Nurses Can Help to End the Nursing Shortage in America

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 1st, 2008

Every man, woman, and child may at some time be affected by the nursing shortage, which is expected to exceed 340,000 within the next twelve years. With the average age of a nurse being forty seven, 55% of the current nurse workforce is planning to retire by 2020.

The implications of such a nursing shortage compromising patient care and threatening the quality of care are clear. It is also clear that the lack of qualified instructors to teach in nursing programs will continue to stall and possibly diminish the availability of nursing education and training programs well into the future.

Recruitment and retention expert LeAnn Thieman, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, Second Dose, insists that nurses themselves can help reverse that shortage. “If each of the 2 1/2 million nurses in our country recruits or helps retain just one nurse, we’ll have plenty of nurses and maintain optimal patient care,” Thieman claims. As she releases her Each One Reach One Nurse campaign, she offers these 10 tips for nurses to help end the shortage:

  1. Advocate nursing as a great career
  2. Advise middle and high schoolers to join
  3. Encourage nurses to be instructors
  4. Help a tired nurse stay in
  5. Recommend nursing as a career change
  6. Recruit and welcome non-practicing nurses back to nursing
  7. Encourage nursing assistants to get nursing degrees
  8. Mentor and support new nurses
  9. Take care of yourself and model that to others
  10. Exude pride and role model nursing excellence

“Nurses are the best recruiters,” Thieman states. “They need to tell the world about the great career that they love, one with flexible hours, good pay, and the privilege of serving others. We need to show pride and enthusiasm over our profession,” Thieman continues. “That’s the first step toward convincing others that nursing is a very good place to be and that they should join us.”

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