Nurses are burned out, tired, and looking to leave their jobs. This is what the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed about the nation’s worsening nursing shortage. The nation is in need of care, but so do the nurses that serve in the healthcare facilities. What can their employers do? 

Let’s look at the state of the current US nurse shortage and help address the issues our nurses are facing today. 

The Nursing Shortage from Yesterday to Tomorrow: What’s Causing It? 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 275,000 nurses will be needed from 2020 to 2030.¹ In contrast, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently reported that 100,000 registered nurses have left the profession since 2020. 

With hospitals starting to overflow with patients, nurses are faced with growing workloads and staffing shortages are now becoming more apparent. The shortage could also be attributed to a mixture of stress, burnout, and retirement seeing as over 600,000 more nurses are planning to leave their jobs by 2027. 

Factors Affecting the Nursing Shortage 

Why is there a nursing shortage in the first place? Let’s have a look at the different aspects surrounding the nursing shortage at the moment. 

Mental Health Concerns 

Since the pandemic, 62 percent of nurses cited an increase in their workload. This could understandably result in unmanageable workloads for the nurses, which may lead to stress and burnout.  

In fact, about 50.8 percent of registered, vocational, and licensed practical nurses surveyed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing said they felt emotionally drained. The survey also discovered that nearly half were also burned out or fatigued “a few times a week” or even “everyday”.² 

Decreased Satisfaction in Younger Nurses 

Higher job satisfaction was found in nurses with at least five years of experience compared to those who just started working as nurses. 8 out of 10 Baby Boomers were satisfied with their job, but only 6 out of 10 Gen Z nurses were.  

When it comes to job recommendations, younger nurses were less likely to recommend nursing as a career path. This is concerning as younger nurses will be the ones to replace retiring nurses soon. 

Federal Government Visa Cap 

The visa cap has limited the help US facilities can get from international nurses. In May, the State Department said that there were no available slots for green card-seeking nurses and they may not be able to work in the United States. This might cause hospitals and nursing homes that need help from overseas nurses to look for healthcare employees elsewhere. 

Because of the nursing scarcity, it is also worth noting that some hospitals nationwide are starting to choose which of their units may be best closed. 

The Next Years in Nursing 

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing survey, from the start of the pandemic up until 2027, nearly 900,000 nurses will leave their jobs. That’s nearly 1 out of 5 of America’s 4.5 million registered nurses.³  

These numbers are quite alarming as they predict that the shortage will only get worse. If the shortage isn’t resolved, there will be fewer qualified nurses that can focus on caring for patients in need, especially those in critical conditions. 

Helping Solve the Nursing Crisis: What Can Be Done 

Now that we have an idea of the current nursing shortage, it’s time for employers to act with kindness. Here are some things you can do to help out our struggling nursing workforce so in return they can care for their patients better. 

1. Offer more flexible schedules. 

Having more flexible schedules may be key to reducing burnout. People, even nurses, seek greater control over their schedules. Nurses also face unpredictable work hours, so granting them more autonomy in managing their calendars can enhance their work environment while ensuring their dedication to their current roles. 

What healthcare facilities can do is offer part-time and full-time shifts, depending on what their nursing workforce needs. 

2. Provide better benefit packages. 

Employers can help solve nursing shortages by improving benefits packages. Offering competitive salaries and benefits packages can attract a larger pool of qualified candidates to apply to health care facilities. 

You can also regularly review compensations to ensure its attractiveness to nurses. You can conduct surveys among your employed nurses to gather valuable feedback for adjustments whenever possible. This will demonstrate your commitment to meeting their needs and appreciation for their valuable expertise. 

3. Provide mental health support. 

Nurses are required to work long hours. On top of this, they have heavy workloads that may also expose them to emotionally challenging scenarios. Nurses frequently encounter traumatic events that may take a toll on their mental wellness. As an employer, you can show your support to them by acknowledging and addressing the causes of their stress. 

In providing emotional and mental support, nurses can have the space to feel safe and express what they truly feel. Talking to a mental health professional can also provide them with guidance to cope with their stressful situation, improve their resilience, and boost their emotional well-being. 

4. Form a strong nurse candidate pool. 

A nurse candidate pool provides a healthcare facility with a network of qualified nurses they can tap into in case some of their members decide to leave their jobs. This allows them to have more flexible recruitment, especially at times of unexpected shortages or high demands. 

To care for your nursing pool, you can provide them with short training programs online and regularly get in touch with them through newsletters and events. You may also create an online community such as a Facebook group. This also helps them build connections with other nurses who can provide support in case they too are feeling uncertain or uneasy about their roles. 

5. Work with nursing-focused staffing agencies. 

Getting in touch with staffing firms is another viable solution. Their experts can make sure your facility is well-staffed with the right people. Staffing firms already have a network of nurses to get in touch with, so finding your next best nurses would be easier for them. They will also take care of applicant screening, so you can focus on running your hospital or facility with the help of your present nursing workforce. ⁴ 

Care for your nurses, so that they may provide better care to their patients. 

The nursing shortage is real and has been affecting patient care for years now. As an employer, it is your duty to provide the support your nurses need so they can stand steadier on their feet and provide care for their patients in need. Talk to them and listen to what they have to say. 


If you are in need of nurses to hire, PRS Global is here to connect you with nurses both locally and from around the globe through direct hiring. We’ll assist you in finding the most qualified nurses and help them adapt to your American healthcare facility. 

Get in touch with us today. 



 “NCSBN Research Projects Significant Nursing Workforce Shortages and Crisis.” NSCBN, Apr. 14, 2023, 

3 Alltucker, Ken. “US Faces ‘perfect Storm’ Nurse Staffing Crisis: About a Third Plan to Leave, Survey Finds.” USA Today, May 3, 2023, 

4. Njoroge, Allan. “Treating Nursing Burnout Needs To Be A Priority For Healthcare.” Forbes, May 4, 2023,