Legislative: The Nursing Shortage: A Public Health Issue for All

Scope of Nursing Shortages

Glazer and Alexandre review the scope of the current nurse shortages in the United States and outline the dangers poised by these shortages to public health in this article. They offer suggestions on the actions that need to be taken for the purpose of enhancing the output of nursing schools and strengthening the nursing workforce in the country. In this article, Glazer and Alexandre cited a number of documentations reflecting the scope of the current shortage of nurses: Health Affairs by Auerbach and others (2007), which estimated nurse shortages to reach 340,000 by the year 2020; the American Association of Colleges of nursing (AACN) which quoted the American Hospital Association report of 2007 which puts national registered nurse rates at 8.1%. It also puts the figure of over 42,000 qualified graduates denied entry in nursing programs in 2006.

Consequences of failing to address Nurse Shortages

The article reiterates the dire consequences of failure to address nurse shortages for the public by government. They reiterate this by citing federal government recognition of the role nurses play in the health care system. For instance, it created U.S. Cadet Corps in 1943 to aid nursing education, Congress enacting Nurse Training Act in 1963 which gave grants for nursing schools, student loan programs, nurse faculty loans, and nurse scholarship programs. It also cites the ward of $37 million by the Bureau of Health Professions in the Health Research and Services Administration in 2007. The article recommends the development of plans that fund the education of nurses to enhance the output of nursing schools and strengthen the nursing workforce.

Where have all the Young Ones Gone: Implications for the Nursing Workforce

Drury, V., Francis, K., & Chapman, Y. (2008). Where have all the Young Ones Gone: Implications for the Nursing Workforce. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, vol.14 No. 1

Reasons Why Young People are avoiding Nursing Profession

Drury, Francis and Chapman were concerned with fewer numbers of young people joining the nursing profession to replace the ageing workforce globally. They also cite the number of reasons contributing to nurses leaving the profession. These included; heavy workloads, minimal mentoring, low wages, poor working conditions, minimal professional opportunities, and limited autonomy. The article cites statistics from Australia, the UK and other countries to reiterate the dwindling number of young people becoming nurses to replace aging nursing professionals. In Australia, the average of a nurse was 43.2 years in 2004. In the UK one in 5 nurses is over 50 years. The trend is the same worldwide with the US, European countries, Canada, and New Zealand reporting ageing nursing workforce.

Recommended Policy Issues to Address Recruitment and Retention of Nurses

Drury, Frances and Chapman note a number of policy issues that might assist countries to address the problem shortages of professional nurses. Policy issues that target recruitment and retention of nurses. Factors associated with recruitment such as poor remuneration of nurses upon graduation, higher fee charges for courses, limited space capacities in training institutions are highlighted. The issues the article reiterates the collaborative approach which involves government policy to improve pays and conditions; innovations in the industry, such as changes in the shift patterns; and positive marketing of nursing profession that capitalizes on the public perception of nursing.

Reference List

Drury, V., Francis, K., & Chapman, Y. (2008). Where have all the Young Ones Gone: Implications for the Nursing Workforce. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, vol.14 No. 1

Glazer, G., & Alexandre, C. (2008). Legislative: The Nursing shortage. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol. 14, No. 1.