While the world continues to deal with a number of challenges, the nursing shortage has become the new phenomenon on the list. Many countries are today faced with a dilemma as to how best nursing shortage can be addressed (AACN, 3). To some, the nursing shortage is an accident waiting to happen if not amicably addressed. One wonders what the problem really is because in the older generations, there were no shortage of nurses in fact there was plenty. It is critical to note that things keep changing and the timing of the events is what makes the difference (Talking Points, 1). Consequently, many nations are shifting focus from healthcare to other issues. For instance, some countries have slashed the healthcare budgets to supplement other areas such as security. Point to note is that women have for a long time been the conventional people associated with nursing (Hunt, 462).
Today, things have drastically changed for the women as some seek opportunities in other areas. This continues to be a challenge, and if not addressed, terrorism aside, the world will be in a limbo considering the consequences of nursing shortage. Three things stand out as major causes for the nursing shortage. Baby boomers retiring, nursing students being turned away because of inadequate facilities and work stress and burnout are the major causes of nursing shortage world over.
The nursing shortage due to baby boomers a healthcare crisis nears
The concern in the healthcare industry is the fact that baby boomers are soon calling in a day. It should be noted that these baby boomers are nothing, but the nurses. If one would care to visit any health facility, the first notable people are the baby boomers (Newman, 2). They form the majority of the nurses. As we move along, the fact is that the baby boomers cannot be kept in the workforce for a long time. Women have traditionally been the balks forming the baby boomers club. The dynamics are skewed to the extent that women are beginning to seek other alternatives (Smith, 45). The search for equal opportunities and the need to advance in other areas has forced the women population to dwindle with respect to baby boomers. In essence, the number of women in healthcare continues to go down. This is a serious crisis for the nursing fraternity.
A career previously dominated by the women could soon be a vacuum since the women have taken the search for better opportunities to an all-new level. As baby boomers sign off, there are major challenges created as a result of the retirement. One of such challenges is that the nursing fraternity would have fewer workers offering services to the people. Thus, this becomes the essence of the much publicized nursing shortage. Due to old age, the baby boomers choose to bow out of duty. As they age, the baby boomers form the bulk of those who would be seeking nursing care. This adds onto the problem of the nursing shortage. It is critical to note that stakeholders and the people concerned have tried to keep the baby boomers in business by offering a number of incentives such as increasing the salaries and adding bonuses (Timby, 11). None of the incentives seem to be keeping these people in practice. The challenge has no two ways about it as to how it should addressed. In fact, no one seems to have a clear formula over which the problem could be dealt with. Bowing out of work is a personal decision that cannot be interfered. It, therefore, becomes a challenge to retain the baby boomers on duty in the sense that reversing their decision amounts to violation of their rights (Wuthnow, 15).
The 21st century problem for the nursing fraternity is in the baby boomers. In any other discipline, there have never been such people as baby boomers. It is a challenge on how the gaps can be filled to meet the deficit both in the present and the future. Soon, there will be a crisis in the sense that the number of those seeking healthcare will be more than the ones proving healthcare. This is the essence of nursing shortage. It is, therefore, imperative that other means be employed to deal with the challenge. Baby boomers have to be appreciated for their long service in the nursing fraternity, and as that happen, their right to retire has to be respected in the same breath (Wittmann-Price & Maryann, 12). To this end, nursing shortage in the coming decades could prove to be the most serious challenge of our time. As the first groups of baby boomers bows out, the rest are bound to follow suit and this will render the fraternity helpless. There will be no strong workforce to supplement healthcare with respect to nursing. As baby boomers head into retirement, it is incumbent upon the stakeholders to find means and ways through which the issue can be dealt with. Baby boomers are the reason why nursing has been a vibrant industry. With their retirement, nursing shortage becomes the resultant factor (Viliani, 8).
Nursing students being turned away due to faculty shortages
A workforce is best supplemented when there are new entrants every single moment. This can only happen when there are people who are trained to take up the different roles or vacancies created. Today, the nursing fraternity is poorly supplemented and this explains the reason for the nursing shortage (Littlejohn, 21). A varied number of institutions have no facilities to train students willing to venture into the nursing profession. Two situations present themselves with relation to faculty shortages (Rosa, 6). One is that some institutions have no facilities necessary to train the people seeking to go into nursing. In essence, it means, there are no basic foundations available to ensure that nurses are trained. Secondly, is that the respective institutions do not have professionals who can train students to become nurses in the present and in future. This is a challenge that continues to bedevil a fraternity that is urgently in need of help. When there are no students graduating from health institutions at any given instance, the resultant factor is that there will be a drain with respect to those already in service.
