Why is there a nursing staff shortage in 2020? Understanding demand for nurses

Nursing staff shortage 2020

There are several challenges facing the healthcare system, but the one getting the most attention lately is the nursing shortage in 2020 felt around the country. Patient care demands continue to grow, but there are fewer people than ever before to meet the need. For those who are in the midst of making a career choice, becoming a nurse practitioner or an RN is a strong choice with job security, given this growing demand for nurses.

The ideal time for healthcare education

Though traditional degree choices will help ensure a better career and financial stability, entering nursing school is one field of study that is showing a lot of promise. With so many hospitals, clinics, and care settings looking for qualified workers, there has been a substantial increase in the pay and benefits generally offered to nurses.

The demand also means you won’t have to wait as long post-graduation to get a job. The stiff competition among desperate healthcare facilities has led to a rise in tuition reimbursement benefits in order to attract potential talent early and hold on after graduation. Having a job to begin your nursing career as soon as you graduate brings immense peace of mind.

Why is there a nursing staff shortage? 4 reasons

This isn’t one thing to blame for the nursing shortage, rather, several elements that are creating a more dire situation. The four main reasons are:

1. Baby Boomers increasing the demand for nurses

The Baby Boomers make up the largest generation in the country, but these individuals are nearing retirement. As more Baby Boomer nurses continue to retire but without a corresponding number of entrants into the field, positions are left unfilled. The aging concerns of the Baby Boomers are putting more demand on the healthcare system as well.

2. Poor retention leading to a nursing staff shortage

With the shortage of nurses, many individuals are feeling the pressure of long hours and stressful working conditions. As a result, many are leaving for other professions where there isn’t as much stress. For example, 7 careers in public health are also getting more attention.

3. Medical advancements

The amazing advancements made in medicine have raised the mortality rate. While this has given aging adults more time with family and friends, they require long-term care needs that the current workforce isn’t able to address. The changing technology also requires nurses who are trained in the new areas of medicine or treatments and who can teach it to others.

4. Resource shortages

Just as Baby Boomer nurses are retiring, so are the teaching facility of nursing programs across the nation. Staffing issues limit how many individuals can be selected for a nursing program, stifling opportunities to get enough nurses into the field to address the shortage.

The impact of the nursing shortage in 2020

Patients are not going to be the only ones suffering on account of the shortage, though they may suffer the most. There is great concern among the healthcare community over the predictions of decreased quality of care as nurses struggle to manage high caseloads and nurse-to-patient ratios.

Statistics show there is an increased likelihood of patient mortality when patients only have a single nurse. Loved ones will also pay the price for the shortage. Nurses themselves will struggle as they navigate more stressful working conditions. The poor work/life balance, longer hours, and emotional demands of the job can lead to burnout. This would make already low numbers even worse.

Final thoughts as you consider careers

Given the demand for nurses, now is a great time to consider nursing as a career option. In addition to filling a deep need for high-quality care, you can have a part in making someone’s life a little healthier and happier.


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