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From the early stages of conception in life till death, Nurses have a great role to play in every life. Many people interact with the healthcare professionals all through their lives (Kristian 2005). US Nursing Shortage, University of Montanna, Missoula, Montanna and Cindy Jimmerson, August 2005, US Nursing Shortage, Lean Healthcare West, Missoula, Montana.
Those were the words the exact words of the named writers to describe the critical role played by Nurses in our lives and we can all agree to go by personal experiences. This essay is also based on the mentioned article by the two writers among two other articles namely; The Nurse shortage: Where we stand and where we’re headed by Sean P. Clarke RN and Robyn B. Cheung RN written in March 2008, and “Are Immigrant Nurses a Threat to the US Nurse?” written by The American Society for Registered Nurses.
In the first article, US Nursing Shortage, the authors focus on making a trend from comparison in years before, the current time and the future regarding Nurses availability, salaries and Retired Nurses (RNs) using exact figures and percentages from researched data.
The key areas they discussed included the projected worsening of the situation as Baby Boomers increase without a related increase in the workforce. The shortage resulting from the 40% increase in demand, 6% decrease in supply and an 18% increase in population, decline in salaries to Nurses which discourages people, from joining the career and, the reduction in the number of RNs.
For instance, it is clear that, soon the number of Nurses retiring from the career will soon exceed that of new Nurses being employed. When compared to the teaching practice, it is also observed that an elementary teacher earn much more income, both going by the raw figures and, when rated against the inflation rate. Whatever rise in salaries and increments as one proceeds in the nursing career are thus found not to be of much significance given factors such as the rate of inflation. Therefore, the government will need to prepare for a workforce crisis in its healthcare institutions.
They go on to conclude that the one reason affecting many service industries is work overload and, long working hours which may proceed even into weekends and, the health sector is not an exception. This combined with less than adequate salary and, benefits lead to a rather bleak future where nurse’s availability is concerned even in the future.
The second article, The Nurse shortage: Where we stand and where we’re headed, starts by noting that noting that many American hospitals started reporting issues of inadequate Nurses to fill the positions as early as ten years ago. Researchers also began predicting a possible worse situation in the near future.
The author focuses attention on how the forces of demand and supply are affecting the situation, how the current situation is and, the possible times into which we are headed. Shortage here results when the demand for nurses, either due to number of people seeking nursing services or decisions made by various institutions on how many nurses to employ, exceeds the number of Nurses available. The supply is in return influenced by enrollment and graduation from nursing institutions. The difference between demand for Nurses’ services and their availability will, however, vary between various institutions, public ones being most badly hit.
Currently, the situation is managed through various methods such as increasing the working hours, having older retirement age for Nurses as well as, having foreign Retired Nurses employed to help calm the situation. As the current workers retire considering the less number of new nurses into the industry, the situation is on state in the future. The author goes on to conclude that “a storm” in the industry is inevitable but various measures such as hiring RNs from outside the country need to be employed. This needs to be done in order to help balance the two market forces.
An article addressing the recruitment of foreign nurses to help solve the nursing shortage would be such as “American Society of Registered Nurses, December 1 2007, Are Immigrant Nurses a Threat to the US Nurse? Retrieved from The Journal of Nursing on 13th February 2012. The shortage in the past has been addressed by hiring foreign Nurses from foreign countries such as India, Philippines, some African countries and Japan.
In addressing the shortage, a need-approach is sometimes taken and, this seeks to identify the number of Nurses required to perform certain tasks based on the decision of a medical professional. Otherwise, a ratio technique can be adopted which compares the currently available professionals to an estimated future population of the same and the difference is taken to be the shortage.
Hiring of foreign Nurses is viewed by some people as a brain-drain from low-income countries, but at the same time, the Nurses contribute highly to increasing health levels in the country. This is accomplished through increased access to nursing services, competence as well as availability of more highly trained personnel, something that is common with the foreign nurses.
The author concludes by noting that there is an acute shortage of Nurses in the US and that the state is likely to continue. Recruitment is suggested as a remedy to the situation to both local and foreign but also backed by a strategy aimed to retain the current workforce available.
The various remedies suggested by the authors proof credible, just as the study results that indicate an acute shortage in Nurses in the country. Legislation to address the mandatory overtime practices found in many US hospitals is also necessary in consideration of the fact that service rendered to patients is related to the working conditions underwent by the Nurses.