The Impact of the Nursing Shortage

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In a UPI article by Alex Cukan titled Caregiving: Bigger nursing shortage looms, the author points out the immediate shortage of qualified nurses and warns that the problem will worsen in the near future. The November 29, 2005 article explains that as the baby boom generation gets older, more of them will enter the health care system and continue to compound the problem.


The statistics bear out what the author projects. Cukan reports that in the next decade just over 600,000 nurses will enter the field. However, this will be 500,000 fewer than the anticipated job openings and will leave the profession short by more than one million nurses. She further states that as many as 20 percent of registered nurses have left the profession in recent years. Though bringing these skilled workers back into the workforce would help alleviate the shortage, the author points to the expense and difficulties involved with recruiting and retraining these former nurses.
Cukan offers a possible solution to the shortage problem when she discusses hiring nurses from other countries. She says 60,000 nurses currently working in the United States come from Canada, England, and Ireland. However, she warns that tapping the pool of qualified nurses from developing countries runs the risk of creating a global nursing shortage. This would leave developing countries at risk and unable to provide quality health care and adequately manage disease. She says that 85 percent of the nursing organizations around the world indicated they were currently experiencing a nursing shortage. This represents 69 countries and will further limit the supply of qualified nurses.
The long-term impact of the nursing shortage will become increasingly more si ...
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