As baby boomers move into retirement the need for nurses is going to rise more significantly which presents a medical crisis because even at present day there are not enough nurses to meet the demand. It is projected that by year 2020 the United States will be short over 1 million nurses.
The nursing shortage has many bad side effects in the medical community. It increases the number of hours nurses have to work. The increase of hours makes nurses feel highly stressed which in turn in some cases may lead to them not getting to spend time with their loved ones. One also has to consider the risk for occupational injury. Nurses who are overwork often times have problems with their legs and feet due to constantly being on their feet. Often times the combination of these factors will lead to nurse burnout where the nurse leaves the medical field entirely to seek employment that is less stressful.
Nursing shortages also have a severe impact on patient care. Imagine being one nurse with double or triple the patient load. This can lead to the patient not getting the proper attention and even worse nursing related mistakes which in some cases can be life threatening.
Then there is also the impact it has on doctors. A shortage of nurses makes a doctor’s job more difficult because they find themselves in a position of having to perform certain tasks they would not normally do and since the nursing shortage increases the probability of errors and infections even the doctors may have more patients to contend with.
It’s clear to see the nursing shortage tends to trickle down to all aspects of the medical community and even spills over into the lives of patients and even the public. In light of this the medical community, schools and even congress are attempting to come up with solutions that will address the need for even more nurses to meet an ever growing need in the medical community.
Other blog posts on subject:
I found this fascinating quote today:
New grads may have difficulty finding jobs right now in some markets, but if they expand their options, there are still plenty of jobs available!!! Read more….Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN, The Nursing Site Blog, Jul 2009
You should read the whole article.