Nursing shortage

  1. It seems so strange to me that everywhere I turn, I hear about nurse shortages.Yet, what's even more interesting, is the fact that Nursing schools have difficult admission requirements...waiting lists and such. It seems that if the census is that low, why not be more student friendly and offer more nurse programs.I'm going back to school for my RN HOPEFULLY,but there are so many aggravating obstacles in the way.It seems colleges are more interested in tuition fees rather than producing nurses.I don't know if being an RN is worth all the headache. Maybe I should learn to be more content with being an LPN.Either way...I love my profession. Okay guys and gals...what's your view?
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   caroladybelle
    I can see by your post count that you are fairly new here.

    If you research this site, you will find hundreds of threads on that topic.

    There is no low census of nursing students or nursing school positions. There is a low availability of places for them. In my program, there were around 500 applicants, reasonably qualified and only 60 positions available. This means only the best are going to get in.

    Nursing classes are quite expensive to run, nursing labs terribly expensive to stock, and very few nursing instructors make as much teaching as they can as a staff nurse. Nursing requires much personal one on one attention. Labs require many of the same supplies as medical students, but unless your fees are jacked up to med school level, the school will not be able to get as many supplies. Yet nurses cannot graduate and earn as much as MDs, so to pay high fees. Medical attendings get preferred schedules, time off for research, few overnight calls and many benes to teach. Nursing instructors, on the other hand, must teach 6-12 hours, do 8-16 hours of clinical on site, prep for clinical the night before for 4-6 hours, hold office hours 6 or more hours a day, teach labs 2-6 hours a week. This does not include research, publishing papers, preparing class material or grading papers. And yet they will be paid less than what a 3-12 hour shifts.

    In addition, teachers do clinical for 6-12 student groups, with each student taking at least two patients that the instructor assigns, as well as she needs to set up precepting nurses. That means that they study 12-24 charts for each clinical group. And you have to a good, large patient population in a hospital that agrees to host you. Those are in limited supply. A hospital cannot have excess students on the floor, as they will have a poor experience, the staff will go nuts (it is harder to supervise a student than do the work yourself ). Too many "teaching" experiences leaves some nurses at their wits end.

    In addition liability insurance for the school is an issue, whether the students have malpractice insurance, the school generally needs some coverage.

    Nursing is not accounting...you cannot add 20 seats to a lecture hall and automatically graduate 20 more CPAs. Nursing requires more than that.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    There's no nursing shortage. 2,500,000 RNs are licensed in the U.S. and nearly 800,000 LPNs are licensed. If every single one of these actively licensed nurses was employed at the bedside, then there would be no nursing shortage. There's simply a shortage of nurses who want to work at the bedside!

    Some nurses left the field altogether due to burnout. Other nurses have been promoted into management and will never return to the bedside. Many nurses start their careers at the bedside and become disillusioned. The bedside is where nurses are most desperately needed, yet there are too many 'chiefs' in management and not enough 'indians' at the bedside.

    Also, there's a shortage of nursing programs as a result of not enough masters-educated nurses to teach the programs. If you're a masters-educated RN who has been offered a $62,000 faculty position at a college's nursing program, are you going to accept this job when you can earn $100,000 as a nurse manager, director of nurses, or chief nursing officer at a healthcare facility? College faculty positions tend to pay terribly when you take into account the applicant's educational attainment.

    Last of all, the requirement of challenging prerequisite classes is an effective way to weed out the ridiculous oversupply of applicants to nursing programs. If 1,000 people are applying for 100 slots in a nursing program, there needs to be some effective weed-out tool in place. People who earn 'C' grades will likely be weeded out. Unfortunately, many of the people with low 'B' grade point averages stand a chance of being weeded out, too. And not everyone possesses the persistence to complete a whole slew of prerequisite classes.

    This is just some food for thought. Don't believe everything you hear about the so-called 'nursing shortage'.
  5. by   mel1977
    right on about the TEACHER shortage. That can make such an impact as well. I often thought the same thing-when I was in Vegas there was ONE LPN school in the whole city, incl Henderson and nothing else unless you went to Reno or CA. BUt, it is the funding for the schools and teachers and all that was written above as well-and how true about the lack of bedside nurses. Of course, like where I work, we could be fine staffing wise IF our COMPANY would allow a better ratio-it many times comes down to $$$$$ too., More nurses means more moolah. Companies are willing to cut corners in the wrong places and it is a shame as the patients lose out, THEIR numero uno customer.
    I wonder what will happen to the places that don't even HIRE LPNs when all the baby boomers retire. Most of the RNS I work with are my mom's age-57 to 60 and when they go, that is a HUGE chunk!!!! I get very frustrated when I see a hospital won't even OFFER LPN jobs. There is a whole lot more to do in a hosp than IV push and blood, ya know?
  6. by   Vman
    here is my opinion on the nursing shortage.......i am sure some may disagree

    THERE IS NO NURSING SHORTAGE!
    the "shortage" is facilities against hiring a nominal nurse-to-patient/resident-staff. most facilities operate under-staffed to save money, the employed nurses are forced to "cut corners" lessening the quality of care because of high numbers of patients/residents they are assigned. many nurses are well-underpaid, but take a position to make "ends-meet", than as soon as a higher paying position becomes available, they quit and take the new position that opens because a nurse left do to finding another higher paying job or being over-worked from high patient assignments and opened his/her eyes and said "i better quit this place before an accident happens and i lose my license".....the new nurse will follow suit over time.
    so now u see a high turn-around of hiring and nurses leaving their jobs. look in your local paper for nursing jobs everyday for a few months.....how many times do u see openings at the the same facility? why do u think that is?
    step back and take a good look at this real scenario...the whole picture, i am curious to hear replies.
    (and i didn't even mention telling facilities what days and hours u are available to work and what days and hours u cannot work, they agree to terms and hire u, u leave your current job for the new one, 30 days later they change your hours and days to ones u are not available to work, so now you must quit this job and look for another one.....while being mad as hell u left your old job for this one.).
    so all this high-turn-around of nursing positions.....is there really a nursing shortage? i wonder how many nurses apply for one single nursing position listed in the job-classifieds.....none, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50?....think about it.

