Nursing Shortage Essays

Essay Introduction

In the healthcare workforce, nurses make up the largest percentage of the population. Despite that, there is still an issue with the shortage of nurses all around the world. The shortage of nurses is a concern that will only get worse as the years go by.

Research Paper on Nursing Shortage

There are a few factors that influence the shortage of nurses. The aging population is one of the major factors that affect the nursing shortage, and it is leading to an increase in patients that need care and will also affect the number of nurses that are left in the workforce in the next few years. Nursing turnover and burnout are other factors that impact the nursing shortage. The nursing shortage is an issue that is necessary to correct because it begins to affect nurses and the work they put out. This is seen to alter the care patients receive and patient safety.

Reasons for the nursing shortage

There are a few reasons for the shortage of registered nurses that are seen. One of them is the age of the nurses working in the field as well as the age of the nursing faculty. As stated by Haddad and Toney-butler (2020), roughly one million registered nurses are over the age of 50, meaning that one-third of the nursing population, including nursing faculty, will be retiring within the next 10-15 years. This not only puts a strain on hospitals but as well as the schools that are responsible for future nurses. This would affect the number of students that would be admitted into nursing programs, thus directly affecting the number of new registered nurses that would be coming into the workforce to help make up for the nurses who have gone into retirement. Burnout also accounts for nursing shortages. Burnout occurs a lot in the nursing field, and this is when nurses begin to suffer from emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.

According to Nantsupawat et al. (2016), job turnover is a significant aftermath that is caused by burnout. They also state how turnover not only occurs in the traditional manner of nurses leaving the workforce together but also occurs in the form of nurses leaving a unit to work in another unit. This places extra strain on the nurses who stay on the units that have a high turnover rate causing them to become even more physically and mentally exhausted than they already were. There has also been an expansion in the number of people who require the aid of healthcare workers; baby boomers are one of the main reasons why. They will all reach retirement within the year 2029, and this will raise the number of people over the age of 65 by 73%. As people get older, they tend to need more assistance in terms of healthcare. Elderly people hardly even have just one medical issue. People have longer life expectancies than before, and a lot of medical issues that were once fatal are conditions in which people can live long lives if treated with the proper care (Haddad, 2020).

Argumentative Essay Examples on Nursing Shortage

Patient care and safety are heavily impacted by the nursing shortage. Nursing shortages contribute to the high ratio of patients to nurses. These high ratios place patients in harm’s way. As stated early, nursing shortages have led to greater incidences of burnout which can furthermore affect the care a patient receives as well as their safety. As nurses, it is our duty to advocate for our patients. Part of that is patient safety. Having to manage a large number of patients at the same time increase the risk of errors being made.

An area in nursing that experiences high incidents of patient-to-nurse ratios in nursing homes. White, Aiken, & Mchugh (2019) stated that in nursing homes, 95% of nurses who struggle with burnout reported that they missed at least one task of care during each of their shifts. A task that was missed by roughly 50% of nurses experiencing burnout was patient surveillance. Patient surveillance is crucial in nursing homes. Most of the population in nursing homes is at risk for falls, and an increase in injuries can occur without proper supervision. A lot of patients in nursing homes also suffer from dementia. These patients tend to confuse easily and have issues performing simple daily activities.

During these patients’ moments of confusion, they are at risk of not only injuring themselves but also other patients. Nurses going through burnout also miss tasks such as comforting and talking with patients, teaching, as well as developing care plans (White et al., 2019). Missing a task like teaching is a major issue. Teaching is a central part of our jobs as nurses. Without teaching, we are depriving patients not only of being able to improve their health but also depriving them of having some form of control over their lives. If a patient is not taught about their medical issue or how to properly administer their own medication, they will have to depend on others.

Thesis Statement for Nursing Shortage Essay

If the nursing shortage is not addressed, patient safety will be furthermore put at risk, more nurses will experience burnout, and turnovers in the nursing field will continue to rise. A method by which nursing shortage can be corrected is by bringing back nurses who have left the field. Increasing the age for retirement could possibly be another answer for cutting down on the nursing shortage. Reducing the amount of turnover that is witnessed in the nursing field will aid in the nursing shortage. The decision to leave one’s job is highly affected by the relationship with their nursing unit managers.

An issue that occurs with nursing unit managers is that they are not always nurses. These managers then need more time to be able to transition into their jobs, creating an unstable environment during that time period. If these managers are not nurses, they also have a hard time understanding the perspective of the nurses working in the unit. Factors in a manager that are important to nurses are that they are supportive, able to resolve any disagreements that occur with physicians and recognize nurses for doing their job correctly. If the nurses on the unit feel that management is “strong, consistent, and effective,” they will be content with their jobs and will be less inclined to leave (Duffield et al., 2015).

Research Papers

Many studies have shown how the aging population has the biggest impact on the nursing shortage. The age population will cause an increase in patients seen in the healthcare system as well as cause the nursing community to lose one-third of its staffing. The shortage of nurses is seen to have a direct impact on nursing turnover and burnout. The turnover of nurses can be fixed if the environment in which nurses work in are corrected. Having nursing unit managers that have good leadership traits is seen to have a good impact on the nurses in the unit and a decrease in nursing turnover. Nursing shortages increase patient-nurse ratios and burnout among nurses. These two concerns cause an increase in errors to occur that only affect patient care but also patient safety.


The nursing shortage is an issue that needs to be taken care of. Nothing concrete has been done to help fix the problem. Finding ways to decrease turnover with nurses could help keep the nurses we have now. But solutions still have to be found to address the dilemma of the retirement of one-third of the nurses that will occur in the next 10-15 years. If this issue is not addressed correctly, it will continue to affect patients’ care and safety, along with the well-being of our nurses.

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