We say current nursing shortage because it’s important to understand that there has almost always been a shortage of nurses. It’s one profession society can never have enough of. However, right now, this shortage is quickly developing into a crisis. To do something about it and encourage more nurses into the profession, it is important that we understand the reasons behind it, so we are better equipped to find solutions and prevent such extreme shortages in the future.
The Rising Population
It could be argued that there aren’t fewer nurses; there are just more patients. With immigration levels higher than ever and birth rates climbing, the population is at an all-time high. This means more people need medical care. More nurse midwives are needed to help welcome new life and more medical professionals are needed to care for them throughout their lives.
The Ageing Population
Better healthcare, technological advancements, and a greater knowledge of how to look after ourselves mean that people are living for longer than ever before. This means that there are more elderly people and the average age of the population is rising all the time. Older people, even those who exercise and take great care of themselves need more healthcare facilities. This is another reason why we need more nurses and other healthcare professionals in hospitals, in the community, and in old people’s homes, ensuring that elderly people are well cared for and can maintain a fantastic quality of life.
The Baby Boom Nurses
It’s not just patients that are getting older. Many of the baby boomer generation went into nursing and have now reached retirement age. During the recession, many delayed retirements due to financial concerns. But, they are now ready to end their careers, reduce their hours, or move into a less pressured job such as teaching.
A Funding Shortage
In some cases, there are nurses available to work, but funding cuts mean that hospitals cannot afford to pay them for their time. There are situations when six nurses are required on a shift, but the hospital can only afford three. From a patient’s point of view, this is a nursing shortage when in reality the nurses are there but the money isn’t.
Fortunately, working conditions for nurses are steadily improving, but this hasn’t always been the case. In recent years’, nurses have had to make up for funding cuts by taking on two or three people’s workloads. They’ve had to work long hours with few breaks, in difficult conditions with very little support or room for flexibility. This put people off entering the profession and led to a lot of nurses seeking early retirement or a career change.
If you are interested in becoming a nurse and helping to combat this shortage consider an online nursing degree. Conditions for nurses are improving, the need for nurses means they must. Hours are improving, as is flexibility and pay. The nursing shortage could offer you a fantastic opportunity to get started on this wonderful career path so apply for an MSN online today.
With such high demand for nurses, entering the profession could be the best move you ever made.