The general occurrences in healthcare are closely related to trends in nursing. In some instances, trends can be closely related to each other. As it stands now, the United States is comprised of over 2.7 million nurses (Auerbach, Buerhaus & Staiger 2007, p.184). This implies that the healthcare working force is mainly made up of the nursing fraternity. Despite a large number of the nursing workforce, there is a growing trend in terms of the nursing shortfall. In other words, there is a sharp demographic challenge that is facing the nursing field due to the large number of patients who need care. Factors that have caused this shortage are not isolated at all. Some of the causes of this massive shortfall consist of a difficult working environment, poor management of the nursing staff, a dissipating workforce, and financial constraints. This essay offers a brief analysis of the trends in the management of nursing.
Higher paying jobs and decent working opportunities have compelled several registered nurses to depart the nursing profession. There was an approximated 500,000 registered nurses in the United States who had not been employed before the close of 2002 (Auerbach, Buerhaus & Staiger 2007, p.180). Worse still, the unemployment trend is still a major cause of concern within the nursing fraternity. It is common practice that inexperienced staff members usually replace nurses who have departed nursing leading to poor quality delivery of health services (Auerbach, Buerhaus & Staiger 2007, p.179). This is a management factor that has worsened the performance of the nursing profession for a long time. The nursing expertise has also suffered tragic loss bearing in mind that the newly graduated nurses can no longer enjoy the guidance of experienced nursing staff when they freshly join the profession. The nursing exodus since the onset of the new millennium has also been exacerbated by poor wages and a declining trend in job satisfaction (Tzeng & Yin 2009, p.22). A lower satisfaction level was accounted as one of the core reasons why nurses leave the profession according to the survey that was done in the year 2000 (Auerbach, Buerhaus & Staiger 2007, p.182). As already mentioned, the growth in wages earned by the nursing staff has been on the decline. For the past nine years or so, the purchasing power of registered nurses has not improved despite the move by the government to adjust inflation rates (Auerbach, Buerhaus & Staiger 2007, p.185).
Healthcare under the nursing fraternity is also facing a gloomy future due to the demographic element of the aging nurses who are registered. For instance, less than ten percent of registered nurses are below 3 years (Tzeng & Yin 2009, p.22). This implies that the baby-boomer nurses are facing imminent retirement. In Canada, the trend is not promising at all. Currently, the country is lacking close to 100, 000 registered nurses, and the situation is expected to get worse as we approach the end of the second decade of this millennium (Tzeng & Yin 2009, p.20). This is purely a management challenge in the nursing profession and unless it is addressed in good time, the trend will jeopardize the entire healthcare sector.
There are reduced admissions in the nursing profession compared to the way it used to be some years back. For example, between 1995 and 2000, about a 26 percent decline in the new graduate RNs was recorded (Tzeng & Yin 2009, p.19). The educational pipeline does not currently hold enough nursing students who can adequately replace those going for retirement (Tzeng & Yin 2009, p.20).
Auerbach, D.I., Buerhaus, P.I. & Staiger, D.O 2007, “TRENDS: Better Late Than Never: Workforce Supply Implications Of Later Entry Into Nursing”, Health affairs, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 178-185.
Tzeng, H. & Yin, C 2009, “Historical Trends in Human Resource Issues of Hospital Nursing in the Past Generation”, Nursing Economics, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 19-25.