It is projected that the shortage of registered and trained nurses will be intensified as the demand for health care grows amidst a growing economy and population. As existing nurses reach their age of retirement, new nurses will be required to fill the void left behind. Failure to do so may lead to a nursing shortage.
A nursing shortage occurs when the demand for qualified nurses exceeds the supply. This will result in difficulty providing quality healthcare as the amount of time to serve a patient increases and there will be an excess burden on each nurse to provide quality care. Health centers may be forced to turn down new patients due to a lack of adequate nursing manpower.
Potential causes of the nursing shortage
Increasing population size and age
As the population grows and more people get old, there is a need for additional nurses to cater for their services. Without a proportionate increase in the number of nurses, there will be an increase in the number of patients a single nurse will have to care for, which creates stress on the part of the nurse whereas the aging population doesn’t receive quality care.
Lack of teachers and infrastructure
The inability to educate enough nursing students every year has led to a growing shortage of nurses. Due to lack of enough teachers and proper infrastructure schools are turning down thousands of potential students.
As an increasing number of nurses reach the age of their retirement, the gap will continue to widen between the demand and supply of qualified nurses.
Healthcare reforms are aimed at providing basic healthcare facilities to more individuals in the community. However, providing health care to an increased number of people without increasing the number of nurses puts immense stress and burden on existing nurses. This leads to work dissatisfaction and physical and mental fatigue among them. This results in nurses quitting their jobs causing a further shortage.
The impact that a shortage of nurses has on existing nurses:
- Increased mental and emotional stress
- Increased work-related mistakes due to mental fatigue
- Increased demands placed on the body
- Lack of career satisfaction and appreciation of work
- Difficulty scheduling of duty and conflicts
- Lack of childcare
Why more nurses are required?
More qualified nurses are required to meet future demands of healthcare because:
- With the growing population and economy, there will be more nurse shortages in the future.
- By increasing the number of nurses patients will receive optimum healthcare, especially in lower-income areas.
- For better prevention and care of an injury, disease, and mental illness.
- For faster patient recovery.
- Significant reductions in work-related errors and patient costs.
- It will help existing nurses have decreased work-related stress.
- It will help improve communication between nurses and help for better duty scheduling.
- Improved work satisfaction, improved patient healthcare, and improvement in the economy.
Nursing Specialties that are needed
As the demand for trained nurses is growing, so is the field of nursing. If you want to contribute to reducing nurse shortage in the future while having a secure job and leading a quality life, the nursing field is the one for you. There are multiple specialties of nursing. Knowing about these specialties will help you in deciding the type of nurse you want to become.
While choosing to enroll in any nursing specialty you should do so only from an accredited school. https://www.mydegreeguide.com/ is a good resource to find an accredited nursing program If you also want a flexible timetable without having to spend more than 4 years of your life in a classroom, you can apply for accelerated online nursing programs that provide accredited nursing degrees of all specialties.
Here is a list of nursing specialties that could be considered According to www.gmercyu.edu:
Registered Nurse: The job of a registered nurse is to provide and coordinate proper patient care and educate the patient and the public about various health conditions. These nurses also give advice and provide emotional support to the family members of the ill. This specialty is for you if you want to work in a team of healthcare practitioners after only a few years of study.
Cardiac Nurse: If you are interested in various functions of the heart and issues related to it, this is the nursing specialty for you. As a cardiac nurse, you will assist in various surgical procedures of the heart. You will also be involved in the care of heart patients.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): This is a highly specialized nursing specialty that deals with assisting anesthesia during and after surgeries. It is a highly paid specialty and if you are interested in assisting patients to manage pain before and after surgery this is the specialty for you.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): If you have leadership qualities and want a leading role in the field of nursing, this is the specialty for you. You will require advising and educating other nurses to improve patient care.
Critical Care Nurse: Critical care nurses as the name suggests are the nurses trained especially for managing critical situations. If you are interested in assisting patients during major traumatic events or serious illnesses, this is the specialty for you.
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ER Nurse: If you are someone who can cope in a high-pressure scenario and are interested in assisting a wide range of injuries and conditions in pressure situations, this is the specialty for you.
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP): Family nurse practitioners are nurses who are trained to provide primary health care to people of all ages in a family. They may require diagnosing illness and prescribing medications.
Geriatric Nurse: Geriatric nurse specialty is associated with providing care to people of old age having various ailments and improving their quality of life.
Perioperative nurse: Perioperative nurses or OT nurses provide pre and post-operative care to the patients. This is the specialty for you if you are interested in providing physical and mental care to the patient before and after surgery.
Mental health nurse: This specialty involves developing a meaningful relationship with patients suffering from mental health conditions and diagnosing and treating them.
Nurse educator: Nurse educators teach prospective nurses about patient care. They help inspire the next generation of nurses to the field of patient care.
Nurse manager: This is an administrative specialty of nursing. It involves budget allocation, nurse recruitment, and decision making.
Nurse midwife: Nurse-midwives specialize in the care of pregnant women. You will be required to assist in labor, during, and after delivery if you are interested in this specialty.
Nurse practitioner: Nurses of this specialty provide primary and specialist care. These nurses are capable of giving in-depth care to patients similar to doctors.
Nurse administrator: This specialty is similar to the specialty of the nurse manager, but they operate on a more large scale. Nurses of this specialty oversee multiple units of nursing teams.
Oncology nurse: Nurses of this specialty are highly trained in providing care and educating cancer patients about various treatment options.
Orthopedic Nurse: Nurses of this specialty are trained to treat issues regarding muscles and bones and providing care to them. If you choose the specialty you will be required to assist in cast placement and administration of pain medications.
Pediatric nurse: Nurses of this specialty are trained in providing basic medical care to children of all age groups. If you are comfortable dealing with children this might be the specialty for you.
Public health nurse: Nurses of this specialty help large groups of communities by teaching them different ways of treating and preventing diseases.
Travel nurse: This specialty requires you to travel from one place to another based on their contracts and interact with patients in different places. If you want to combine work satisfaction with lots of travel, this might be the specialty for you.