nurses choose to leave the health care profession on account of their desire for a less strenuous and physically exigent employment and apprehensions about job scheduling and work timings. Some nurses also express that they are either somewhat or entirely discontented about their staffing levels and believe that better conscription levels would definitely enliven their job profiles. Of late, the issue of inadequate staffing levels and overtime is being drawn in significantly in the course of negotiations during the recruitment process. State authorities have also taken notice of this problem. During early 2001, bills were crafted to control compulsory overtime requisites and to uphold the rights of professional who did not desire to exert themselves in additional shifts and have translated into legislations in 10 states in the United States. (Megginson, 2008)

Nurses, in addition, refer to the little veneration and approval given to their efforts, in conjunction with their apparent lack of authority, as a few issues underlying their high levels of disappointment. Survey results indicate that nurses tend to be exceptionally or slightly discontented with level of recognition they acquire, and a number of nurses also reveal that they are dissatisfied with the extent of involvement of the nursing professionals in the decision-making process of the organization they are a part of. Observation of current trends across healthcare providing organizations brings out the varying levels of despondency in individuals working in the nursing profession in relation to the amount of support they receive from the administration of the organizations they work in. (Wold, 2008)

Although it is an established fact that that superior wages may be an initiative that impels healthcare professionals to keep their jobs, earnings are not always acknowledged as the primary grounds of job discontentment. Although a few nurses alter their career path in an effort to seek improved earning opportunities, most nurses are more worried about the enormous workloads and physical pressures of the profession. Nevertheless, a number of healthcare professionals believe that higher pay scales or improved reimbursement structures would help to enhance the quality of the profession.

Another significant factor found to be significantly increasing the discontentment levels in healthcare professionals was the trend of the support workforce strength, which facilitates smooth operations, declining. Current nursing staff retention problems appear to be just a part of a greater picture relating to health care personnel shortage that consists of a deficiency of nursing aides’ strength as well. Nursing aide employees make available a significant level of support for nurses by helping patients carry out their daily such as dressing, feeding and bathing. Findings of several researches reveal that nurse aide staff recruitment and retention has emerged as a major concern for numerous health care organizations. The shortage of nursing aide employees can be traced down to difficult work environment besides displeasure owing to wages and compensations. Moreover, other features that influence nursing aide turnovers include taxing workloads and staffing levels, respect received from the organization’s management, organizational approval and lack of contribution opportunities to the process of decision-making which are to a significantly large extent identical to reasons for job dissatisfaction observed in the nursing profession. (Ouzts, 2006)

The rationale underlying keying out the reasons behind the selection of workplace made by healthcare professionals and drivers of their job retention at a certain organization in the course of the research work going into the paper was to facilitate the process of coming up with a solution to the problem at hand. The study divulged that factors driving both the choice as well as the decision to continue working at a certain health care overlaps, with various aspects being almost the same in both the cases. Consequently, it is essential to make a note of the closely interlinked factors that seem to emphasize the implications of recruitment information specifically those which are pertinent to the employee recruitment scenario. (Ouzts, 2006)

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Improved opportunities, information and resources make the staff more capable, efficient and powerful. Such factors have known to be an effective driver for superior job satisfaction levels among the nursing and other healthcare personnel. The most admirable places to work are organizations where the employees are offered essential training initiatives which are necessary in order to be successful in a competitive market scenario and help them on a successful development path where there are policies which facilitate capacity enhancement. Development and progress is fostered by doing interesting and innovative work and by continually evaluating and restructuring the old processes of undertaking work.

Findings of several researches reveal that the contemporary nursing staff desires to be properly trained and therefore cultivate their capabilities in the process. Thus the management of healthcare organizations should make sure that their employees work under a challenging work environment and are stretched, but simultaneously it should also be borne in mind that this needs to be done within their capabilities. One of the main reasons behind the phenomenon of employees tending to alter their career path or perhaps just change their workplaces is an apparent lack of career growth prospects. Newly starting out employees is more likely to continue working with a certain organization for a long-drawn-out duration on account of their devotion and allegiance towards the organization. (Wold, 2008)

Nevertheless, those belonging to the new generation nursing professionals allude to opportunities for better skill development and learning as vital factors affecting their decisions to persist or to leave an organization, pointing out their evident commitment to growth and learning in the long term. Therefore, endeavors like mentoring programs and education and progress initiatives may be a helpful riposte to such preferences. Prospect for novel tests and supplementary experiences in the path of skill multiplicity and job implication are major motivating factors for the new age nursing professionals’ desirability and the aspect of retention at a certain health care facility. Several investigations find that contemporary healthcare professionals are drawn in by the fact that a career development path is offered in place of a simple straight lined job profile at the place of work. Offering training prospects and competence development programs endows the employees with an efficient means to cope with changes in the field more effectively.

