Human Resource Management: Nursing Shortage in the United States of America

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 4
Words: 880
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College


In every organisation, whether service, goods, public or private, human resources is required for an effective operation. Broadly heath care industry, human resources teams contain physicians, doctors, nurses, and administrative staffs; shortage of either of the category affects the efficiency and quality of service offered (Bruce and Fottler 13). In the United States of America, there has been a shortage of nurse since Second World War. The situation has worsened despite the country being the largest world economy in terms of GDP and international trade. Health officials in the country are taking different measures in this effect but the successes of such measure are yet to be seen. This paper discusses acute nurse shortages in the United States of America.

Nurses’ deficit statistics

According to US Department of Health and Human Services, in 2000, the United States had over 100,000 position for registered nurses; the shortage at the time had been thought to be temporal but an increased shortage has been experienced, reducing the quality of services offers in the health system. Report y the same organization in 2008 gauged the shortage at 8.15 of the total required nurses in the country. It further estimated that in 2025, the country nurse shortage would reach 260,000 (Esme, Usha and Alina 1).

Causes of nurse Deficit

The shortage of nurses in the United States can be traced way after the Second World War; a number of factors that can be thought to have created the acute shortage they include;

A boom in population increase; the rate at which population is increasing in the United States is not proportional with the rate of growth of nursing staffs. This has created a deficit in the health care industry in general. Infant population need specialised attention thus meeting their increasing needs have become a problem.

Aging population is another factor that has resulted to the shortage with improved living conditions and health care, people are living longer. Aged requires more attention thus creates pressure on the current nursing staffs.

The rate of nursing student enrollement and the retirement rate is another problem facing the industry. Nursing profession is no longer considered as a prestigious profession among the youth thus a number of young people are shying off from the profession. The retiring ones lack new comers to replace them. On the other hand, the payment rate of the profession is not attractive compared to other profession thus some nurses are opting for other alternatives (Esme, Usha and Alina 1).

Measures that need to be implemented to cure the deficit

Some short -term and long-term measure t have been taken in the country to address the shortage however, there is much more that can be done. Ones of the common used short terms measure that has been adopted is increasing the retirement age retiring nurses and offering nurses long working hours. However, this approach can only work in the short run and the guarantee that quality will be offered by tied and retired nurses cannot be quantifies.

Training more nurses and ensuring that youth like the profession is another approach the government should look into. The government can look into the welfare of the profession in the government sector and make the terms better. This will attract both local and international students to study the profession. Another problem from young professionals is that they fly out of the country for better offers; to avoid this, after training the government should introduce a bonding system that will ensure that the economy only trains but never retains professions. Nursing training schools should be expanded to accommodate more students in the professions; for instance in 2009, more than 42,000 qualified, applicants missed a place in nursing colleges because of the potential of the colleges available.

The country should recognise other professions from other parts of the world and offer them a chance to provide them services. Some Caribbean and African countries have the potential of exporting nursing services to the United States; if the country feels that they are not competent enough, it can have colleges in such countries or offer scholarships to willing and potential students.

Other than traditional nursing procedures, where there was need to have a fully trained nurse attend a patient, there is need to consider other methods of offering the same services in situations where it can be done effectively such programs include Nurse-Family systems, where a family member may be trained on how to take care of their sick member. This will reduce the burden on trained nurses. The government should also consider assistance that the private sector can offer; the assistance can be in terms of operating private owned medical facilities although this approach will call for government intervention to ensure quality prevails (Esme, Usha and Alina 1).


Deficit in nursing staffs in the United States of America has made offering of quality medical services hard; the deficit has existed since the Second World War and expected to prevail into the future if effective measures are not taken. Some causes of the deficit include increase in population, aging population, retirement from the profession and low new professions admission. Some measures that the government should take are to increase the ability of nursing training schools and consider nurses from other countries.


Bruce, Fried, and Fottler Myron. Human Resources in Health Care, Managing for Success. Michigan: Health Administration Press, 2005. Print.

Esme Cullen, Usha Ranji, and Alina Salganicoff. Addressing the Nurse Shortage. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010.Web.