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Nursing Shortage: Challenges for Future Nurse Education and Training

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Blog, Industry News

The nursing shortage affects nursing education and is one of the most serious healthcare problems facing the United States today. Many factors contribute to it, but the main ones are a lack of qualified nurses entering the workforce and an aging population that requires more care than ever before.

The healthcare industry is struggling to keep up with the increased demand for nurses. Nursing schools, in particular, frequently struggle to fill their programs with qualified applicants due to factors such as financial constraints. It impacts students aspiring to be nurses and healthcare providers who require more personnel to function normally. This article explores how the nursing shortage affects nursing education and what can be done to address it.


What’s In The Article?

  • The Importance Of The Nursing Field
  • High Turnover Rates In The Field Of Nursing
  • Impacts Of The Nursing Shortage
  • How Nursing Shortage Affects Nursing Education And Training
  • Addressing The Low Retention Rates In Nursing Schools
  • Bachelor’s Degree Programs In Community Colleges
  • Online Programs For Nursing Students
  • Final Thoughts


The Importance Of The Nursing Field

Nurses play an important role in the healthcare system. They contribute to the smooth operation of our healthcare system by providing comfort and critical care to patients in need. Nurses also assist with the healing process by administering medication or providing physical therapy, among other things. This is especially true if the patient has suffered trauma due to an accident or illness, such as cancer, which can cause anxiety. Nurses also educate patients about their condition to understand what treatments they need, reducing unnecessary stress while dealing with medical issues.

The nursing shortage affects nursing education and could lead to fewer people entering nursing. The need for nurses is growing, but the number of graduates from nursing programs is not keeping up. As our population ages, the situation is expected to worsen. Adults are expected to outnumber children in the country, and more people will seek care at outpatient facilities such as urgent care centers and hospitals.


High Turnover Rates In The Field Of Nursing

The nursing profession is experiencing high turnover, with many nurses leaving before reaching retirement age. According to the National Library of Medicine, nursing turnover rates range from 8.8% to 37%. This can be attributed to many factors, including burnout and lack of job security. This crisis causes many healthcare facilities to cost money to train new nurses every year. Moreover, patient safety is also associated with high attrition rates among nurses who work with patients daily.


Nursing Shortage


Impacts Of The Nursing Shortage

The nursing shortage is a worldwide issue. In the United States and other parts of the world, there are not enough nurses to meet the needs of our aging populations and expanding healthcare systems. It is also expected that approximately four million nurses worldwide will retire by 2030.

A nursing shortage can reduce the quality of care since they are needed to provide the best possible care for patients. Nurses may be required to work overtime shifts or take on additional responsibilities to compensate for lost time and resources. This can cause stress and fatigue, reducing their effectiveness at work. When there aren’t enough nurses in hospitals or clinics, patients often have to wait longer than usual to see a doctor, and some never get treated. Nurses are stressed out since they have too much work and lack time to care for their patients properly.


How Nursing Shortage Affects Nursing Education And Training

The nursing shortage affects everyone, including future nurses who need training and education before they can begin working. Nurses are in high demand, which means they have many career options.  

Schools compete for students and funds with one another and with other industries. Many medical schools have added or expanded new programs to produce more students each year to meet the growing demand for qualified nurses.  Others have allowed non-traditional sources, such as community colleges, to offer nursing bachelor’s degrees. Although there are more graduates than ever, we still need more qualified professionals if we want our systems’ quality standards to remain high enough, so everyone has access to quality healthcare.


Addressing The Low Retention Rates In Nursing Schools

The reasons for low nursing program retention rates are varied and complex, but it is clear that there is a need for more nurses. Patients who rely on skilled healthcare providers for quality care bear the impacts of this shortage. Here are some ideas for how schools and hospitals can work together to improve retention rates:

  • Provide students with flexible scheduling options so they can balance their studies with other obligations, such as family responsibilities or part-time jobs outside of school hours.
  • Increase scholarship funding so that students from low-income families have greater access to higher education opportunities, such as university nursing programs.


Bachelor’s Degree Programs In Community Colleges

In other states, non-traditional sources, such as community colleges, can offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing programs. Community colleges provide students with flexible schedules that enable them to work while attending school or taking courses part-time. This flexibility offers students who already have jobs an opportunity that most traditional universities do not provide: the ability to continue working while earning their degree.


Online Programs For Nursing Students

In response to the nursing shortage, many institutions have begun offering online options for students who want a degree but cannot attend traditional classes due to work or family obligations. Online courses can help prospective students who cannot participate in traditional programs due to campus location or need flexible scheduling options that do not conflict with their other obligations like child care or eldercare responsibilities.


Final Thoughts

Nurse educators must ensure their students are prepared for the real world as the nursing shortage worsens. The nursing workforce shortage is a critical issue not only for nursing schools but also for the nursing profession’s future. Addressing the impacts of the nursing shortage includes strengthening nursing programs that can produce more efficient nurses. This isn’t just about people not wanting to work in nursing. It’s also about how difficult it is for schools to recruit and retain students.

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