University of Phoenix
Influencing the Future of Nursing and Healthcare
Catherine M. Hill MSN, RN
March 28, 2008
Nursing Shortage: Is Technology the Answer?
Nursing has always been synonymous with caring. Dr. Jean Watson describes caring as the center of all nursing practices and that it is “a moral ideal rather than a task-oriented behavior” (Tomey & Alligood, 2006, p. 94). At this time in history, there is a nursing shortage that will only get worse unless changes are made to retain old nurses and entice new nurses into the profession. This paper addresses the nursing shortage and how technology can help or hinder the care we give. Cowen and Moorhead (2006) define nursing shortage as states that do not meet greater than 97% of their demand for nurses, and show that in 2005, 33 states were experiencing a nursing shortage and by 2020, 44 states will be experiencing this same shortage. We can ask ourselves daily there is a shortage, but all we have to do is look at the workplace and see why this shortage exists. Nurses are tired. Tired of having to care for more patients with less resources, tired of having to work extra because there are not enough nurses to fill the positions and tired of having to work in atmospheres where it is all about the money, not the patients and their families (Mee & Robinson, 2003). This tired feeling leads to negative attitudes from nurses, which shows as they interact with patients, colleagues, and nursing students. Nursing education, or lack of faculty, is another reason we have a nursing shortage. There are not enough educators to teach these bright, energetic souls how to care for others, or use the technology available to them. Matthews (2003) states “the capacity of nursing programs to accept more applicants is limited by substantial faculty vacancies, and the graying of the faculty workforce also means that traditional approaches to...