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Home > Article Categories > Nursing Jobs > Poor Work Environment A Root Cause of Nursing Shortage

Poor Work Environment A Root Cause of Nursing Shortage

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Increasing media attention has been paid to America's current nursing shortage and the reasons behind it. The most common culprit listed is the inability of schools to accept nursing students due to lack of funding, lab space, and professors. However, there are many factors affecting the shortage, and the stress of the job itself should not be overlooked as a factor contributing to the leeching of registered nurses (RNs) away from the profession.
The inability of potential nurses to attain an education is easy to blame because of the dramatic statistics. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, almost 50,000 qualified applicants were turned away from professional nursing programs in 2008, including almost 6,000 people interested in obtaining masters or doctoral degrees. We mustn't focus solely on the production end, as it were, and argue that the answer lies in opening up opportunities for people seeking a nursing degree.
Nor will it be fruitful to focus on the baby boomers, both as retiring nurses and aging people with numerous health problems. We cannot change the fact that people age, retire, and require increased medical attention; it's merely provides a strong impetus to change the situation quickly.
In addition to providing wider access to education for potential nurses, it is important to focus on nurse retention in hospitals.
Job burn out is not a highly researched statistic. Despite the rewards and benefits of the nursing profession, it can be highly stressful and sometimes force a quick burnout. Hospitals need to take immediate action to relieve some of the stress of this job both to retain their employees and to ensure better patient care, even avoiding thousands of unnecessary deaths and complications brought on by a lack of nurses. Institutions have taken various measures to ease nurses' burden. An individualistic approach may be necessary, healthcare centers differ from one another in myriad ways, including size, type, and location of the institution.
Of course, the root of the problem cannot be forgotten, and ultimately, creating more nurses will enable hospitals to hire more nurses. This will lighten the load on heavily burdened RNs and mean that more nurses will remain in institutions each for a longer period of time. But focus has to remain on at least maintaining current nursing levels so this shortage does not become a full fledged crisis.

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