The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a large deficit in the nursing profession between the present time and 2025 (American Traveler, 2013). Because of the increasing number of nurses who will retire and the surge of Baby Boomer’s growing medical needs, it is predicted that by 2025, 260,000 nursing jobs will remain unfulfilled! This will certainly have a profound impact on the nursing profession and on the public in general. Inadequate staffing, a result of the nursing shortage, will cause an increased burden upon nurses who are asked to take heavier assignments with less help. As a result, nurses may experience high-stress, exhaustion, burnout, job dis-satisfaction, and even abandonment of the nursing profession (AA of Colleges of Nursing, 2017). Nurses may have to work longer shifts under more stressful conditions; this can lead to injury, fatigue, and medical errors. Patient neglect may occur and the quality of care suffers.
Many are concerned that the upcoming nursing shortage will directly affect patient care and safety. Studies and statistics show that in facilities whereby nurses are assigned more than four patients, greater adversities occur. For example, it has been shown that nurse burnout is associated with increased rates of infection, readmissions, and mortality rates (AA of Colleges of Nursing, 2017).
We may ask ourselves: what is being done to prevent this impending problem? Many initiatives to prevent a nursing shortage are currently underway and include university, statewide, and government programs. One very interesting project by the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company is called the “Campaign for Nursing’s Future”. Begun in 2002, the campaign includes a $50 million nationwide initiative designed to recruit new nurses and college faculty. Other goals of the organization include an enhanced image of nursing and the encouragement of nurses to remain in their profession. Over the years, the campaign has raised $20 million for nursing grants and scholarships and has distributed over 32 million brochures and pieces of recruitment literature to schools, hospitals, and career centers. The campaign makes extensive use of the media and even released three television commercials in 2011! They have a comprehensive website at www.DiscoverNursing.com for those who are interested.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2017). Nursing shortage fact sheet.
American Traveler (2013). Nursing shortage and job growth projections through 2025.
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