Nursing Workforce Shortage Essay

1021 words - 4 pages


As advancement in technology and healthcare are improving people in America are

living longer. It is estimated that the U.S. population of older adults who will turn 65 will

double between 2000 and 2030 (Cochrane, Belza, & Brown, 2008). Compared to younger

adults older patients are more frail and they have more complex health issues causing them to

utilize healthcare more. With a growing population of baby boomers there is a high demand for

nursing care. Nursing care is the most important because nurses provide the highest number of

preventative and curative patient care (Oulton, 2006). However, a growing problem of nursing

shortage will put older adult care in great jeopardy. A higher demand for nurses are needed

to take care of the older generation, but issues such as aging nursing staff, unfavorable work

environment, and lack of access to continue education are decreasing supply of nurses. Another

important factor affecting older adult care is a decrease supply of nurses who have knowledge or

specialty in geriatric care. As the nursing workforce shortage continues to grow patient outcome

and quality of care in the older population are greatly affected and action from the nursing

profession is greatly needed to combat the nursing shortage.


With a growing population of older adults who will need more complex healthcare

because of poorer health, factors that are contributing to the nursing shortage especially in

geriatric care need to be explored, so action can be taken to combat these issues and better

quality of care is provided to the aging population.


One of the main and most important factor contributing to the nursing shortage is not

having enough nursing faculty. With the lack of nursing faculty there aren’t enough teachers to

educate future nurses, as a result more nursing applicants are turned away from schools. The

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses states that “in 2006, approximately 43,000

qualified U.S. applicants were denied admission to nursing programs; of these, approximately

31,000 were prelicensure applicants” (as cited in Ganley & Sheets, 2009, p. 401). As more

prelicensure applicants are turned down from school the less access current nurses will have to

further their education and specialty, which in turn will affect the amount of future nursing

educators. Another factor affecting the number of available nursing faculty is aging of the

nursing workforce and retirement (Oulton, 2006). As more aging nurses retire a decrease in the

number of experienced nurses will be available to train and guide novice nurses.

As the population of older adults are growing, experts are concern that even if there were

enough nursing faculty and less numbers of nursing applicants are turned away there aren’t

enough nurses educated in older adult care (Ganley & Sheets, 2009). Thornlow, Auerhahn, and


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