Nurses take on the roles of empowering patients to actually look at their lifestyle and identify how they can care for their own health. It doesn’t have to be high tech, or even hugely costly, but getting people involved in active lives in our communities will assist the health promotions and well-being agenda for the future generations to come. Although a nursing shortage has been a chronic disaster for numerous years without the problem being fixed, non-eligible nurses, shortage of educators, and baby boomers have all factored into this shortage immensely increasing the shortage.
People often underrate nurses and the complex education credentials they have to uphold to. According to the statistics of the National Council on State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) only 84.5% of the 157,882 whole took it passed on the first attempt in 2015. With that said, the other 15.5% failed the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) RN. The test is graded as pass or fail, and although you get a Nursing License and are qualified enough to start working in the hospital, no plague will prepare you for the high stress and critical thinking you have to endure on your own. As they say, it takes a special type of person to become a nurse.
A big problem that is attributing to this shortage is the intense competition getting into nursing programs. The general response to this would be, How would there be a competition getting into nursing schools if there’s a high need for nurses? Cable News Network (CNN) Money wrote a story on how in the middle of a nursing shortage, nursing schools are actually rejecting thousands of applicants. While there is a worldwide nursing crisis, applicants that have graduated at the top of their class, some with a 3.5 GPA or better, are getting turned down from nursing schools. As I’m sure you have to pass and score above a certain percent, its shocking to see how lucrative and hard it is to be accepted to further your education to contribute to this disaster. (Kavilanz, 2018)
The struggle to find qualified teachers is also a problem with not only properly training nurses but it limits the nursing school staff which limits potential applicants. According to CNN, The annual national faculty vacancy rate in the nursing program is over 7%. That’s about two teachers per nursing school or shortage of 1,565 teachers. This is a very high percentage of nursing schools without enough teachers. It puts enormous stress on the health care system in general. Clearly, there’s a supply and demand gap in nursing and nursing teachers and it is likely it will only continue to grow. Not to mention the NCSBS raised the passing standard on the NCLEX further complicating the matter.
Taking a closer look at the reasons behind the faculty shortage there are a complex amount of factors which all have a interconnected role as why such a shortage currently exists. Low salaries is one of the primary drivers why many clinical practices do not pursue to academia. Older age of faculty and their pending time of retirement also play a role. The workload of faculty is a problem when its constantly changing, many faculty feel they are not meeting the role expectations.
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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