As the nurses in service take leave and other head to retirement, a crisis is established. The reason for the crisis is that while the others bow out of the profession, there are no new entries. The problem is experienced because there are no faculties to train nursing students. Pundits are of the opinion that institutions should take lead in ensuring that they become part of the solution to assist in dealing with nursing shortages. Different institutions have to establish faculties that are able to train nursing students. Governments should be at the forefront in helping learning institutions establish foundations that would make it possible for producing new entrants into the nursing profession (Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 16). While stakeholders continue to ponder the next course of action with respect to shortage of faculties, a crisis continues to build up. In many countries world over, there are few people who have the technical competence able to train other people. The challenge that has been faced by the institutions has been to find the right people to work as tutors in the institutions (UN, 1). Consequently, institutions have no capacity to train workers based on the fact that there are inadequate resources to establish faculties of nursing (Carayon, 169). As the crisis builds up, it can only be hoped that institutions will become part of the solution to help in bringing out a fresh breed of nurses to boost an already ailing crisis.
Institutions have to source for funds both from donor agencies and the government to make it possible for them to start faculties that will train students. It is critical to note that a number of people are quite willing to join nursing. Their ambitions are only cut short when they visit the institutions and are turned away just for the simple reason of non-existence of a training faculty. This is a problem that can be corrected if the stakeholders sit down and reflects on the best way to go about in dealing with the situations. Opportunities should be created for students who are willing to take up nursing as a profession. Inadequate faculties should not be the reason why the nursing fraternity ails. Since the issue has not been addressed as appropriate, nursing shortage continues to suffer and this could extend into the next decade (Clark, 32).
Work stress and burnout among nurses
It is without a doubt that the nursing fraternity continues to suffer shortage. The few who are in service are faced with a number of challenges to the extent that burn out and stress has become the order of the day for most of them. Since they are few, they are forced to work extra hours or take up extra duties (Bährer-Kohler, 143). Ordinarily, such issues could be detrimental to any person working in whatever place. It should be noted that some of the nurses have families and other personal responsibilities. While they take up other duties at the place of work, family and personal responsibilities add to their workload. The resulting factor is stress and burn out because at some point coordinating the responsibilities become a challenge (Chism, 162).
When nurses go into the profession, the motivation is nothing else, but nursing. In some instances, a nurse has to take up administrative roles while still continuing with the same nursing duties. Some nurses see this multiplication of duties as an affront to their professional duties. When nurses are subjected to the multiple duties some outside their professional jurisdiction, it becomes a serious challenge and this leads to stress and burn out. Fatigue and old age also count as a serious problem of concern. Doing the same thing over and over, brings about the monotony and fatigue (Ferguson, 16). There is no time when the rest is guaranteed, as there are few people who can take up the duties. Consequently, old age becomes a problem, especially when one has to do the same amount of work without any consideration for age. These are serious challenges that lead to burn out and stress. As time goes by, some people in the nursing profession find it difficult to cope. Some become tired of working in shifts and others become bored of the duties (Yoder-Wise, 52).
Work stress and burn out is a serious challenge that is facing the nursing industry in the modern dispensation. Diversity of issues coming up the profession proves to be the reason why some people get stressed and experience burnout. As stress and burn out take effect, other related challenges come up. Interrelationships become a challenge in the sense that one finds it difficult to relate to people, as they feel attached to their work (Spurlock, 1). The physical nature of the nurses becomes a major point of stress and burnout. Some literally find it challenging to move up and down in the performance of their duty. Doing so over a long period of time, sometimes leads to nervous breakdown (Paradis, 34). To this end, work stress and burn out have become a major reason why some have retired from nursing. Coping with the workload has become a challenge to the extent that some find it uncomfortable to take up their duties. Consequently, because of work stress and burnout, some who are willing to get into the profession get laid back for the simple reason that they could face the same consequences (Smith &Koenig, 209). The challenges that relate to work stress and burn out are critical. Different ways and means of dealing with the issues arising should be a major point of concern. If not addressed, massive walkouts are in the offing and this could only make the situation even worse (Lucy, 235).
Challenges facing the nursing fraternity are varied and diverse. Many countries have unique challenges facing the problem of the nursing shortage. While the signing off of baby boomers, shortage of faculties to train nursing shortage and work stress and burnout are the major causes of nursing shortage, there are other reasons that lead to the shortage (DeNisco and Anne, 498). One of such reasons is brain drain. Some nurses seek better opportunities in other countries, leaving back their places of origin into a crisis (Fitzpatrick and Meredith, 10). Consequently, some of the nurses are never remunerated at standard commensurate to their workload. As a result, they choose to bow out and seek better opportunities in other fields. Things are bound to change in the coming years as the nursing fraternity continues to deal with the challenges (Manion, 23). Things could only get worse as pundits would put. However, there is hope for the future in the sense governments, non-governmental agencies are continuously seeking ways in which the crisis can be averted (The Future of Nursing, 1). With the right attitude and zeal, normalcy could be restored in the nursing industry (Irwin, 2333).
The nursing shortage is a serious problem facing the world today. While there are attempts to deal with the challenges, goodwill is needed to avert an already existing crisis (Ivanov, 174). All the stakeholders should put their heads together and help in coming up with solutions capable of giving hope to an already ailing sector (Mason, 715). There should be a level of motivation for the workers to the extent that burn out and stress is controlled. Proper working conditions should be a priority in enhancing the performance of workers. To this end, however, it is critical to note that three major challenges to nursing shortage are signing off of baby boomers, nursing students being turned away due to faculty shortage and Work stress and burnout among nurses.
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