Nurses are considered as the largest population of professionals in the health care systems. The nursing population currently confronts sever shortages especially of younger and RNs nurses that could threaten the quality of care and patients’ safety, nurses’ job satisfaction, and organizational productivity. According to Flinkman and others’ fact that “Most countries within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have reported a nursing shortage, which is predicted to get worse because the current nursing population is aging”. Even nursing education institutions could not fill healthcare organizations demands of graduated nurses because they also suffer from shortages of nursing faculty (Erlen, 2004).
The shortage of nurses has been a prevalent factor around the world for decades. Position vacancies and turnover have led to recent restructuring intended to meet the anticipated demands of the aging baby boomer generation. This paper addresses the causes, concerns, and solutions with nursing shortages and how patient safety, job satisfaction, retention, and workload can improve if the necessary steps are taken.
The nursing workforce is particularly challenged when it comes to retaining high quality nurses in the profession. This issue is relevant to new and seasoned nurses alike. There are senior nurses experiencing burnout intending to leave the workforce before retirement age and new nurses leaving the profession prematurely, creating too much nurse turnover. When turnover takes place unexpectedly and prior to retirement, the collective effect is financially and socially detrimental to the nursing profession and healthcare institutions. High nurse turnover can influence a healthcare organization’s ability to provide quality patient care and accomplish the best possible patient outcomes (Hayes et al., 2006). Investigating the sources of high nurse turnover rates and the negative impact on healthcare will bring greater understanding to this nursing workforce issue.
In addition to concerns about the adequacy of the supply of nurses the financial impact of high turnover was startling. According to Jones (2005) Using the updated Nursing Turnover Cost Calculation Methodology, the per RN true cost of nurse turnover is calculated to be 1.2–1.3 times the RN annual salary. That estimate is derived from a retrospective, descriptive study of external RN turnover cost data at an acute care hospital with over 600 beds. The findings indicate that the three highest cost categories were vacancy, orientation and training and newly hired RN productivity. (as cited in Kooker & Kamikawa, C. 2011). For example, At the Queen’s Medical Center, the annual salary of an experienced RN is currently $91,520. Therefore, using the
Changes in health care financing in the 1990s were accompanied by a variety of cost-cutting measures in hospitals across the United States. Common cost-cutting strategies included reducing the total number of nursing hours per patient day and reducing the percentage of hours supplied by registered nurses (RNs), the most highly paid group. The reduction in staffing led to widespread concern that patient care in acute care settings would suffer.
Hospitals and nursing homes that have consistently unsafe nurse-patient staffing ratios experience higher than normal mortality and morbidity.
By 2020, there will be 20 percent fewer nurses than are necessary to staff hospitals, nursing homes, school infirmaries and other health institutions throughout the United States. The World Health Organization last year said the shortages amounted to a global staffing crisis.
United States healthcare industries had been constantly going through the issue Of shortage of Healthcare professional nurses, and many of these positions are occupied by professional nurses from different countries. Nursing shortage had been an enormous alarming since many years and expected to continue in coming years. After years of speculation, it has been officially confirmed that there is a nursing shortage in the United States (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2002). By numerous reports this shortage will reach crisis proportions by 2015 when there will be a 20% shortage of available nurses (Andrews & Dziegielewski, 2005). In the United States, nurses are extremely needed to upkeep the needs of healthcare industries, nurses make up the highest single piece of hospital employees.