Registered nurses (RNs) contribute to one of the largest groups in healthcare practice. However, analysts have identified the existence of nursing shortages in the United States and other parts of the world (Buchan & Aiken, 2008). Such shortages are usually impossible to project. The outstanding fact is that the problem of nursing shortage continues to affect many societies today. Statistics indicate that the number of existing or available nurses will continue to decline in the coming years.
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As well, the shortage of caregivers will coincide with the widening need for quality nursing services and care. This will be the case because the “baby boom” generation is aging. That being the case, the ongoing changes show clearly that it might be impossible or costly to address this shortage of nurses in the future. A study is necessary to examine the nature of this shortage and offer new solutions to address the problem. This paper presents a research proposal targeting to examine the nature of nursing shortage today.
According to Hassmiller and Cozine (2006), it is difficult to get reliable or exact estimates on the shortage of nurses today. However, the agreeable thing is that the present shortage affects different regions. A study by Buchan and Aiken (2008) indicated that nursing shortages were high in operating rooms, emergency centers, and intensive care units (ICUs). The situation continues to affect the quality of healthcare provided to different patients.
The shortage of nurses continues to affect the quality and nature of long-term care in nursing facilities and homes. Although most of the available data is not enough, experts believe that the issue of nursing shortage will continue being a major concern in the future (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006). There are various issues leading to the current shortage. The recent demographic changes, healthcare expectations, employment patterns, and nature of nursing work play a significant role towards this crisis (Littlejohn et al., 2012).
According to Buchan and Aiken (2008), the current shortage of nurses is complex because the number of individuals with the needed qualifications for nursing practice is on the rise. That being the case, more nurses are avoiding the profession and instead obtaining their livelihood elsewhere. It is a major expectation that nurses will provide direct care and support to their patients in different hospitals. As well, the quality of health care delivered to patients depends on the competence, willingness, and expectations of nursing staff.
Nursing is a critical practice that seeks to improve the nature and effectiveness of patients’ care. It is also the duty of different organizations to ensure their nurses work harder to provide competent and quality care to different patients. Although this is the ultimate goal of nursing profession, different governments and organizations have been unable to address this problem of nurse shortage (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006).
Hussain, Rivers, Glovert and Fottler (2012) projected that new employment opportunities for nurses will arise in the coming days. This means that more registered nurses (RNs) will get employment and provide the best care to their patients. This becomes a major challenge because the number of students enrolling to study nursing in different medical schools is decreasing (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006). This coincides with the ever-increasing challenge of “nurse shortage”.
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That being the situation, different societies continues to face the brunt of nurse shortage. There is need for more studies to examine the nature of the problem and the potential strategies that can help reverse the global shortage (Hussain et al., 2012). This will be the best approach towards delivering quality care and support to different patients. This explains why this study is necessary.
In the 1990s, the United States restructured most of the principles governing nursing services and practices (Buchan & Aiken, 2008). After such changes, most of the nurses became dissatisfied with their jobs and working conditions. As well, nurses were concerned about the nature and quality of care for patients. Towards the end of the century, more nurses were dissatisfied with their profession (Hussain et al., 2012). Most of the nursing institutions continue to record a smaller number of caregivers and nurses.
Nursing is viewed negatively through the media (Littlejohn et al., 2012). This is the case because media coverage has mostly focused on the major challenges and hurdles affecting nurses. Such kind of attention discourages young adults from joining the profession.
Hassmiller and Cozine (2006) observed that most of the nurses and nurse aides were getting low pays. As well, most of the nurse aides get minimal benefits and work in extremely challenging workplaces. The fact that such aides tend to lack the relevant incentives and possibilities for career growth discourages them from the career (Littlejohn et al., 2012). Most of the nurses have decided to quit the profession because of the challenges encountered.
According to Buchan and Aiken (2008), more baby boomers are aging. These people are in constant need of quality services and health care. Majority of the people are in demand of better health care services and support. This also explains why more nurses should address such needs. Hassmiller and Cozine (2006) observed that nurses were considering other careers in order to become financially stable. In the recent past, many women and young girls are less likely to become nurses.
