America is experiencing a shortage of nurses. According to the Center on Education and the Workforce of Georgetown University, there will be over 1.5 million jobs available until 2020. But within the same period, the shortage of nursing professionals could reach 200,000.
The Reasons for the Shortage
Many factors affect the supply of nurses in the United States. One of these is the aging population. By 2050, adults 65 years old and above will comprise about 20% of the population. Most of these individuals will need long-term care and disability help. Even in the nursing profession, many are getting older.
Within the next 20 years, 1.1 million will be in the retirement age. More than 22% of those who are at least 55 years old plan to either reduce their workload or leave the workforce.
Another reason is ineffective scheduling. A 2016 Avantas survey among nursing managers revealed the following:
- Around 94% said staffing and scheduling issues could impact the morale of the nurses.
- Over 40% shared that staffing problems tend to occur with last-minute changes in the schedule.
All these can increase the level of stress and exhaustion. These can force some of the nurses to leave or shift to another less-demanding field.
How to Resolve the Nursing Shortage
There are different ways to help resolve the nursing shortage. One of these is retention by improving their scheduling and staffing requirements. Healthcare facilities can invest in cloud-based project scheduling software.
It is easy to deploy and use since nurses can access them anytime, depending on the usage policy. Managers can generate staffing forecasts and schedule the workload accordingly.
Other possible solutions include:
- Providing more incentives, such as free training, tuition reimbursement, or affordable student loans
- Offering an attractive pension plan to encourage the older nurses to work longer
- Increasing the number of insured Americans and motivating them to undergo annual wellness checkups and screenings. Currently, about 15% of the population doesn’t have any.
Nurses are among the foundations of a desirable healthcare economy. The fewer they are, the more likely the cost of getting treatment will increase. This can result in a less healthy population.