    yes, the big picture may make things look like a nursing shortage (the understaffing ect.), but is there really a shortage of nurses??
  7. by   mvanz9999
    Quote from TheCommuter
    There's no nursing shortage. 2,500,000 RNs are licensed in the U.S. and nearly 800,000 LPNs are licensed. If every single one of these actively licensed nurses was employed at the bedside, then there would be no nursing shortage. There's simply a shortage of nurses who want to work at the bedside!
    .....

    This is just some food for thought. Don't believe everything you hear about the so-called 'nursing shortage'.
    I read nearly this same thought in a business periodical several years ago. Both that there are nurses that work in non-bedside areas, and that there is a distinct lack of RN's that wish to work under the conditions offered to them. (patient ratios/pay/hours).

    I don't have much to offer, other than this is very important food for thought. I don't think the field is exactly as nursing schools (especially those for profit "centers") paint it.
  8. by   Vman
    bump
    (just wanted to get it back up towards the top to see replies to my post....if anyone does reply)
  9. by   pagandeva2000
    It is true, there is a teacher shortage, and I also feel that with promoting the theory that soon, all associate degree nurses must receive their bachelor's within 10 years in an effort to elevate nursing into the professional arena, you begin to find that the BSN nurse has more choices...and many of them are NOT choosing the bedside. I had a friend that received her BSN that told me that she will NEVER opt to be a bedside nurse.
  10. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from mel1977
    right on about the TEACHER shortage. That can make such an impact as well. I often thought the same thing-when I was in Vegas there was ONE LPN school in the whole city, incl Henderson and nothing else unless you went to Reno or CA. BUt, it is the funding for the schools and teachers and all that was written above as well-and how true about the lack of bedside nurses. Of course, like where I work, we could be fine staffing wise IF our COMPANY would allow a better ratio-it many times comes down to $$$$$ too., More nurses means more moolah. Companies are willing to cut corners in the wrong places and it is a shame as the patients lose out, THEIR numero uno customer.
    I wonder what will happen to the places that don't even HIRE LPNs when all the baby boomers retire. Most of the RNS I work with are my mom's age-57 to 60 and when they go, that is a HUGE chunk!!!! I get very frustrated when I see a hospital won't even OFFER LPN jobs. There is a whole lot more to do in a hosp than IV push and blood, ya know?
    I had a friend tell me that the reason why hospitals are not hiring LPNs in the same way they did before is that our desciption is so ambigious...and they do not want to take the risk. This may be true in some cases, because any smart manager would rather pay a lesser licensed person and pay them cheaper to do the same job, however, if the ultimate risk is going to increase in law suits, that may be a thought to consider for the business.
  11. by   barbara1
    The nursing shortage is only going to get worse! Because of the requisite high student to teacher ratios, more funding is needed. Despite all the recruitement campaigns, the government is spending only a tiny fraction of what it spent during the nursing shortage of the 80's. There aren't enough educators to educate prospective nurses. Thousands of students are turned away each year. Makes you wonder if our government really takes it (or us) seriously....
  12. by   barbara1
    It may be true that there are more than enough nurses to fill the void, but has anyone considered that many nurses are abandoning the bedside and even the profession because of unrealistic workloads, unpleasant work environments and burnout??? We can license all the people in the world, but if they don't want to work, it doesn't do us any good.
  13. by   Daytonite
    This is written about in all the professional nursing publications. Most of the boards of nursing also have the inside scoop on this. There are not enough nursing instructors. Nursing programs are too expensive for some colleges to support. Because of this, nursing programs are only trying to assure that they are choosing applicants for nursing school who are sincere in their resolve to complete the program and who are able to scholastically stand up to the challenge. I am so sick of hearing nursing wannabes who are looking first at the wages and not even thinking about the work and dedication that goes into the profession. I am also aggravated with so many nurses who think their education has ended when they have graduated from school. All of these are among the ones who end up leaving the profession. IMO it's because they never had what it takes to be a nurse in the first place. They either fooled their nursing schools when they were admitted or the schools did a lousy job of screening applicants. Maybe the process of screening and admitting people to nursing programs should also involve community and hospital leaders. They might know some of the right questions to be asking applicants in order to weed out the ones who don't belong there.

    I just learned that one of the hospitals in the area where I live donated a huge chunk of money to three local community college nursing programs that was specifically earmarked for each of them to hire on another clinical instructor for their nursing programs for their next scholastic year. Hooray for them!
  14. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from barbara1
    It may be true that there are more than enough nurses to fill the void, but has anyone considered that many nurses are abandoning the bedside and even the profession because of unrealistic workloads, unpleasant work environments and burnout??? We can license all the people in the world, but if they don't want to work, it doesn't do us any good.
    Absolutely. Those are some of the key points that were discussed throughout this thread. And, if a BSN or MSN nurse has more options, then, why would they bother with the bedside? Also, there is so much back biting and back stabbing within the profession that people leave it behind for less stressful situations.

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