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Nursing Shortage
Joel Lashaway
Boise State University

April 11, 2013

Nursing Shortage
Throughout history, there has been a continual ebb and flow of nursing surpluses and shortages. Personally, based on my own experiences since the downturn of the economy, I assumed we were trending towards a surplus of nurses. But we all know what can happen when we assume. Even with the recent downturn in the economy, there has been an overall shortage of nurses throughout the United States, with very little possibility of a surplus any time soon (Rosseter, August 6, 2012). Many argue that the current nursing shortages are major contributors to emergency department overcrowding, cancellation of elective surgeries, discontinuation of clinical services, and the limited ability of the health care system to respond to mass casualty incidents (Nevidjon & Erickson, 2001). Nursing offers so many areas for diversification, allowing nurses to pick almost endless areas of personal and professional interest. Hospital settings include critical care, emergency, maternal/child care, medical, operating room/recovery room, pediatrics, psychiatric/mental health and surgical. Non-hospital settings offer multiple opportunities as well. With so many opportunities one might ask why there is such a shortage of supply. With predictions that this nursing shortage will be more severe and have a longer duration than has been previously experienced, the need to identify reasons and strategize solutions is urgent. Although not exhaustive, the aging nurse population, job satisfaction, retention, and access to education are important subjects that need to be addressed. Currently, approximately 40 % of the nursing workforce is over 50 years of age and the average age of full time nursing faculty is 49 years (Rosseter, August 6, 2012). Clearly, the nursing workforce is aging and many of these nurses are reaching retirement age. It is projected that within the next 5-15 years a...
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