Nursing Shortage

 “Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.”  ~bernard shaw


And what do I imagine?  The arts integrated in every healthcare organization.  Creative interventions incorporated into patient care… included in patient care plans…becoming a standard nursing order for patients and families…integrated into nursing theories…and so on…


(an old book I transformed to a Book of Quotes)

As I was researching and thinking about the topic for this post, I realized the field of nursing is in a crises situation, thus, effecting the entire health care industry.  Nurses are the backbone in healthcare, providing the infrastructure, foundation, support, mortar, and represents a huge revenue portion in all healthcare organizations.  Nurses are firmly planted in insurance companies, public and private medical centers and hospitals, specialty outpatient centers, outpatient clinics, medical offices, schools, in the private and public sectors, and the list goes on.

The crises/shortage of nurses is reaching a critical point.  This chaos is necessary before change  within nursing and the entire health care industry, can occur.  Change in attitudes, perceptions  and value by the general public, by other health professionals, by health care administrators, by the business communities, by policy makers, and by nurses themselves. 

handsNurses enter nursing because they (we) are empathetic by nature,  are concerned for people’s well-being, and have a strong desire to help our fellow human-beings.  It would nearly be impossible for the health care industry to exist or function without nurses. 

But I’m digressing, so…


The Nursing Shortage

The information presented in this post on the current nursing shortage is not new.  In fact, the nursing shortage of RNs providing direct clinical care has been building for a number of years, and is due to a number of contributing factors.  A lot of this information was gleaned from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website as well as other reputable websites.  Below is a summary of factors contributing to the nursing shortage and effects on patient care. 

Here’s some facts about the nursing shortage:

  • Enrollment in schools of nursing is not growing fast enough to meet the projected demand for nurses over the next ten years.  Extremely qualified students are being placed on waiting lists at nursing schools because of the limited number of available spots in academic programs.  In the mean time,students nurseconsider and pursue other career paths; they can’t put their professional lives on hold forever.  This cycle becomes a self-perpetuating crises.
  • In April 2006, Health Resources and Services Administration officials released projections that the nation’s nursing shortage would  grow to more  than one million nurses by the year 2020, and to meet the projected growth in demand for RN services, the U.S. must graduate approximately 90% more  nurses from US nursing schools.
  •  A shortage of nursing school faculty is restricting nursing morning-glory2program enrollments.   In 2007, U.S. schools of nursing turned away 41,285 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs due to insufficient number of faculty.  Unfilled faculty positions, resignations, projected retirements, and the shortage of students being prepared for faculty positions pose a threat to the nursing education workforce over the next five years.
  •  With fewer new nurses entering the profession, the average age of the RN is  climbing.   In February 2007, The Federal Division of Nursing released the average age of RNs in March 2004 was 46.8 yrs; in 2000, the average RN age was 45.2.  The RN population under the age of 30 dropped from 9.0% of the nursing population in 2000 to 8.0% in 2004.
  • The total population of registered nurses is growing at a slow rate.    The RN shortage is 8 percent now and is projected to be 46 percent by 2020 if nothing is done to expand the capacity of nursing schools (Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, JCAHO).


  • 78 million Baby Boomers are going to put unprecedented demand on the healthcare system with the 65 and older population growing by 54 percent between 2000 and 2020 ( U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau). A serious shortage of nurses is expected and the future demand for nurses is expected to increase dramatically as the baby boomers reach their 60s and beyond. Many of these Baby Boomers are experienced nursing professionals who have taken on administration and education roles. However, they too will be retiring and there is no one to replace them.
  • Insufficient staffing increase stress levels, impacts job satisfaction, and as a result, many nurses are forced to leave the profession.  Dr. Peter Buerhaus reports that greater than 75% of RNs believe the nursing shortage directly effects the quality of their work, the quality of patient care, and the amount of time nurses can spend with patients.  Almost all surveyed nurses see the shortage in the future as a catalyst for increasing stress on nurses (98%), lowering patient care quality (93%) and causing nurses to leave the profession (93%).  March-April 2005 Nursing Economics.
  • According to another study by JAMA (Journal of the Americanno-admittance Medical Association, Oct 2002), nurses reported greater job dissatisfaction and emotional exhaustion when they were responsible for more patients than they could safely care for.
  • High nurse turnover and vacancy rates are affecting access to health care.   In March 2005, the Bernard Hodes Group released the results of a national poll of 138 health care recruiters and found that the average RN turnover rate was 13.9%, the vacancy rate was 16.1% and the average RN cost-per-hire was $2,821.

 Below is graph on the current and future status of the nursing shortage in the US.  As you can see, the demand for RNs will contiue to far exceed the supply of RNs.  Evidently, something needs to change or health care will be in a more dire situation.



 Creativity Interventions as a strategy to address the nursing shortage – in the next post 🙂


11 responses to “Nursing Shortage

  1. This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that
    helped me. Thank you!

  2. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been doing a little
    research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about
    this matter here on your web site.

  3. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was
    great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re
    going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  4. Hurrah, that’s what I was looking for, great information! present here at this webpage,
    thanks admin of this web site.

  5. You need to be a part of a contest for one of the finest sites on the web.
    I am going to highly recommend this site!

  6. Appreciation to my father who stated to me concerning this webpage, this webpage is
    actually remarkable.

  7. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and also the rest of the website is extremely good.

  8. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to
    say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog
    posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed
    and I hope you write again very soon!

  9. Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe this amazing site needs far more
    attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more,
    thanks for the advice!

  10. Hi Marti,
    Love your post! Right On!
    I’m referring an MD to your site who just got a patent for pre-programmed music headphones to use in surgery.
    You can find us and other speakers like us at Please join us in the Health Professional Network there.
    Blessings on all you are & do~
    :)) Aila

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s