Nursing is one of the most honorable professions and nurses are the true care givers and the backbone of our health care system. As the largest healthcare occupation, registered nurses held about 2.6 million jobs in 2008 (Bureau of Labor, 2009). Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster as compared to all other health care professions (Bureau of Labor, 2009). Growth will be driven by advanced technology in patient care, which allows for a greater number of health problems to be treated and by an increasing importance on preventive care. In the United States and other industrialized countries, just as the population of older and sicker people is about to explode, we have a major shortage of nurses in Texas.
Even though the nursing profession is in demand, more than 73 percent of RNs reported that they changed positions or employers due to workplace issues; or chose another profession for improved pay or benefits (U. S. Department, 2010). Why are so many skilled RNs dropping out of health care’s largest profession? What factors contribute to the nursing shortage in Texas? These are some of the questions that arise in the world of health care. Many factors contribute to the current nursing shortage in Texas, including healthcare cost budgeting, an aging work force, shortage of faculty nursing, heavy work load, rising legal responsibilities, occupational health risks, troubled workplace relationship between RNs and physician, and inadequate long term pay incentives. A Lack of qualified nurses has been present in the health care system for so long that the term nursing shortage has become a truism.
The origins of the current nursing shortage can be traced directly back to the implementation of managed care in the 1990s as a method of controlling health care costs (Huston, 2006). Some nursing positions were actually cut due to the demands of managed care, which had curtailed public and private sector insurance reimbursement rates and placed many hospitals and care facilities in difficult financial positions. Health care facilities that tried to cut costs hired fewer expensive RNs in favor of less expensive personnel. In short, this downsizing and shortsightedness concerning the employment and retention contributed to the beginning of a severe shortage of RNs in many health care settings by the late 1990s (Huston, 2006).
Nursing shortages are not new – they have been cyclical in the profession for years; however the current shortage may be more critical than any previous shortage. The graying of the American population is going to have a tremendous impact on the health care industry. There will be a substantial increase in the number of geriatric patients, and they will also have increased needs for multilevel health care (Fox, & Abrahamson, 2009). Precisely, more people will need health care compared to previous years but very few people will be willing to work as a nurse in health care.
There has been a significant decline in students enrolling in nursing school due to faculty shortage. According to AACN’s report on 2009-2010 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, U.S. nursing schools turned away 54,991 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2009 due to insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints (Fact sheet, 2010). In the last few years, interest in nursing has increased to some extent, due to a weak U.S. economy, combined with a growing awareness that nursing offers plentiful, diverse positions with the chance to better lives, and pay that is good relative to the amount of formal training required. Unfortunately, a critical nursing faculty shortage driven by inadequate financial support has hampered efforts to train sufficient numbers of...