Can anyone tell me why there is a nurse shortage??? - page 4

I will be a new nursing student in the fall but am wondering why so many people are leaving the nursing profession? :confused: Could some of you help me out here and let me know what is going on. ... Read More

  1. by   Flo1216
    Maybe it's an east coast thing.
  2. by   rebelwaclause
    ....Dayum...I guess more information is always reveiled.
  3. by   ACNORN
    Despite all the griping and complaining of the other respondents, your question seems to be sincere and deserves a more thoughful, global, objective answer about this nursing shortage. I am a chief nursing officer who is also responsible for nursing recruitment and retention in my hospital. As one who is acutely aware of the shortage and concerned that we can maintain our nursing staffing, I have taken the time to research this nursing shortage. There are numerous studies out there about the shortage if you care to look them up. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has completed a very comprehensive study on the nursing shortage. If I can find the various web addresses after I finish this note, I will submit them as well. In a nutshell these are the reasons:

    ** The population in the U.S. is aging and the baby boomer generation (which is a large segment of the working population) is starting to get to retirement age. This means that there are more people who will need healthcare than before with fewer people in the workforce who can pay into the medicare system. This translates into high healthcare utilization with fewer healthcare dollars being added to the Medicare coffers.

    ++ The average age of Registered Nurses nationally is around 42-44 years of age (I have read different statistics but they are all around these numbers). This means that a large segment of the nursing population is also in that baby boomer group and they are looking toward retirement soon too.

    ++The average age of nursing school professors is around 52 years old and they are also looking at retirement. Nurses with advanced degrees at the masters and doctorate level are able to make more money in other roles such as nurse practitioners, CRNA's and nurse specialists than they can in academia so fewer nurses with advanced degrees are choosing to teach nursing. Fewer professors means fewer students that can be enrolled in nursing schools which means fewer younger nurses entering the profession.

    ++In the last 20 years or so there have been more opportunities for women to enter other lucrative professions much as information systems jobs in the tech sector and medicine, law, engineering etc. These jobs have been previously reserved more for men than women but times are changing and more young women are pursuing these careers than the traditional careers that women pursued previously such as teaching and nursing.

    ++With the advances in healthcare, the work environment for most nurses is becoming much more hi-tech and stressful than before. Patients are living longer and healthcare workers are dealing with the stresses of handling critical patients with numerous chronic health conditions. Many of these patients would not have lived in the past.

    Therefore, you have very high acuity patients with fewer nurses to go around and fewer healthcare dollars to spend. Of course, when seasoned nurses gripe as much as they do on this nursing forum it doesn't help promote nursing and make anything better.

    The good news is congress passed and President Bush just signed into law new legislation that is going to appropriate mega bucks to promote nursing and pay for nurses to get advanced degrees to become nursing profs. and for nurses to get undergraduate degrees to become nurses. There is some hope on the horizon.

    Incidentally, I don't have a problem recruiting or retaining nurses in my shop. I am focused on treating them well and making sure they have what they need to take good care of our patients. Thats the key in my experience.

    Hope this helps you.
  4. by   Flo1216
    I guess our opinions don't mean anything then.
  5. by   ACNORN
    Opinions are fine, but facts are better. Knowledge is power. Nursing could use some power.
  6. by   Flo1216
    Actually, we all know about the aging baby boomers and the aging nursing population. It is in the news every other day.I think a lot of people are contributing their opinions on why a lot of people are not entering the profession in the first place or why nurses are entering the profession and then leaving. Their thoughts shouldn't be discounted.
  7. by   rebelwaclause
    Originally posted by ACNORN
    Opinions are fine, but facts are better. Knowledge is power. Nursing could use some power.
  8. by   ACNORN
    As I said, opinions are fine. There are other factors that are the root causes of the negative experiences that nurses are facing at the bedside. Until we deal with the root causes, the nursing experience is not going to get better. I tend to be action oriented and prefer getting to a solution rather than sitting and being unhappy with my situation. MelH obviously doesn't know the reasons for the nursing shortage or she wouldn't ask. The opinions of the other respondents are no doubt heart-felt and true, but they don't give her any understanding of the "why" of the nursing shortage. Opinions are just great. They are certainly all over this nursing forum - albeit most of them negative. A few facts don't hurt anyone either. If you want an opinion, mine is that no one will ever enter nursing if they read many of these posts.
  9. by   imenid37
    money. corporate greed. lack of respect from the public and management. expected to possess the knowledge of einstein while being tx'd like you work at mcd's or walmart. very simple reallly. responsibility and risk to personal health and safety w/o adequate compensation.
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    ALL the opinions are of equal value here; facts are indeed important---- but REAL LIFE FRUSTRATIONS AND EXPERIENCE are too, and to suggest otherwise, is to me, quite arrogant. The original poster asked an earnest question. I see a LOT of earnest and honest answers and issues here that this person will face when he/she becomes a nurse. Really, the demographics are well-known by both nursing and the general public. This is true in many other career fields as well. What often is not as well known, is a lot of what is being described here by real-life nurses who detail what are to them, real-life problems and concerns that seem QUITE valid to them. To discount these opinions as "less important" than "anyone's" facts is a slap in their face, if you ask me!
  11. by   Flo1216
    Right on.
  12. by   ACNORN
    MelH, If you wish to read some of the published articles on the shortage, here are two web addresses. There are many others as well.

    You need adobe acrobat to download the robert wood johnson study.
  13. by   Flo1216
    Nobody is denying the factors that you have listed as contributing to the nursing shortage. We are just saying that there are OTHER factors as well and that they shouldn't be dismissed.