The nursing shortage in the United States is much worse than previous shortages. Combining an aging population and fewer nursing students in school is a catalyst for nurse burn-out in hospitals that are already short staffed. The United States is hiring more and more foreign trained nurses. These nurses are filling many vacancies, many in less attractive areas and there is a marked difference in their educational level compared to their American counterparts. Both of these traits are impressive in trying to alleviate a nursing shortage. Research suggests that hiring foreign nurses is beneficial because of their ability to alleviate the nursing shortage, because of their advanced education, and because of their willingness to work in the least populated areas.
Historically, the United States has had its issues with nursing shortages. The reason for this shortage is because the average age of a Registered Nurse has increased, because nursing school enrollment are stagnant, and because of the nursing school faculty shortage that is restricting nursing program enrollments. There is a strong interest in entering the nursing profession; there is a lack of faculty to teach in the nursing schools. In 2009, nursing schools in the United States denied admission to 54,991 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs due to a lack of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints. The chief reasons for the deficit of faculty to meet the demand for more nurses include the aging of the present faculty coupled with impending retirement. To exacerbate the problem even further, on top of the lack of faculty, an additional 257 faculty positions need to be created just to accommodate student demand. (AACN, 2010). The average age of a Registered Nurse has risen to 47 in 2008 which is up from 46.8 just 4 years prior to that. (AACN, 2010). By 2012, nurses in their 50’s are likely to be the most prevalent group of Registered Nurses working, accounting for roughly twenty-five percent of the nursing population. By the time the baby boomers are reaching their 60’s and 70’s, this will in turn, dramatically increase the need for more nurses. (AACN, 2010) Nursing schools that are suffering from a lack of faculty to sustain these nursing programs is a major reason why enrollments are being restricted.
The nature of nursing shortages in the United States has historically been cyclical, meaning there has always been roller coaster effects of surpluses and deficits. But, this time around, the shortage is different. In order to alleviate the pressure of having too few nurses, the United States is seeking foreign trained nurses to work. According to the Bureau of Health Professions, 2010 has a nursing supply of 2,069,369 and the demand is 2,344,584. This interprets that the US is currently short by 275,215 nurses, or 12%. It is projected that come 2015, the supply of nurses will drop to 2,055,491 with a demand of 2,562,554 for a shortfall of 507,063 or 20%. To even further the reality of this impending crisis, it is projected that in 2020, the supply of nurses will plummet to 2,001,998 with an increased demand of 2,810,414. This indicated that the U.S. will suffer a devastating nurse shortage of 808,416 or 28.8%. (Bureau of Health Professions, 2010) As mentioned above, the nurses are getting older and starting to retire. Since the enrollments in nursing schools are lagging, not as many nurses are being produced. The lack of nurses entering the work force and the older nurses that are retiring and not being replaced, changes the work environment and in turn shedding a poor light on nursing as a profession. Being consistently short staffed leaves a palpable tension amongst nurses, impeding job satisfaction and causing many nurses to choose different careers or jobs. Three quarters of the Registered Nurses surveyed feel that the nursing shortage presents a key issue for the value of...
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