Most people these days in the nursing field or pursuing a nursing career realize that there is a severe shortage of nurses and that it’s only going to get worse. Have you ever wondered what is causing the shortage? Here are five reasons why hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools, clinics, and other employers all across America (in small towns and big cities) are scrambling to find nurses.
1. Nursing teachers aren’t paid well enough. This is one of the main causes of the nursing shortage. It’s hard to attract nurses into teaching positions because private employers such as hospitals and clinics pay much better. As a result, colleges turn away many qualified nursing school candidates every year because they just don’t have enough nursing teachers to accommodate so many applicants.
2. Nursing teachers are aging and retiring. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the average age of nursing school professors is 52 years. When these aging professors retire, there will be even fewer nursing teachers – unless steps are taken to offer a considerably better salary.
3. An aging baby boomer population creates a need for more nurses. As people age they obviously develop more health-care issues and need more healthcare assistance. With the baby boom aging explosion, there is an unprecedented demand on the healthcare industry – requiring more nurses than the industry has.
4. Fairly high turnover in the nursing profession. Every year, a significant percentage of nurses leave the profession that they thought they’d love. The job is stressful to say the least. On top of the daily stresses of the job, nurses are in fear of losing their licenses for mistakes they may make because of the work load they are forced to take on.
5. An aging nursing population. According to the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, the average age of registered nurses in 2008 was 46 years. It was 45 years of age in 2000.
Now that you understand why there is such a severe shortage of nurses, you can appreciate the “chaos” that is the nursing industry right now. Hopefully as a country we can work together and figure out solutions to the shortage.