Human Resource Management and the Nursing Shortage

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 3
Words: 651
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


Nursing section is the largest in health care section and charged with most duties concerning the patients. When there is a shortage of nurses in health care sector, many issues get jeopardized and healthcare service delivery to the patients is derailed. To ensure proper health care delivery, the number of nurses in the healthcare facilities needs to be sufficiently maintained. Developing strategies to achieve the goal of acquiring future nurses to the profession together with retaining the devoted nurses is an essential aspect. Both dynamic as well as inspirational recruitment tactics are likely to bring in a wealth of qualified workers to the profession (Leiyu, 2007).

HRM Functions in Nurse Staffing

Planning can be done in a way that the human resource manager will ensure that the roles of the nurses are incorporated in other professionals in the health care. For example, the doctors, nutritionists and other subordinate staff can be trained on some of the nursing duties to ensure that there is no breakdown in the service delivery when there is nurses’ shortage. The workload in the hospitals can also be reduced so that it matches with the number of nurses. The duties that are assigned to them can be reduced to be equal to the number of nurses in each healthcare setting. The other human resource function that can help is to widen the recruitment base. This means that they can recruit even the less qualified and those who qualify through experience and assign them the less professional roles. This will ensure a wider pool for recruitment (Joint Commission Resources, Inc. 2003).

Selection of the nurses from the recruitment pool should be open and with less strict rules. This is because the rules when tightened, they leave out most of the nurses who are slightly below the required qualifications. For example in some countries, the nurses have to be registered with the nursing council for them to be allowed to practice. This puts a number of them out of the profession making the pool of nurses to be low. Older workers should also not be left out in selection of nurses. These are more experienced and can perfume better (OECD, 2008).

The retirement age for nurses should be minimized so as to incorporate the aged nurses. After the nurses have been recruited and selected, training should follow so as to fit the less qualified into the full professional. Training of the existing nurses also ensures that they can perform most of the tasks to curb the effect of shortage of the nurses. Training of the aged nurses will also ensure they fit into the changing technology in the profession (Nemetz-Mills, 2007).

Utilization of the available services provided by the nurses is also very important. The human resource management should ensure that there is a conducive working environment for the nurses to maximize their services. The resources required should be availed to ensure that few nurses that are available utilize their time in the best way possible. The rewarding system used by the human resource managers should also be attractive to ensure that nurses do not leave the profession. Most nurses quit the profession due to the poor remuneration. Some also leave their countries and move to other countries where the remuneration packages are attractive. Rewards for the job done and also for the long terms of service should be used to motivate the nurses and discourage them from quitting the profession (Jeremye, 2006).


The human resource functions are the key solutions to the issue of shortage of nurses. When the functions are well played, the nurses will feel comfortable in the profession and will be encouraged to stick to it. This will also attract more people to join the nursing profession and will curb the problem of nurses shortage. The nurses are charged with most duties of healthcare provision and their welfare should be properly looked at.


Jeremye, D.C. (2006). The Aging Nursing Workforce: How to Retain Experienced Nurses. Journal of Healthcare Management, 51(4), 233-45.

Joint Commission Resources, Inc (2003). Staffing effectiveness in hospitals. Harvard: Joint Commission Resources.

Leiyu, S. (2007). Managing human resources in health care organizations. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Nemetz-Mills, P. (2007) (nd). Motivation and Rewards. Web.

OECD, (2008). OECD Health Policy Studies The Looming Crisis in the Health Workforce: How Can OECD Countries Respond? United Kingdom: Oecd Publishing.