“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for registered nurses is expected to increase by 16 percent from 2014 to 2024. This rise will add an additional 439,300 job opportunities for nurses.” (Bradley, 2016) So, why is this prediction so precise? This prediction of the fall of our healthcare comes from the aging baby boomer population. Approximately 75 million people, who fall into the category of having a birth rate following the World War II are considered to be baby boomers. The baby boomers are heavily influencing the health care system and the nursing profession. Hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes all challenge nurses to provide more critical and invasive care to ensure this generation to live longer. (Bradley, 2016)
On the same hand, the older the generation is getting, the lower the jobs are becoming. While we already have this relevant problem of nursing, the demand of nursing is intensified by the aging baby boomers. Nurses considering retirement are two-thirds of baby boomers. This seems to be an unending cycle. As there are not enough spots for nurses to fill, some employed nurses are soon to be resigning from their nursing position which causes even more of a shortage.
“The harm to the healthcare industry goes beyond the numbers. The loss of this intellectual asset may be acutely felt in terms of quality of care and patient satisfaction. To withstand this loss, healthcare administrators need help in preparing for the nursing workforce of the future. The survey found that nursing education roles will be hit hard by the retirement surge, which could impact the ability to educate incoming nurses who will replace those who retire.” Numerous factors play into this problem because without experienced nurses to educate and gain knowledge from prevents potential new nurses from gaining experience and becoming an effective nurse. You can’t become a successful, life saving nurse a priori, and just expect to know what to do in every instance in real life, you have to observe other nurses and doctors. You gain knowledge watching other people work to know how to treat patients and how to communicate effectively.
What are things our healthcare can do to prepare for this shortage? Healthcare is constantly evolving, and nursing advancements must continue to include changes in the technology used to support it. Currently at the forefront of healthcare is the need to be ready for the aging population of baby boomers (a generation of people born 1946-1964). Because health deterioration affects more people over the age of 65, the healthcare infrastructure must adapt to this diverse groups needs. Mannheim’s Sociology of Generations, a book written by Jane Pilcher, analysis the problem of generations and the rhythm to it. She states, “He maintains that attempts to discover the ‘rhythm of history’ can be achieved only through research into the ‘nearer and more transparent fabric of social processes’ and their influence on the phenomenon of generations, since ‘any biological rhythm must work itself out through the medium of social events.” I think this is a very relevant concept because this shortage has been a long going with no or very little effort to fix this problem. People should start analysing our society as a whole in relation to chronic disasters to potentially fix these problems.
Even though there are challenges adjusting to any new advances in healthcare, the world’s current fast paced current technological advancements mold well with the successfully and timely inclusion of necessary requirements for managing this boomer generation. According to Shiftwizard, nursing officer Shane Parker offers his own solutions to overcoming this shortage. One of them being accommodating schedules to professional nurses. He states, “Achieving and maintaining a personal and professional life balance is often difficult for nurses, and nurse leaders can improve nurse recruitment by offering altered schedules for nurses that better accommodate both their personal and professional needs.” This could be an effective solution because some potential nurses who are interested in the health field simply can’t because of their background and schedule. For instance, a single mother of 3 children can’t simply work 12 hour shifts as she has to transport and take care of her kids. The ability of offering flexible shifts can easily draw in more nurses and gain satisfaction.
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