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Master Plan to End the Nursing Shortage

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, February 28th, 2011

Washington state, like many others, is approaching its worst nursing shortage ever, in hospitals, medical office, long-term care facilities and schools.

Although some nurses are having trouble finding the jobs want, there are 2,300 registered nursing vacancies in Washington. As the economy improves, nurses who’ve delayed retirement will leave the workforce. Health care reform will make health care available to almost 300,000 more people in Washington just as baby boomers become eligible for Medicare. These changes mean higher demand for nurses.


Forward thinking people in that state include the Washington Center for Nursing. They submitted the Master Plan for Nursing Education to the Washington State Department of Health to transform nursing education in that state, based on extensive research conducted statewide with nurses, nurse educators and professionals.

Offering solutions, proposals in the Master Plan include increasing the ability of nurses and nursing students to pursue their educations. Other proposals ideas to deal with the shortage of faculty include raising salaries, diversifying faculty recruitment efforts, promoting mentoring, and providing additional teaching resources to new faculty.

If nothing changes by 2020, 30,000 registered nurse openings are expected. To meet this demand, graduation rates would need to increase by 400 per year, every year for 15 years.

How many nurses does your organization need today? How many more by 2020? How many nursing students are your colleges graduating?Do you have a Master Plan?

To learn more strategies to recruit the nurses you need today and in the future, contact me. Let’s plan the future together.

One response to “Master Plan to End the Nursing Shortage”

  1. Debrah Snider says:

    I am a veteran nurse of 30 years. I left acute care nursing almost 20 years ago to work in correctional nursing and then an old felony convection that had not been a problem when I began nursing became a problem with the renewed focus on criminal background checks. Having been out of acute care nursing for more than 20 years not, it is impossible to get back in because all institutions want someone with “recent acute care experience.” I, and several other older nurses I’ve spoken with, feel pushed to the point of feeling suicidal by the work-load I face in long-term care facilities. Perhaps it isn’t different in acute care facilities, and from what I read written by other nurses, even new graduates, it isn’t, but I feel hopeless regarding my ability, facility expectations, patient requirements and legal obligations. With all that is projected for the future of health care, I see no hope for nurses, patients or doctors. State regulators are so out of touch with what is practical and or possible given the amount of staff a facility is willing to pay for. The bottom line isn’t suppose to be the dollar when it comes to patient care, but in reality we all know that that’s exactly what it comes down to. I hate being forced to lie about the kind of patient care I can give but I have no choice. The honorable thing to do would be to quit when I know I can not give quality patient care, but the reality is that I have to survive just like everyone else and that means that I have to have a job. I have never found any long-term care facility to be better than another; they all have unrealistic expectations regarding how much one nurse can do. When I pray anymore, I don’t find myself praying that things will get better, I find myself praying for that predicted asteroid or the battle of Armageddon to begin so that life will be over without my having to end it myself!

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