What Is the Nursing Shortage and Can It Be Fixed?

picture of struggling nurses during a shortage
Written by
Miranda Kay, RN
November 12, 2022

The nursing shortage in the United States is not something new. As a matter of fact, it has been decades running with no signs of slowing down. To better understand the nursing shortage and how to tackle the situation, a little background is necessary to know how we got here and how to best move forward. Keep reading to learn about the history of the nursing shortage, how to meet the demand for more nurses, nurse staffing solutions, student nurses who work, and how to use a staffing app to hire PRN or per diem healthcare workers near your facility.

History of the Nursing Shortage:

Registered nurses (RNs), certified nurse assistants (CNAs), licensed nurse practitioners (LPNs), and many other areas of healthcare have been significantly impacted by shortages. Why are healthcare facilities facing massive staffing crises? The recent leading cause is the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recent surge of patients and stress endured by healthcare workers is not the only reason for the great nursing losses, nor is it a new issue. There are issues on many levels, and tackling them at each level is necessary and the best way forward. Since this trend has been going on for some time now, it is easier for professionals to recognize the issues and where they start and are coming up with innovative ways to make things better. This shortage is not just a problem for hospitals but for educational facilities, training facilities, and even test-taking and certification facilities. The great news is that this issue is on everyone's radar, and approaches to the situation are evolving. 

How to Fix the Nursing Shortages:

Most people think the pandemic alone drove all the nurses away and is the leading cause of the mass exodus of nurses. However, this is only a portion of the actual truth. In fact, some of the other outlining reasons for the mass exodus include the lack of feedback from the administration, low enrollment in nursing schools, incentives, financial help, and poor working conditions. Nurses all over the country are coming together to help make reforms and develop innovative ways to address the shortage issues. 

Interestingly, healthcare clinician salary ranks lower on the want list of many nurses than improved working conditions, help with financial assistance, continuing education learning credits/experiences, and incentives to pursue nursing careers. One would think that salary is another leading cause of the lack of nurse retention and subsequent nursing and allied healthcare staff shortages. But the major programs in today's war on staffing are becoming more solvable with mindful solutions.  

Nurse Staffing Solutions

When it comes to solutions for the nursing crisis, it has to be looked at from many levels. Start at the educational viewpoint. There is a lack of enrollment, and that is an imminent threat to short-staffed hospitals and healthcare facilities. But some hospitals, even in the private sector, investor solutions are looking into giving incentives to people in impoverished areas, scholarships, and help with nursing schools. On a hospital scale, they want the highest qualified and skilled employees. Some hospitals and healthcare facilities offer extra credits, tuition help, and even forgiveness for direct commitments from students. Another way the nursing shortage is tackled is by filling PRN shifts with local per diem RNs, LPNs, and CNAs.

Student Nurses Work While Training:

Hospitals need to be more flexible with nurses and allow them to pursue areas where patient care can increase due to their interests and abilities. Nurses generally do rotation shifts in different care areas. It would benefit the hospitals and healthcare facilities to allow the nurses to pursue areas of medicine that fit their desires and likes. Working student nurses can explore different areas of nursing and find where they would like to focus more intimately. In fact, it is the best solution for student nurses that are now just exploring the various fields in which they can contribute. Read our previous article that guides you on choosing a nursing specialty that you'll love.

How to Meet the Demand for Nurses:

Higher pays, more manageable hours, and proper response from upper management and administration greatly compose the ingredients that help the demand for nurses instead of contributing to the imbalanced patient-to-nurse ratios. But the problem is more than just the need for qualified new nurses level. Hospitals cite that incoming recruits lack experience, knowledge, and skills. New nurses must look to credible sources to give and receive the necessary skill sets for nursing work. Many hospitals say they have more than enough applicants for the post and PRN shift posted, but they need more experienced nurses and CNAs. 

Healthcare Nurse Staffing Applications:

Nursa is a one-stop place for healthcare facilities to help with nursing shortages. Nursa can fill PRN and per diem jobs for healthcare facilities throughout the United States. Click here to join up for a half-hour demonstration on Nursa, which can help save money, and time and help manage the wants and needs of any healthcare facility. 

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Blog published on:
November 12, 2022

Miranda is a Registered Nurse, Medical Fact Checker, and Publishing Editor at Nursa. Her work has been featured in publications including the American Nurses Association (ANA), Healthcare IT Outcomes, International Living, and more.

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