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Nursing Shortage Management Approaches


Nurse shortage is one of the national-scale problems that need to be solved at all levels. Governmental policy is not enough to address the issue, although political measures and proper budgeting may contribute to creating a healthy working environment. Both leaders and managers of health organizations are to provide an encouraging environment that will foster healthy workers’ enthusiasm and creativity. It is crucial to remember that workers in health organizations need approaches to address the nurse shortage problem.

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Nursing Shortage Issue

The demand for nurses has risen significantly by 2018. Armmer (2017) suggests that “more than 581,000 new positions will be available through 2018” (p. 2). Consequently, nurse shortage is a challenge that may affect the ability of medical care centers to provide patients with optimal and timely care. Horizontal violence, generational gap, and inappropriate work environment are the factors that result in nurses’ willing to turnover (Armmer, 2017). Personal comfort, as well as organizational goals, largely depend on the strategies employed by health centers’ leaders and managers.

Leader and Manager Roles

Importantly, the roles of leaders and managers vary significantly as they concern different tasks. Leaders guide and empower healthcare workers while managers focus primarily on organizational tasks (Huber, 2017). Nurses need systems of guidance that will help them overcome psychological difficulties and understand the importance of their mission. Leaders encourage health workers to make them feel confident in the number of challenging situations and contribute to the constant learning and self-improvement of workers. Leaders focus on workers and their environment, and managers regulate systems (Huber, 2017). Leaders are strategists, who emphasize the importance of inclusion, and managers are tacticians concentrated on particular short-term goals.

According to their roles, leaders are to concentrate on the work environment, trying to make it healthy and non-hostile. Workers’ efficiency depends partly on their performance at work and partly on an encouraging environment, which possesses resources for goal accomplishment. Leaders should interchange the “business as usual” trajectory with a new vision, considering the latest changes in healthcare programs.

Therefore, leaders need to create a learning environment, enhance confidence, provide feedback, and keep the balance between efficiency and psychological comfort (Huber, 2017). The role of leaders includes providing workers with a sense of confidence and guiding them in the complex realities of the healthcare system.

As the healthcare system experiences constant change, leaders need to consider new roles of health workers. For instance, nurses are now expected to be good coordinators as well as proficient specialists in care delivery (Huber, 2017). Therefore, leaders need to encourage their followers to develop some of the leadership competencies. Each worker should be a leader to some extent, being reliable, critical, adaptive, and confident. Helping health workers to adapt to the continually changing healthcare system and regulating a healthy environment at work, leaders can decrease the number of workers that choose to quit their job.

Managers focus on a different side of the work process as they are more goal-oriented. They focus on the safety and comfort of both workers and patients. Keeping the balance between nurses’ satisfaction and clients’ comfort is critical for them. Patient safety is of the greatest importance to healthcare specialists, yet it cannot be achieved without the good psychological conditions of employees. In critical cases, when errors threaten lives, an unstable, sophisticated environment can strongly affect workers’ ability to avoid mistakes (Urden, Stacy, & Lough, 2017). Therefore, managers are responsible for a “safe” environment that will minimize mistakes and foster workers’ confidence.

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Managers should encourage nurses to report on their mistakes freely and protect workers from being ridiculed. Planning also decreases the number of medical errors since a hectic, complicated environment disrupts nurses’ ability to stay concentrated. (Urden et al., 2017). Interdependence is a key concept for medical workers, who need to rely on their managers, respect discipline, and be helpful. Consequently, planning and a loyal environment should be the primary goals for healthcare managers.

Although there is a lot of essential approaches that aim to encourage nurses and keep them motivated, providing a healthy working environment seems to be the most critical practice. As a new healthcare program enters into force, there are always changes in financing, formal requirements, and infrastructure. (Urden et al., 2017). The healthcare system in the US is dynamic and complicated. As a result, the lives of healthcare workers are full of stress and instability.

Managers and leaders should contribute to the time learning and support of their followers. It seems that knowledge and loyalty are crucial aspects of an interconnected work environment. Nurses have to possess information about their patients’ cultural differences, the latest programs, and their provisions to see how the healthcare system will change in the future.

Personal Approach

The approach that best fits my view of nursing and leadership is that of a nurse manager. I adhere to the perspective that nursing is more of a science and that effective care can be provided through an efficient, goal-oriented, and teamwork-based approach. The delegation, which is a critical aspect of nurse managing, contributes to meeting the high demands of the modern healthcare system and helps to ensure the needs of the patients are met. Management allows using a micromanagement approach, unlike leadership which commonly attempts to visualize a bigger picture. The micromanagement approach is more effective at resolving day-to-day issues and implement any systemic changes to procedures.

Funding Organizations

Undoubtedly, managers and leaders cannot ensure qualitative learning without financial support. There are plenty of international, governmental, state, and local organizations funding workforce training. Such programs as CDC and HRSA aim to make healthcare training a priority of both private and public healthcare organizations. Collaboration between primary care and public health organizations is essential as healthcare actors are to form interprofessional teams to address healthcare issues (Bigley, 2016).

The Public Health Training Center program is an example of a goal-oriented, well-collaborated program that is responsive to changes in healthcare provisions. For instance, this program created a national webinar, which provided up-to-date information about Ebola. Timely delivered information and training are vital for healthcare workers. Therefore, leaders and managers from medical organizations should consider applying for organizations like HRSA.


To conclude, both leaders and managers deal with staff training and empower nurses, creating a healthy working environment. However, the tasks of leaders and managers are utterly different. Managers deal with healthcare safety issues and they monitor the quality of work being done. Leaders concentrate on strategic goals and create a mission for their workers. Leaders should encourage employees to undergo training and embrace self-development.

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Managers are to regulate the process of training and contribute to a healthy working environment, taking specific steps towards more qualitative care services. The US health care system is complicated and dynamic, which leads to unprecedented problems and great opportunities. Workforce training should be a priority for both healthcare leaders and managers to decrease the number of nurses that are not satisfied with their jobs.


Armmer, F. (2017). An inductive discussion of the interrelationships between nursing shortage, horizontal violence, generational diversity, and healthy work environments. Administrative Sciences, 7(4), 34.

Bigley, M. B. (2016). HRSA’s transformation of public health training. Public Health Reports, 131(1), 4-6.

Huber, D. (2018). Leadership and nursing care management. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Urden, L., Stacy, K. M., & Lough, M. E. (2017). Critical care nursing – E-book: Diagnosis and management (8th ed.). Maryland Heights, MO: Elsevier.

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