Nursing Workforce Challenges

Quick development pace and globalization significantly alter human lives and industries, and there is almost no field that is left unchanged. In recent years, the nursing workforce has faced several challenges, among them being physician shortages and uneven distribution and an increasing rate of registered nurse retirements. The other significant challenges are aging of the baby boom generation and the uncertainty that the 2016 health care reform creates.

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The baby boom period (1946-1964) is known for a significant increase in the birth rate – no generation has ever brought so many children as that one. It is estimated that during those 18 years, more than 76 million people were born (Colby & Ortman, 2014). A high birth rate was beneficial for post-war America as it meant more workforce and more economic development in the future. However, as people born in that period get older, they become a burden for the American economy as other working people have to support them. “By 2030, all baby boomers will be aged 70 years or older,” and it means that an increasing number of people will need medical support (Buerhaus, Skinner, Auerbach, & Staiger, 2017, p. 40).

There will be an accelerating demand for health care, and as baby boomers benefit from healthy lifestyles and advancements in medicine, they are expected to live longer than their predecessors. However, although they may live longer, the rate of chronic diseases is increasing, so baby boomers will require more nurses and sophisticated treatment regimes, especially in rural areas – where baby boomers tend to live and get older. One way to decrease the negative effect on them will be to train and hire more nurses to prevent baby boomers from lack of medical treatment and mental health problems.

Summing up, in upcoming years, the nursing workforce will be faced with challenges several challenges that reinforce each other. An increasing number of aging people and their urge for proper health services will significantly spur the demand for nurses. Their presence will be of paramount importance for baby boomers in rural areas, and to decrease the adverse impact on patients, the number of nurses will have to increase dramatically.


Buerhaus, P. I., Skinner, L. E., Auerbach, D. I., & Staiger, D. O. (2017). Four challenges facing the nursing workforce in the United States. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 8(2), 40–46. Web.

Colby, S. L., & Ortman, J. M. (2014). The baby boom cohort in the United States: Population estimates and projections. Web.

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