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Employer Resources / Healthcare staffing shortages / What Can Be Done To Fix The Current Nursing Shortage?

What Can Be Done To Fix The Current Nursing Shortage?

Nursing shortages are usually defined and measured in relation to a country's historical workforce, resources, and estimates of demand for health services. Deficiency can be further described in the definition of absolute and relative terms. An absolute shortage is when qualified people are not available for a specific job vacancy. In contrast, relative poverty is a situation where qualified people are available for a vacancy; however, they do not meet other employment criteria.

Factors Affecting Nursing Shortage

The United States, as a first-world nation, is not spared from this global crisis. One factor influencing the nursing shortage in the US is the inability of nursing schools to increase enrollment due to a shortage of nursing faculty. The following factors contribute to the nursing faculty shortage:

  • low salaries of educators compared to doctors
  • the age-lagged trajectory of nurses obtaining higher levels of education
  • late point in career development for entry into educational roles
  • ability to fill open faculty roles and
  • the impending retirement of a large number of currently employed nursing educators

Effects of Nursing Shortage

As mentioned in the opening section of this post, the shortage of nurses in the healthcare industry can have many negative effects on the community, the nation, and even on the global stage. A number of studies have demonstrated associations between nurse staffing levels and a range of negative health outcomes. Buchan & Aiken (2010) identified these factors:

  • increased mortality
  • side effects after surgery
  • increased incidence of violence against employees
  • increased accident rate and patient injury a
  • increased rate of cross-infection.

Ways to Address The Issue

The following statements are recommendations gathered from several nurse experts that can help increase the supply of nurses in the country using all the possible resources available:

1. Teach More Nurses Online

Opening more online nursing schools would help solve the nursing crisis at its core. Not only is the capacity for online nursing education greater than the capacity for on-campus education, but nurse educators can also make better use of their time, the programs are less expensive, and most of these programs do not have a waiting list.

2. Teach more nurse educators.

The capacity of most nursing programs to expand is limited by the abilities of qualified nurse educators. However, the number of programs that teach current nurses the skills to teach aspiring nurses is insufficient. Schools must increase their capacity to teach more nurse educators through a combination of public and private incentives and partnerships.

3. Create a healthy work environment

The current work environment is stressful for many nurses. The lack of nurses only makes it worse. The mental and emotional state of individuals who have to work in a stressful environment causes a decline in the quality of medical care. Management needs the freedom to create a dynamic work environment and come up with creative solutions so that today's nursing workforce can work in a healthy environment.

4. Educational strategy

Currently, there are hospitals that are using educational strategies to address the nursing shortage. These strategies included partnering with nursing schools, subsidizing wages, reimbursing nurses for educational advancement, and providing flexibility for employees to take courses that can further their careers. The private sector is already doing what it does best, extracting maximum productivity from a situation that needs it. Best practices can be shared between different organizations.

5. Collaboration at the top

It is important that those at the top work together to ensure a safe environment for nurses to provide quality care to consumers. To do this, solutions must be created to keep a steady supply of registered nurses in stock to secure tomorrow's healthcare and mitigate the impact of the nursing crisis.


The scale of the nursing shortage is negatively impacting the goals of global health systems improvement. Failure to address nursing shortages, whether local, regional, national, or global, will ultimately lead to failing healthcare systems and poor healthcare outcomes.


Post by Saniya Mahajan
December 3, 2022


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