The Government doesn't have a clue--they just think they do. Just remember Hillary Clinton's comment, "RN's get paid too much!!!!" This from a woman who thought she'd "reinvent" Healthcare, and was married to President "B.J." Clinton (go figure!).
Firstly, they don't realize that most of the "Baby Boomer" nurses are either quitting due to increasingly unbearable working conditions, retiring, or going to work in flower shops, where there is far less stress.
Secondly, the patient population is increasing due to the growing number of older patients. The shortage is hitting us from both ends.
In addition, a recent survey showed that 70% of all working first year R.N.s say they plan to get out of nursing within the next year. That makes it a triple whammy!
I solved my nursing burn-out problem by quitting nursing in Dec. of 2001, beginning to sell art & collectibles on eBay and opening up an Amazon
book seller's account this past year. That way, I can go to work at my computer in my underwear and not sweat the stress of working on a busy and often dangerous Psych floor with almost no help, with doctors who think they're God, and Administrators who just care about making a buck off of unfortunate sick people.
I plan to become a CLNC. With the increasing number of "medical mistakes" being made due to the shortage (which is going to get much worse!), this seems to me like a legal gold mine.
For those of you who plan to stay in nursing for awhile, I would suggest striking en masse against these conditions. I remember years ago when the San Francisco garbage collectors went on strike in the 1970s. After everybody's trash heaped up for a few days, the Trash Men got close to a 100% pay raise, which meant they were making more than I was making as a young, new psych nurse.
Believe me: it wouldn't take long for the hospitals, suddenly finding themselves almost devoid of nurses to realize the error of their ways and act speedily to rectify their suddenly desperate situation. Their immediate response would probably be a huge increase in pay, which would be a beginning, at least. I would also suggest the possibility of forming strong Nursing Unions, like the Teamsters did.