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Why is the Nursing Shortage Happening in the US? 

They come by different monikers: unsung heroes, angels of mercy, the glue that holds the medical system together. Nurses have valiantly battled COVID19 in the past two years, and they deserve praise and recognition for their selflessness. To be a nurse means to be willing to give up time to take care of the community. One can only imagine how much sacrifice they had to offer to control the virus during this pandemic. 

Sadly, this sacrifice took a different toll in the past 24 months and gave birth to a shortage of nurses across the US. Many have succumbed to the virus, and a considerable lot have simply given up. Some nurses quit their jobs to transfer to ones where they’ll feel more appreciated. Others chose to stay at home to protect their loved ones. 

Other factors include nurse burnout, an aging professional population, and gender issues. These three issues are ones that hospitals and medical institutions still have a hand at fixing. Read on to find out why is the nursing shortage happening in the US.

Nurse burnout is a real phenomenon. 

This particular dilemma does not come as a surprise. With endless hospital shifts, little to unrewarded hazard pays, and demands falling on deaf ears, nurses have felt that their light in this profession is either dimming or not seen at all. That’s why nurses have turned in their resignation letters and sought out other avenues where they’ll both feel safe and appreciated. In fact, a study back in 2020 revealed that the turnover rate for nurses in the US is between 8.8% to 37%, depending on which nursing specialization or location. Imagine what these rates would be two years after. 

What is good about the present time is that corporations and governments have learned their lesson. Provisions for higher pay and value-added benefits have been instated so that nurses feel the value of being true modern-day heroes. Healthcare companies and institutions are expected to follow suit. Have a look into the current benefits of your nurses and be keener with what they tell human resources when it comes to struggles in their role. 

A particular issue to look at is hazard pay. There have been items in the news about hazard payments not being enough for nurses to feel their additional work hours are honored. In this particular era of a global pandemic, profit may have to suffer for health workers to continue working for a longer time. Think of giving large and well-deserved hazard pays as investments, so your medical institution still has a happy and willing workforce post-pandemic. 

Not enough younger nurses are coming in. 

When a nurse has to retire, there is no stopping them. But when the time comes and a lot of nurses will bid farewell to the community through retirement, it will definitely shake the industry.  

A whopping 55% of nurses in America are actually at least 50 years old. In fact, in the next 10 to 15 years, more than 1 million nurses are expected to retire.2 With these retiring nurses, there’s expertise and experience that need to be passed on to the next generation. But if the next generation isn’t plenty in number, the nursing shortage will continue to be a problem. 

Another dilemma with the aging nursing population is that advancements in medicine are coming in. There is a growing demand for nurses trained in these new technologies that current nurses have little to no idea how to utilize. If the problem is left unsolved, hospitals will soon be left in the dust with fewer nurses applying technologies that are supposed to save more lives. Employing younger nurses in bulk is the most straightforward solution to the looming concern of baby boomer nurses soon retiring from the profession. 

Do your best to reach out to nursing schools, even they are in other countries. Grab the opportunity to have their fresh graduates work at your medical institution right away. Create an internship program for undergraduates that will act as an application process with your hospital and assure them of employment once they get off their graduation ceremony. It would also be nice to promise them assistance with nursing licensure exams, both with testing fees and reviews.  

If your company is willing to pay to upgrade your systems according to the advancements of the medical field, you should also spend both time and resources for company-wide training. Current and new nurses must be subjected to the training of new equipment, processes, and the like, not only to be informed but also to pass on the knowledge for future knowledge. This training can be part of their onboarding period, so they are exposed to new means within the field early.  

There is still gender bias in the nursing industry. 

This is a sad truth, and the bias works both ways. For instance, male nurses feel displaced in a female-dominated industry, yet female nurses still experience gender bias in having opportunities beyond nursing. It’s still male nurses who get promoted to managerial positions, and female nurses have lesser salaries in non-union hospitals in the US. If there is fear and dismay for both genders to enter the world of nursing, how will the healthcare staffing shortage be diminished?  

There is no other way to tackle this issue within medical institutions but to ask human resources to review their hiring and promotions process. Simply make sure that potential nurses and leaders are considered based on their achievements and tenure. You might also want to include in your job advertisements that opportunities for management positions are open to everyone, and bring this promise into action. All in all, cultivate inclusion within your organization. A culture of inclusivity and respect will drive more nurses in, and the nursing shortage can indeed be alleviated. 

PRS Global can help you with the nursing shortage. 

PRS Global is your ultimate choice when it comes to scouting the best nurses of the world and into the US. With the staffing agency’s tried and tested processes, nurses from different corners of the earth will flock into the country to help fight this looming dilemma of a challenged population. PRS Global will assure assistance in acclimating to a new work environment, give a hand in preparing for licensure exams and immigration concerns, and take care of each international nurse’s well-being. 

Your medical institution might need to open its doors to a rich resource of nurses out there. Contact PRS Global now