Health Policy and Economics


In some countries, nursing is ranked among the most respected professions but in other countries, this is not the case. The latter is mostly experienced in developing countries and there are a number of reasons why this profession is not as well sought after, as one would hope. Healthcare in these countries is not the best, which leads to the healthcare professionals suffering largely giving rise to problems and certain shortages (Reilly, 2017). The working conditions are not very conducive and this has been a concern for many health workers in different countries not only in the USA. Nurses prefer going to work for private hospitals where they can be able to get better working conditions and be paid more (Alipour, 2019). Some countries have even been able to establish healthcare tourism due to the standards of healthcare that they are able to give to their patients and their citizens at large (Alipour, 2019). This means that nurses are also well taken care of and they can work in a conducive and favourable environment.

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The Steps that can be taken to address Nurse Shortages

In this respect, several solutions can be formulated by making certain policies to avert certain crises in regards to nurse shortages. These solutions when sought after can enable people to be attended to by nurses to get much better. Nursing is a vital element in healthcare and whereas while the doctors can diagnose the patient, nurses are responsible for a multitude of things that can enable the patient to get better and go home in time (Sasso, 2019). One of the solutions is to pay better salaries and wages to nurses, which has been one of the major challenges in the healthcare sector. The more the hardship the better the pay should be; and this is common law because of the challenges nurses from hardship areas experience (Reilly, 2017). This also should include their education, which should be given more funding for them to progress their careers. 

Another solution would be to ensure that there is an improved image of nurses and just as mentioned before this affects many countries where people do not want to be nurses. This is because the profession is not respected enough, which is sad because it should be one of the most respected jobs in a country (Zhang, 2018). Once nursing is respected then more people would want to be in that line of work. In return, this would result in the shortage being reduced quite significantly by the government. 

Another solution, although the short term would be to hire foreign nurses for a period to address the shortage at the time while formulating long-term solutions.  This would ensure that the hospitals are not chaotic and there is no confusion in the wards and other areas of the hospitals (Zhang, 2019). It would require getting nurses from countries that have a surplus to counter the nursing shortage.

The Events that led to the shortage

The turn of events that led to the shortage of nurses began sometime back due to several reasons. This challenge could be traced back to 2012 according to a survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In the USA, a multitude of nursing schools turned away almost 80,000 applicants who were qualified for nursing courses (Bakhamis, 2019). The reason that led to this action was that there was an insufficient number of clinical sites, clinical preceptors, number of faculties, and budget constraints. 

This was an issue that developed gradually, which showed that there was neglect in this area because of not predicting these changes in the field. Additionally, an aging workforce resulted in many vacant positions, which led to many people wanting to fill these positions (Lin, 2018). Furthermore, during this period there were several technological developments in the healthcare industry that led to many of these nurses being employed in small amounts. These hospital acuity programs encouraged patients to be diagnosed, treated, and discharged rapidly and they did not require to stay in the hospital.

In 2013, there was another survey that was conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, which concluded that 55% of the RN workforce was aged 50 or even older (Zhang, 2018). In addition, during this period more than one million nurses were poised to retire in the next 10 to 15 years. This meant that it would be difficult for the ones enrolling to be taken up at the moment. The main question was to assess whether there would be other places where these applicants can be fitted before these other nurses retired (Alipour, 2019).

Future Role as a Nurse

The most important factor is to ensure that I can be a competent nurse and one who is diligent. Service should be the topmost priority in my time as a nurse and a healthcare professional. However, many administrative legislation should be looked into to avert such a crisis in the future. It is important that nurses acquire other skills that can enable them to undertake other duties besides what they are trained for, to ensure that they are more marketable in the industry (Alipour, 2019). It would also be a perfect idea if private hospitals were to facilitate positions for new nurses and healthcare professionals. This would mean that for every graduating class there would be a new set of nurses ready for work.

This crisis could have been averted easily if there was more attention being given to the field, instead of undermining it. The top brass should have ensured that there is an engagement with other stakeholders to try and deliberate these issues in a manner that would avoid a crisis such as this that has already occurred (Bakhamis, 2019). Where would all these people go? Since they would continue to stay out of work probably doing voluntary work and it is impossible to force the aging workforce into retirement.

The Role of legislation in the staffing shortage in the future

Legislation is the only thing that can ensure that this crisis does not re-emerge in the future. The policymakers including those in Congress should be able to formulate policies that enable nurses to be taken up after they finish school either in the private or public sector.

It is important to note that this legislation more often makes the difference and there should be engagement between all the legislative levels and the stakeholders. This would enable them to reach an agreement that would ensure that the grandaunt is protected (Sasso, 2019). Even the late entry point into some of these nursing programs should be addressed. Like any other profession, nurses also need to add value to themselves and this should be the case due to the lack of funding in the education programs of these nursing courses (Sasso, 2019). Once some of these challenges are addressed the profession will be able to have a positive image, which will ensure that the nurse can perform their duties properly.


The nurses’ shortage should be treated as a national disaster because healthcare is an extremely vital part of the economy and the state. Probably through universal healthcare, some of these problems will be mitigated and they will enable the nurses who cannot find jobs to go to other countries where they can be employed for the time being in countries such as Britain, Canada, South Africa, and others.  It is a fact that nurses are needed in hospitals even despite the hospital acuity program. Nurses are the human element when it comes to caregiving, which is the most important aspect of the nursing profession.


Alipour Z, Eskandari N, Abbasi M, Raisi M, Bakouei S. (2019) Structural challenges in the health domain of the health system reform: A qualitative study. J Educ Health Promot. 

Bakhamis L, Paul DP, Smith H, Coustasse A. (2019) Still an Epidemic: The Burnout Syndrome in Hospital Registered Nurses. Health Care Manag (Frederick). 

Sasso L, Bagnasco A, Catania G, Zanini M, Aleo G, Watson R. (2019) Push and pull factors of nurses’ intention to leave. J Nurs Manag. 

Tyczkowski BL, Reilly J. (2017) DNP-Prepared Nurse Leaders: Part of the Solution to the Growing Faculty Shortage. J Nurs Adm.Zhang X, Tai D, Pforsich H, Lin V.W. (2018) United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast: A Revisit. Am J Med Qual.

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