The job of a nurse is usually intensive. As more diseases and health complications emerge, nurses are finding it hard to provide quality health care to their patients. Most of the nurses have been required to stay in hospitals for longer hours. At the same time, such individuals lack the necessary support and incentives (Littlejohn et al., 2012).
This situation explains why more nurses have been abandoning the profession. As the workload of a registered nurse continues to increase, it has become impossible to achieve their expectations and consider the importance of work-life balance. Buchan and Aiken (2008) also observed that burnout, disappointment, and dissatisfaction were some of the major challenges affecting many nurses.
Many people expected the wages of nurses to increase some years ago. However, the fact is that their wages remains the same despite the changing health needs. “The competitiveness in the nursing environment explains why most of the nurses continue to work for a low pay (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006)”. There have been increased cases of violence and abuse in different healthcare units and institutions.
These factors have contributed a lot to the current turnover in the sector. According to Hassmiller and Cozine (2006), “the ultimate purpose of nursing should be to provide improved patient support”. That being the case, hospitals and healthcare institutions should work hard to improve their work environment and attract more nurses. This is the best approach towards providing quality care to patients.
The objective of this study is to understand the nature of “nurse shortage” today. The research will also examine how this problem affects nursing practice. The study will explore some of the best approaches and strategies deal with the shortage of nurses effectively.
During the study, the researcher will select the participants from different health care organizations and medical facilities. Most of the targeted participants will include nurses, nurse aides, patients, and nurse leaders.
The study will entail the use of randomized questionnaires. The researcher will distribute the questionnaires randomly across the selected healthcare organizations and facilities.
After collecting the needed information and feedback from the respondents, the next step will be to analyze the data using different analytical tools such as SPSS.
Discussion and Findings
Recent studies show a connection between nursing shortage and quality of health care. The question of nursing staff will always be relevant towards understanding the health outcomes in healthcare facilities and organizations. The ever-increasing nurse shortage will continue affecting the quality of care provided to different patients. There is need for more studies to come up with new findings and ideas in order to deal with this challenge affecting hospitals and nursing homes today (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006).
After conducting this study, it will be possible to identify potential causes of the challenge. After identifying such causes, it will be easier to improvise new strategies to improve RN support and retention. The approach will be mandatory because more people are in need of quality and better health care than ever before.
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The current problem of nursing shortage can only be addressed using new policies and incentives. The government should come out strong to identify the nature of the problem, the major causes, and possible policies that can overturn the situation. However, very little information and data is available to support the best policies and decisions. Unless more studies are conducted, the problem of nurse shortage will continue being a major challenge in the future (Hussain et al., 2012).
This study seeks to increase the existing knowledge about the issue of “nursing shortage” and present new ideas to deal with it. After this is done, it will be easier for hospitals and other health care institutions to provide quality care and support to the patients (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006). The approach will address the challenges affecting many people today.
In the future, it will be costly for health care centers and hospitals to increase their nursing staff. This explains why the issue of nursing shortage will continue being a major problem in the future. This is the case amidst reports and findings that an increasing number of nurses in practice will eventually improve patient outcomes. The projected shortages will affect many institutions in the long term. The shortages of nurses will continue creating bigger quality challenges.
It has become impossible for healthcare professionals to address this problem. Very little information is available to help these professionals come up with the best decisions. The problem will become a “major threat” unless the government addresses the issue today. This explains why the study will be of great significance towards dealing with this problem of nurse shortage.
Aiken, L., Cheung, R. & Olds, D. (2009). Education Policy Initiatives to Address the Nurse Shortage in the United States. Health Affairs Journal, 28(4), 646-656.
Buchan, J. & Aiken, L. (2008). Solving Nursing Shortages: A Common Priority. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17(24), 3262-3268.
Hassmiller, S. & Cozine, M. (2006). Addressing the Nurse Shortage To Improve The Quality Of Patient Care. Health Affairs Journal, 21(1), 268-274.
Hussain, A., Rivers, P., Glovert, S. & Fottler, M. (2012). Strategies for Dealing with Future Shortages in the Nursing Workforce: A Review. Health Services Management Research, 25(1), 41-47.
Littlejohn, L., Campbell, J., Collins-McNeil, J. & Khayile, T. (2012). Nursing Shortage: A Comparative Analysis. International Journal of Nursing, 1(1), 22-27.