Nursing Shortage;Recruitment And Retention
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The U.S. nursing shortage had been a serious issue for quite sometime now and continues to escalate. As the nursing workforce continues to age, nurses leave the profession faster than they can be replaced and the crisis continues to grow. Nurses are leaving for different reasons. What is being done to solve the nursing shortage here in the United States? Nursing recruitment and retention is one of many solutions that can alleviate this problem.
“Nurses are privileged to belong to a profession that commands a level of credibility and respect that few others in health care or any other field can claim. According to the Gallup Organizations 2005 annual poll on professional honesty and ethical standards ranked nurses number one. With one exception, after September 11, 2001 (when nurses ranked second following firefighters), nursing has been the highest-rated profession in Gallups “honesty and ethics” survey since their initial inclusion in 1999. (2006). Why is there such nursing shortage all over the country if nursing is a good profession to go into? An overwhelming number of nurses experienced increased patient care, inadequate staffing, decreased nurse satisfaction, stress on the job, increasing technological demands resulting in a delay in providing basic care and dramatic decrease in the quality of patient care. The lack of qualified nurse educators compounds the problem with the inability to train new nurses quickly. The lack of capacity at nursing programs is a major problem that is also contributing to the nursing shortage.
Many young adults or high school graduates do not want to go into the nursing profession. We should start at the most basic level to recruit nurses and that is to educate and communicate to the public and the youth of America about what and who nurses really are. As nurses, recruitment can start with us, we can educate and inform the young adults, and the public about the positive aspects of nursing such as how important nurses are and how much of an impact nurses make in everyday life.
“AB 2839 (Nursing Schools: Approval Requirements which “requires the Board of Registered Nursing to establish a workgroup, or use an existing committee, to encourage and facilitate efficient transfer agreements or other enrollment models between associate degree nursing programs and baccalaureate degree nursing programs, so that students will be able to complete the baccalaureate program without unnecessary repetition of coursework can help retention of nurses in the workforce.” (2006) is one of the legislation that passed and has a great impact for nursing advancement. This legislation has a great impact for me as a nurse. The place where I work provides educational incentives that include tuition reimbursement for nurses who wanted to continue their education. They have education opportunities given to nursing assistants who wants to go back to school to get their license as a registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse, an ADN nursing graduate who wants to advance their education and go for the BSN, and BSN graduates who want to go for their Masters degree and many more. They also provide training programs for nurses such as lengthy orientation programs and preceptorships for new nursing graduates and new hires that require more intense orientation.
There are legal responsibilities that we have as professional nurses. Because of the nursing shortage, one of the major issues of concern is staffing. Inappropriate staffing can threaten patients safety. Inadequate staffing can also affect the nurses health, safety, and the integrity and quality of care for the patient. Staffing also concerns nurses because of the pressures everyday due to increasing patient intensity, increasing complexity of care and the fatigue they feel which increases over time. “The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health defines job stress as “the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker”. (2006).
There are ethical issues that we as nurses have to deal with because of the nursing shortage. We have our moral principles to follow and use as foundation of professional judgment and moral decision making so we will be able to provide high quality nursing care. At the same time, we maintain professional and moral integrity while we manage risks in the healthcare environment. Burnout is one of the biggest forces in the nursing shortage crisis. Nurses burn out and leave the profession. Finding ways to prevent burnout is important to retain nurses in the workforce as long as possible. “The American Nurses Association Staffing Survey further found that nurses are putting their patients and their patients safety ahead of their own personal and professional needs. When asked about what they have been experiencing in their workplace, a significant number of respondents indicated they are “skipping meals and breaks to care for patients” (5,711); feel “an increased pressure to accomplish work” (5,340); are “pressured to work voluntary overtime” (4,258); are not able to “attend continuing education programs due to an increased workload” (4,210); and suffer from “increased stress-related illness” (3,762). In addition, 3,617 respondents said they feel “exhausted and discouraged” when they leave work, with an additional 3,222 recognizing that they are “discouraged and saddened by what they couldnt provide for their patients”. And, 2,928 of those questioned said they feel “powerless to effect change necessary for safe, quality patient care”. (2006) The effects of fatigue not only endanger the patient but also the RN. These findings place new