Such programs can consist of training on leadership, patient management, time management and communication skills. By providing guidance to the staff through such initiatives, the organizations can effectively introduce decentralized decision making structures, and this in turn could induce a large amount of inspiration for the employees. It is extremely essential that ingenuity and innovation are fostered as this could result in superior job satisfaction levels among the nurses and also attract better and more proficient professionals towards the organization. (Megginson, 2008)

Recruitment and retention rates are naturally higher in cases in which organizations have the reputation of providing a lively work atmosphere on account of which healthcare professionals sense a better connection with the system and are well supported by coworkers and thus job satisfaction is considerably improved. A positive approach of the management and colleagues at the workplace lessens absenteeism, turnover and increases the attraction of proficient prospective employees to a large extent. A pleasant work atmosphere has a sense of togetherness through which the staff experiences a sense of belonging as with a team.

In such an environment, the staff develops a feeling of being involved and gets to know each other, and thus is better able to focus on the job requirements. Fun at the workplace should be fostered, all levels and organizational statuses should be respected and the employees should be recommended to cooperate with one another and value and acknowledge each other’s passion. Support is extended when constructive relations are built. This implies that mutual veneration, trust and genuineness must be developed and sustained. The workers should to be looked at as unique individuals who are proficient and each can make significant contributions, and precious interpersonal bonds should be built and nurtured. Nurses do not experience large amounts of unease and hassles as a result of intense work loads if the job is gratifying and if they get proper acknowledgement and support for their activities. By developing a supportive environment for the healthcare professionals, the retention rate increases dramatically and the repute of the organization goes up as well. (Ouzts, 2006)

Supportive and resourceful management procedures are often accounted as encouraging features in relation to nurse retention at a certain organization. The moral fibers stringing together compassionate and competent management policies comprises of implementing new profitable schemes for the workforce, resourcefully working along with the nursing staff, engaging them in the decision-making procedures and enforcing transparent problem tackling techniques. Decentralized decision-making practices and shared power improves the nurses’ level authority over their own job environment as it promotes self-reliance and cooperative decision making and also constructs optimistic connections. Aspects such as empowerment and the opportunity to function autonomously boost job contentment and in turn increase retention rates.

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Hygiene and cleanliness has to be fostered for the wellbeing of both the patients, healthcare professionals and other individuals in the environs of patient-care operations. Job environments based on evidence-based design patterns have to be put into practice in order to promote enhanced patient outcomes. This would without doubt ease the work loads on the nurses and related health care staff. It has to be made sure that the patient care sites are latex-free, mercury-free and are without other toxic substances that lead to infections and illness. Additionally the health care facilities need to take care that a safe needles system is adopted. (Megginson, 2008)

Organizational policies to uphold and support nursing rights and privileges need to be effectively established. A zero tolerance position has to be assumed in order to deal with infringement of requisite practices and procedures. Additionally, an effective grievance handling mechanism needs to be introduced. Furthermore, health care policies should also take into account the fatigue problem of the nurses and address it accordingly. (Wold, 2008)


Interpersonal relationships, leadership and management attitudes in conjunction with a supportive affable job atmosphere wherein professionals find themselves on a progressing development path are some of the most significant aspects in the issue of nursing workforce recruitment and retention. Thus, ABC Hospital should promote a healthy job environment with well-built interpersonal associations and should mange the wellbeing of professionals through resourceful leadership and considered organizational skills within the hospital.


Megginson, L.A. (2008). BSN education: 21st century barriers and incentives. Journal of Nursing Management. 16(1), 47-55.

Ouzts, K.N. Watson, J. Brown, C. Swearingen, A.D. (2006). Developing Public Health Competence Among RN-to-BSN Students in a Rural Community. Public Health Nursing. 23(2), 178-182.

Wold, S.J. Brown, C.M. Chastain, C.E. Griffis, M.D. Wingate, J. (2008). Going the Extra Mile: Beyond Health Teaching to Political Involvement. Nursing Forum. 43(4), 171-176.

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