Can anyone tell me why there is a nurse shortage???

  1. I will be a new nursing student in the fall but am wondering why so many people are leaving the nursing profession? Could some of you help me out here and let me know what is going on. I am really looking forward to a nursing career but wonder what the deal is on why there is such a shortage and why people are predicting more of a shortage in the years to come. Thanks to all!
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    About MelH

    Joined: Jun '02; Posts: 162


  3. by   fedupnurse
    Oh Melh, where to start. I can only speak for my area of the world. NJ. We are treated with a total lack of respect from hospital administrators and managers. If you are a big mouth trouble maker (I.E. you have the audacity to bring up issues that directly effect patient care) you are labelled a trouble maker and they will go so far as to maufacture charges against you to get rid of you (happening to a colleague right this very minute!). We get zero healthcare benefits when we retire. We can have less stress and more money working in other professions. We frequently have unsafe working conditions that jeapordize the patient and staffs well being.
    So why do I stay? Because this profession needs people like me who are willing to put their asses on the line to speak out on behalf of those who cannot: the patients. I also love what I do. I just hate the atmosphere, particularly lately, of where I do it. Why not go to another facility? As bad as it is where I work, it is worse in the non union facilities around me. Scary huh?
    There are good places to work out there, just don't move to New Jersey!!
    Best of luck in school. Hopefully by the the time you get out we will have laws mandating nurse to patient ratios!
    Last edit by fedupnurse on Jul 28, '02
  4. by   CEN35
    short and simple ok!!!!!!! weekends, nights, evenings, days, holidays, treated like garbage by family members because of not enough help, and budget cuts for all, and make what you have do! all for only 30,000 - 40,000 a year! how many other jobs can you get all that for such a bargain?

  5. by   Rustyhammer
    That pretty much wraps it up.
  6. by   EricaCCRN
    My my my. Let me count the ways. Low pay, shift, holidays, weekends, and exposure to every infectous disease known to man are only the BENEFITS. Factor in disrespect from MDs and mangement combined with abusive families/patients and you've got the makings of a SHORTAGE. I could go on & on with examples of management faux paus but why bother? I am a traveler & so far I have worked in PA and MD and it is the SAME EVERYWHERE!!!! Read some of the posts here & you'll see why nurses are so disgruntled. It seems too that this creates a hostile working environment of backstabbing. Much to their joy, management feeds & perpetuates this environment, thereby compounding the problems. I am happy that you chose nursing but I cannot in good conscience lie to you. RUN, kid, RUN!!!
  7. by   KarafromPhilly
    I think an even more interesting question to ask is, "How were hospitals able to find and retain all those nurses for so long?" The answer is that they didn't have to. Women have only been allowed to work for pay for the last hundred years or so, and it's only in the last twenty-five years that women have been allowed to do ANY kind of work besides teaching or nursing. Period. (Except of course for a brief feminist heyday in the 1930s.) Therefore, hospitals and schools had a large pool of poorly paid labor to exploit, and exploit they did. Bright young women are not their captives anymore, basically.
  8. by   rebelwaclause
    Because older nurses eat their young...silly!

    (Just kidding...that's a whole nutha BB!)
  9. by   mark_LD_RN
    all said here is so true, we are very overworked underpaid, get little respect even though todays nurse requires much more technical skills and has so much more responsibility than nurses of old.

    i also think since it is a predominately female vocation.that it gets less respect mainly do to old stereo typing. this is another reason i think more males entering nursing will beniefit all nurses as a whole.

    and another big thing is nurses do often eat their young and their own. we need to learn to work together and be professional to change our image. also need to find ways to get the respect and pay we deserve. i think the public and hospital administreation needs to be made to realize what nurses really do.
  10. by   MollyJ
    Nurse shortages have been HISTORICALLY cyclical in nursing. They are a fact. Now at times, the cycles shift and we even have a sufficient supply but sooner or later, we return to shortage. The big gap in supply vs demand is currently seated in the aging baby boomers PLUS a multiplicity of other factors.

    At any time in HISTORY, I would wager, the nursing shortage could be solved with all licensed but unemployed nurses returning to work in the area of shortage. this also is a long term trend. There historically have been licensed nurses who don't work for a variety of reasons.

    Nursing attracts caring individuals (by and large) BUT is always hampered by the demand of 24 hour care. For many of us, the chasm between nights, weekends and evenings AND family demands is too big to be bridged.

    Burn out or caregiver fatigue is a factor.

    Nurses being hired in so many differnt venues is a factor: schools, education, home health...etc.

    Other opportunities for women. At one time, the women's professions were Teaching or Nursing. Now women have way more choices than that and they exercise them.

    This is a parial listing of issues.

    I also think that hospitals and insurors evidencing a greater than ever "factory" mentality contributes to burn out. Less and less is nursing and health care seen as a caring endeavor. More often it is seen as a production endeavor and the constant idea is to INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY--ie each person does as much as humanly/inhumanely possible. Profit is king.

    Again, nursing has been very good to me and I would never discourage anyone from entering the field but my caveat would always be GO BSN to maximize your lifetime choices.
  11. by   fedupnurse
    Welcome back CEN35!! Haven't seen you for awhile!
  12. by   CEN35
    thanks fedup..........

  13. by   hoolahan
    There isn't a shortage of nurses, only a shortage of nurses willing to work under substandard conditions.
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    MANY PROFESSIONS eat their young (see the other thread)...NOT JUST NURSING. it is not a female bytchy thing now.....come on!

    Frankly, It is the unwillingness to get paid less that the community garbage man and work under more stress and be expected to know much more, as well as have much more formal education. That about wraps it up. The above posts say it more eloquently than I do.

    But puhleeze, young-eating is all over, not just nursing.