This Guy’s Take on How to Fix the Nursing Shortage Temporarily

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by Red Shirt 6 Red Shirt 6, CNA

Has 3 years experience.

The article is a series of ideas, thoughts, and opinions about some things that can be done to address and fix nursing shortages (at least in the short term) within the United States of America and the US Territories.

What could temporarily fix the Nursing shortage?

This Guy’s Take on How to Fix the Nursing Shortage Temporarily

These are some of my ideas, thoughts, and opinions about some things that can be done to address the nursing shortage in the United States of America and the US Territories. Due to the phrase nursing shortage having different meanings to different people I am going to use this as the definition of a Nursing Shortage for this article. The demand for working nursing professionals is higher than the current period as well as the near future.  

National Registry for Registered Nurse – Licensed Nurses

While a version of a national registry is happening with compact states, a national standard would eliminate the shortcomings that are present with the Compact such as being able to include all US territories making relocating faster and more affordable. While addressing telehealth questions and issues that are becoming more common in the last couple of years events have made telehealth more common and accepted.

National Registry and License for Certified Nursing Assistants/Aides /State Tested Nursing Assistants/Aides  

I believe this could be put into work quickly; as most states and territories have Nursing Assistants/Aides as being Certified or State Tested. Create a National License that meets or exceeds the most difficult state requirements. In addition to that, Nurse Assistant/Aide’s have from three to six months to meet local state requirements. Health and Human Services and the Office of Inspector General could run the registry as well as deal with any investigations. This registry would make relocating faster, easier, and more affordable for both employees and employers.

Reevaluation of Workloads/Safe Staffing Ratios (Not just at hospitals)

While hospitals in some states have safe staffing ratios; it only applies to hospitals. By limiting safe staffing laws to only one part of healthcare the result of this is dangerous mistakes being made, burnout, and nurses leaving the profession.

PRN Eligible to 180 Days or Longer without Working a Shift

This does vary for employers, and facilities but the industry standard should be that a PRN employee should be eligible to work up to 180 days if not longer without working a shift. It can be hard to fill open shifts in healthcare settings. (There are even tic tocks about this). By increasing the number of eligible PRN employees then maybe staffing will have more options on employees to contact and maybe they can find somebody willing to work and ease the strain on the regular staff that is affected when somebody is needed to fill in.

Support Nurse Writers and Creators

Writing/creating is hard. Supporting Nurses that do write, and create by reading, watching, liking subscribing, and even buying is something we can do so Nurses have more of a voice with the general public as well as the decision-makers.

Improved Media Representation Promoting Careers in Nursing

Quote

A good movie can entertain, educate, and inspire its audience. Movies, if produced with skill and deftness, can make us think. They can make us compassionate. They can inspire us to help others and to think about our place within humanity. Movies can show us a wider world and open our minds to the trials of others. Movies can speak to us about another culture and make us feel empathetic about that culture. Movies are an integral part of us; they show what we believe collectively and how we possibly coexist within society. It is easier to see our concerns, attitudes, flaws, and strengths through movies than our daily existence. There is a distancing which helps us with this rather than deciphering them from our daily interactions. When our outlook is challenged, movies often offer an alternative viewpoint and effect change. - (William Dever)

Create more media that shows what different specialties that Nurses can work in and what can be done within the nursing profession. Things set outside of the usual settings such as war/wartime, nurses as background, and dealing with the supernatural/horror.

Updated Portrayal of Nursing School

I believe Nursing as a whole would benefit as well as affecting the nursing shortage by giving/creating updated views philosophies, perspectives of Nurses and Nurse Education to the general public and potential students.

There are currently over a dozen films over a number of decades about future Doctors attending and facing personal and professional trials while at Med School. While most of these are not great films however they serve their purpose of promoting medical school and giving Physician philosophies and perspectives to the general public and potential med students.

Meanwhile, for Nursing School there are three films that portray the personal and professional trials of Future Nurses attending a Nurse College. The three films are:

  1. White Parade (1934)
  2. Nobody’s Baby (1937)
  3. 4 Girls in White (1939)

That is it. Nursing school, society, and what a nursing student deals with have changed from the 1930’s.

Explaining Employment Rural and Urban  

I believe that not acknowledging, warning, or teaching students about the employment conditions and opportunities before entering healthcare feeds into nurse shortage problems. If this is explained then students could plan better and have a better understanding while seeking employment after graduation.

Metro and Urban areas have more Nurses with higher education, for example, RN, BA, MBA, BSN, and MSN per job than in rural and undesirable areas. While in rural areas there are/will be more ADNs, LPNs, CNAs, Caregivers, and Home Health Aides available per job. I believe this is mainly due to Hospitals and healthcare being one of the biggest employers in rural areas. Along with employers in Metro and Urban areas offering low pay, limited affordable housing, being able to obtain desired lifestyles, and easier higher-paying work usually found in big cities.

Another point is that the higher educated have more employment opportunities anywhere they want to live and work. The lower educated high skilled employees will find gaining employment faster and easier in metro and urban areas rather than in the places they may already live.

Final Thoughts

I believe that if everything I wrote about was put into place or addressed then some of the nursing shortages would be temporarily fixed. That is because once these ideas are implemented corporations wanting profits will try to end safe staffing. There are only so many people in nursing and healthcare that will be able or want to relocate and take various open positions. Nurse-centric entertainment and representation will run their course and Physicians will go back to being the focus in entertainment. Lastly, there is easier and higher-paying work outside of nursing.


