Nursing News: How to Solve the Nursing Shortage

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, October 25th, 2012

It is predicted that by 2020, an estimated 1 million registered nurse jobs in the U.S. health care system will go unfilled. To care for a growing population of patients, nursing schools, health care employers and technology innovators must work together to recruit nurses and help end the nursing shortage.

Apollo Research Institute convened a panel of nursing educators, health care executives and other nursing thought leaders to propose solutions to the nursing shortage. Findings are published in the Apollo Research Institute report “Critical Conditions: Preparing the 21st Century Nursing Workforce.” The report addresses ways to improve nurse recruitment, education and career advancement to meet tomorrow’s health care needs.

Panelists identified the lack of nursing faculty as a major factor in the nursing shortage. Prospective students are being wait-listed and existing nurses are unable to continue their education. Some health care organizations have assisted by providing practicing nurses as part-time faculty or mentors.

The panel also discussed an Institute of Medicine report recommending higher levels of education for registered nurses. For nurses to achieve the recommended academic credentials, employers and higher education providers must collaborate to improve program access. Experts suggested flexible scheduling for students who work or are raising a family, professional development tracks for working nurses, and community college partnerships for associates-to-bachelors program transitions.

Technology will drive innovations in nursing practice and education, panelists noted, citing electronic health records and simulation technology. But they also agreed that nursing technology should never replace the personal touch and that it must be deployed more efficiently.

These and other shifts will require nurses to get involved in creating solutions. As the front line of patient care, nurses need to share their insights with policymakers, educators and employers so healthcare can benefit from their clinical expertise and understanding of patients’ needs.

How can you get involved to help recruit nurses and ease the nursing shortage?

As a nurse speaker, I specialize in nurse recruitment, nurse retention, and work life balance and can help improve morale, retention and recruitment. CONTACT ME TODAY to talk about my powerful keynotes, workshops and programs. (Check out my NEW SelfCare for HealthCare Program!) I look forward to helping your organization achieve its goals.

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