Healthcare Staffing is Strained by the Worsening Nursing Shortage

Picture that shows the worsening nursing shortage
Written by
Miranda Kay, RN
March 11, 2022

A Serious Problem Facing the Healthcare Industry

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of registered nursing jobs will grow by 9% between 2016 and 2026, a rate much faster than the average for all other occupations. 

While this is great news for nurses looking to enter the field or advance their careers, it's also a sign of a real problem facing hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, and other health care organizations. In order to deal with this shortage, healthcare staffing apps are proving valuable in their efforts to find qualified nurses to fill these open jobs by the shift

Nursing Shortage, More Than a Trend for Healthcare Staffing 

There are not enough nurses to fill positions in many states. In fact, a Healthline article from 2021, states that as the baby-boom generation continues to age, there will be an exceptional strain on the healthcare system, and a projection that over a million new nurses will be needed by 2030. Furthermore, nurses are retiring at higher rates than they have in the past, leaving gaps in the workforce that major cities such as New York and rural regions alike struggle to fill. There were nearly 100,000 vacant nursing positions in the U.S. as of 2021, according to Becker's Hospital Review, and this number is only expected to increase as more baby boomers reach retirement age.

Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, the former Kentucky Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, expressed that the nursing shortage is more than just a trend for health care facilities to follow. In an article posted in Deming Headlight: It’s Your Turn: Nursing Shortage Threatens America’s Healthcare System, Glisson notes that since the onset of COVID-19, the nursing shortage is a crisis and an urgent one at that, writing:

“Faced with a lack of nursing staff, hospitals have been forced to reduce the number of beds available, including closing whole wings. In short, the healthcare industry is trying to cope with difficult conditions that are unprecedented.”

Because nurses are often already stretched thin across health care facilities nationwide, many organizations are turning to resourceful nursing apps such as NURSA ™ to help fill open shifts with qualified candidates. This is great news for nurses looking for PRN nursing jobs.

Why is There a Nursing Shortage?

Nursing is an honorable and rewarding career, but it can be quite demanding and stressful. Unfortunately, the demand for nurses is increasing at an outpacing supply rate, resulting in a nursing shortage that is expected to reach up to 260,000 nurses by 2025, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

There are several factors contributing to this shortage. A large portion of nurses is nearing retirement age, while fewer young people are seeking careers in nursing. Moreover, health care reform has led to more Americans looking for some type of health care treatment, subsequently leading to increased demand for nurses.

Furthermore, it's not uncommon to hear stories, such as one article posted in Fierce Healthcare, about how either hospitals are being gouged by prices, or how they are struggling financially and thus need a cost-effective way to get workers through the doors, so they can treat more people. In the end, the grim reality of the nursing crisis lay somewhere between these foreboding factors.

PRN Nurses Provide Some Relief For Healthcare Facilities 

Some hospitals and other health care facilities have addressed the shortage by using PRN registered nurses (RNs) who pick up a shift or a series of shifts. But what exactly are PRN nurses, and how do they help address the nursing shortage?

A PRN nurse or clinician provides temporary relief at a health care facility by filling in for permanent staff members like registered nurses who are out on maternity leave or extended sick leave. How do these facility managers find the per diem clinicians they require? 

For example, a hospital may need some shifts in the schedule filled for an employee’s vacation, but would rather save the costs of hiring an actual employee. Therefore, they can post the available shifts in NursaTM, and clinicians can pick up a shift or a series of shifts in the app.

So, How Can Healthcare Staffing Apps Help Hospitals?

Healthcare staffing apps can provide a valuable service to hospitals and other facilities requiring temporary staff. What’s more, is that short-term healthcare staffing apps work in real-time with their clients to help highly qualified and experienced clinicians. Healthcare staffing apps have access to a diversity of qualified nursing candidates from all over the country 

Many nursing apps have an efficient screening process, including full background checks and drug testing, which ensures that only the best candidates are presented for hire. Apps such as Nursa™ can provide per diem clinicians when a hospital experiences an influx of patients or is short-staffed due to vacations, sick employees, etc. Healthcare staffing apps also foster connections within the healthcare facilities and can help hospitals fill hard-to-fill positions such as nurse practitioners and nurse educators.

One of the most significant benefits is that healthcare staffing apps like Nursa™ can quickly fill any shift, from licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to registered nurses (RNs) to chief nursing officers (CNOs) - as needed. This is particularly beneficial for hospitals looking for staff during peak times, such as during flu season or in high demand due to an outbreak of illness. In addition, per diem healthcare staffing apps can help clinicians find shifts who want to work full-time on a short-term basis.

The Nursing Shortage Should Be Taken Seriously 

The nursing shortage is a serious issue currently facing the healthcare industry. As a result, having adequate healthcare staffing is proving to be difficult in many medical facilities around the country. Despite the best efforts of the government and private businesses to remedy this issue, an imminent nursing shortage has been brewing for years. One article published in Socialist Alternative contributes the nursing crisis to years of poor planning in education and training, price gouging, financial constraints, low wages, and teleworking. In addition, research has shown that one of the leading causes of this sudden shortage is an aging workforce and inadequate training for new nurses in critical care skills. 

As the nursing shortage continues to surge, apps such as Nursa™ can fill the demand for PRN RN shifts that are available in real-time, connecting experienced medical professionals with health care facilities around the country. Go ahead and take advantage of the digital era and download Nursa™ today.

Blog published on:
March 11, 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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