Nursing shortage is a broad and dangerous lack of enough trained nurses in the healthcare setting (Mitchell, 2003). Nurses are needed to provide quality care to patients and the society at large. Because nurses have been trained to save life and take care of patients so that they help them improve, their services are essential and without them, patients and the society in general are at risk. The total number of nurses in the world is estimated to be approximately 12 million (Mitchell, 2003). Recent research and survey indicate that the number of nurses in the US is decreasing at an alarming rate (American Nursing Association, 2012). In the US the term “nursing shortage” has been in the public for several years now, and perhaps it will continue to exist. Although registered nurses (RNs) are still top on the list of employment, there is a high demand for more nurses at the moment and in days to come. Recent reforms in the healthcare sector will allow thousands of people to access healthcare therefore, increasing demand for trained nurses. In the near future, the economy of the US is expected to improve and because of this factor, the shortage of nurses will become a big problem.
It is projected that the crisis of nursing shortage is expected to be on the increase because of the increasing need for healthcare services (American Nursing Association, 2012). Among the many reasons why there is a continuous shortage of nurses in the healthcare sector is that nursing schools enrollment is not high enough to meet the demand for registered nurses in our hospitals. Secondly, there is insufficient staffing, which is affecting trained nurses directly, affecting job satisfaction among registered nurses (American Nursing Association, 2012). Moreover, the average age of nurses in our hospitals in climbing. It is estimated that the average age of registered nurses in our hospitals is 46 years, with more that 50 percent of them almost retiring (American Nursing Association, 2012). These factors among many others should be addressed urgently to ensure that nursing shortage does not become a giant problem in the future.
How I expect leaders and managers to address this crisis
In any field, an organization, or any business employees are the most important assets. In the healthcare sector, nurses and doctors are among the most crucial staff members and valuable assets to the hospital. Healthcare managers and leaders should therefore, develop strategies to address issues faced by nurses so that they can be able to deal with the concern of nursing shortage. One way of addressing these issues is through adoption and implementation of long-term strategies, which will ensure sustainability of the healthcare in our nation.
One such an alternative is for managers and hospitals leaders to create a curriculum that will offer nurses mentoring service (Shapiro, 2008). There is a need to provide mentoring services to newly graduated nurses and even those already in practice. Managers and leaders should all learn to do this in order to address the issue of nursing shortage and nurse turnover. Most studies have shown that most nurses leave the profession within their fist years into practice (Mitchell, 2003). Because of this, I therefore, expect healthcare facility managers and leaders to develop a curriculum that will ensure there is timely and adequate mentoring of nurses. This is because mentoring services provide necessary support and nurturing of both young and experienced professionals (Mitchell, 2003).
Because of numerous challenges faced by new or young nurses, it takes at least one or 2 years for a graduate nurse to feel confidence and comfortable as a practicing nurse (American Nursing Association, 2012). Young nurses are the most affected because the experience is very different compared to the time they were at school. At school, they would have one or two patients with the support of a supervisor. All over a sudden, when one graduates, he or she has six, seven or even eight patients at a time. With no support, the environment is no longer friendly; this creates stress. Because of such challenges faced by young nurses, managers should provide them with support. This will nurture them and therefore, make a huge difference.
Secondly, I expect hospital managers to create a friendly work environment (Marquis and Huston, 2009). No one would feel comfortable to work in an environment that does not motivate or inspire them. A friendly work environment allows individual to be stress free; this enables employees to work efficiently. If the work environment is harsh, employees are likely to have a negative attitude resulting in poor work and even at some point, such employee may resign. To avoid such cases in the healthcare sector, hospital managers should create a friendly work environment (Huber, 2006).
Thirdly, healthcare leaders should also work together with other sectors such education as part of civic engagement. Education facilities such as nursing schools should form strategic partnership with other sectors in order to accommodate more students in the nursing career (Marquis and Huston, 2009). In addition to this, hospital manager should develop flexible work program, which will give nurses who wish to advance their career more time to do so.
Motivational and applicant attraction theory can best apply in this case. Motivational theory will help young nurses to experience self-actualization during the time they are practicing. This will in turn help such nurses develop or grow and become experts who can act independently (Huber, 2006). The applicant attraction model will also help both new and experienced nurses experience job satisfaction in the healthcare setting. Job satisfaction creates self-confidence and allows professionals to deliver in terms of service provision.
Approach to leadership
My personal philosophy of nursing is that quality health care service entails caring, wherein a trained and a competent nurse provides considerate, education, care, and care management to all patients without discrimination. The primary goal of healthcare providers, especially nurses is to give patients care. The best approach to being a competent nurse according to my philosophy is about strategy, accountability, and taking responsibility. In my view, focusing on a plan, making clear of what is expected, and being ready to stand up when things go wrong/ right can help a nurse oto achieve success.
In conclusion, one of the biggest challenges the health sector is facing today is the issue of nursing shortage and nurse turn over. This crisis is expected to get worse in the future, especially if no measures are put in place to address the problem. One of the best ways to address this crisis is for our hospital managers and leaders to develop strategies that will motivate and mentor young nurses. In addition to this, leaders in the healthcare sector should work with other stakeholders in various dockets such as the education sector to ensure that enough facilities are put in place to accommodate more nursing students.
American Nursing Association. (2012). Nursing shortage. Web.
Huber, D. (2006). Leadership and nursing care management. New York: Elsevier Health Sciences
Marquis, B. L. and Huston, C. J. (2009). Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing. New York: Lippincott Williams, & Wilkins.
Mitchell, G. J. (2003). Nursing shortage or nursing famine: Looking beyond numbers? Nursing Science Quarterly, 16 (3), 219-24.
Shapiro, S. (2008). Solving the Shortage: Give nurses a voice and provide opportunities for growth. Web.