References

As The Oscars Exit - William Dever

Red Shirt 6 has 3 years experience as a CNA.

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10 Comment(s)

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience. 2,945 Posts

"The more obviously one's work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it." (David Graeber, anthropologist/ quoted in The New Yorker)

~sad, but true~

Mr. Murse

Mr. Murse

Specializes in Critical Care/Vascular Access. Has 11 years experience. 395 Posts

There's never been a literal nursing shortage. It's a misnomer. There are plenty of RNs out there to fill every needed nursing roll, and there are plenty of nurslings rolling out of school every semester all across the country. The problem is that there's simply not enough nurses willing to work for the pay and work conditions that are being offered. Which is why travel nurses and contract nurses are dominating staffing in so many hospitals right now.

Tommy5677

Tommy5677

104 Posts

My career is winding down now as I enter semiretirement and pursue new endeavors. I must admit though that nursing in general has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Let's start a list:
1. Who ever thought of the12 hour shift should have their head examined. Oh let me guess. It wasn't a nurse.
2. Hospital administrators who think nurses are a dime a dozen, routinely abuse them and are now actively involved in attempting to cap nurse salaries. They seem to go right for the nurses when trying to balance the budget.
3. Nursing administrators who are more concerned with their own a**es than the welfare of their charges, abuse nurses, and routinely side with hospital administration.
4. Nurses enjoy eating their young.
5. Studies have shown that imported nurses (India, Philippines), are better trained than we are.
6. Remember when hiring nurses was left up to the nursing dept? I do. Now it starts with HR and 5 interviews just to get a staff position.
7. Intense competition for a single position. Why? Because nursing departments only advertise for 1 position when there should be 10.
8. Nurses who are politically challenged anti-unionists.
9. Constantly quibbling over single entry level. Diplomas nurses, though I essentially agree with scrapping the programs, can run circles around any BSN. Now that we have 2 entry levels we should be happy with them. We're not. It also isn't fair to AS nurses that they have been relegated to the bedside... in a nursing home no less, affording them fewer opportunities. Isn't it ironic then that BSN's claim they are less safe than BSN's. Hmm. Let's think about this for a moment. None of the extras the BSN has (community health, research, leadership) are on the exam. So how is that? It's no less difficult to get into an ASN program than a BSN program. ASN programs are no less grueling than a BSN. Yes, nursing school is a gruel.
10. And... and...and...and.......
 

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 9,896 Posts

Nursing never left a bitter taste in my mouth, for it was a worthy endeavor and I did what I pretty much set out to do: Help others, make money, do techy stuff, feel good about myself, and meet chicks. In that order.

Having worked in the field over four decades, I can see how nursing has become, to put it in a nice way, more of a challenge. But so has many areas of life, and there have been some radical improvements in numerous areas, also. Like Charles Dickens wrote over 150 years ago, "It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times".

Times get better, then they get worse, then they get better, then they get worse, ad infinitum. Life follows Newton's Laws of Motion in that for every reaction, there's an equal and opposite reaction and it's perpetual like the swing of the pendulum.

Every area of life has its fair share of BS and we do what we can to deal with it or fix it. But it's like Garrison Keillor said, "All fixes are temporary".

I applaud Red Shirt for endeavoring to problem solve through suggestions, as I give credence to Tommy5677 for his perspective. We all just have to keep on keeping on and do the best we can under the given circumstances.

Leader25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 39 years experience. 1,263 Posts

Bitter taste,PTSD, and great wonderful experience,co workers worth their weight in gold.

Mgmt should pull their skull out of their  butt and stop devaluing the bedside nurse,she is the core,the heart,and it is not a low value career or a stepping stone to dubious mgmt position.Being able to carve a career at the bedside and remain there should be celebrated as a pinnacle goal.I have nurses ashamed when comparing jobs with old chums that they did not "progress" away from bedside into "career" in whatever.

When I am old and sick I want a great bedside nurse not some pencil pusher ,lab coat wearing ghost,who spends most of the in "meetings" with free coffee,bagels,wraps,while the staff goes hungry and bladder painfully full.

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience. 2,945 Posts

Leader25, ....AMEN!

I wish I could "Like" the above post a dozen times!

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,250 Posts

Minimal nursing staff is a decades long strategy.  If only bedside nurses billed for their care. 

OUxPhys

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 7 years experience. 1,185 Posts

On 6/2/2022 at 8:26 AM, Mr. Murse said:

There's never been a literal nursing shortage. It's a misnomer. There are plenty of RNs out there to fill every needed nursing roll, and there are plenty of nurslings rolling out of school every semester all across the country. The problem is that there's simply not enough nurses willing to work for the pay and work conditions that are being offered. Which is why travel nurses and contract nurses are dominating staffing in so many hospitals right now.

This and the hospitals are also responsible with their obsession of obtaining magnet status and removing LPNs. This is all self-inflicted, not from lack of people entering the work force.

I think NP's should have to work a few years as bedside nurses before becoming NP's.

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,560 Posts

13 minutes ago, Kooky Korky said:

I think NP's should have to work a few years as bedside nurses before becoming NP's.

I think you will find that the only people who disagree with you are NPs who have never worked as a nurse.