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A Shortage Of Care Covers The Nursing Shortage In Iowa

1059 words - 4 pages

A Shortage of CareWe hear about it in newspapers, on television and over the radio. Today there is a shortage of nurses and healthcare workers and the problem is going to get worse over the next couple decades with the baby boomer generation getting older.The statistics show us just how bad this dilemma is in Iowa. There are 2,516 projected RN vacancies among employers who interviewed with the Iowa Nurses' Association from November 20, 2000. This number reflects only the RN vacancies. We must also take into consideration the LPN and CNA vacancies as well which will add up to an even more disturbing number of positions left unfilled in our healthcare environments. In addition to the problem of current vacancies is the prospect of current nurses retiring. Using information from the Iowa Board of Nursing, 60% of actively licensed nurses will be over the age of 50 and may be retired by 2009. (Iowa Nurses' Association, 2003).We are going to need to replace the nurses retiring; however, the number of people enrolling and graduating from nursing schools has declined. In RN and LPN programs, we have seen a decrease in the number of graduates by 27 percent over the past six years.( Iowa Nurses' Association, 2003). We are losing nurses and then do not have the number of graduates to replace those people when they retire, which only adds to the shortage.Just when we think we have as much of this problem we can take, we have to consider the people who teach the nurses of tomorrow. A survey conducted in the fall of 2000 showed us that 49% of the faculty in nursing education programs plans to retire within ten years. (Iowa Nurses' Association, 2003). As a result, we are looking at an existing shortage of nurses that will grow with a larger older population, then we will take away 60% of the current nurses retiring in ten years and on top of that we have half the faculty to teach the nurses of tomorrow.What can we do to fix this problem before it gets so out of hand we can't deal with it? First, I believe we need to address the issue of attracting more people to the nursing profession and keeping them in that profession for the length of their careers. We can't change the fact that people are going to be retiring, so we need to start now in attracting younger people to choose nursing as their career. Ways to attract a younger generation into choosing nursing as their profession would be to increase salaries, and provide more educational funding and loan forgiveness for nurses who stay in Iowa to practice. Governor Vilsack signed legislation in April, 2002 to create a Registered Nurse Recruitment Program that would be administered by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, however, to date, funding has not been provided that would provide forgivable loans and tuition scholarships for students and loan repayments for nurses. (Iowa Department of Public Health, 2003).Some people might argue why we should give loan repayment forgiveness to nurses and not include...

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