Nurse Shortage


The shortage of nurses is a critical issue facing the healthcare system today. The deficit is partly due to the increasingly aging population of the baby boomers who have overwhelmed the number of available nurses. Secondly, it is caused lack of a proper guideline to recruit nurses to accommodate the increasing for nursing care. According to McKechnie (2016), the shortage of nurses is propelled by the high rate of nurse turnover, where nurses decided to leave their jobs due to workplace frustrations. The nurse shortage has led to the delivery of poor quality care because nurses handle a large workload beyond the recommended ratio, which leads to nurse burnout. A study by Zhang et al. (2016), states that nurse shortage will significantly affect the quality of care in most parts of the US by 2030. Additionally, some parts of the country will be affected more than others. For instance, Zhang et al. (2016), predicts New Mexico to experience the worst shortage. This paper seeks to address nurse shortage by lobbying for intervention from stakeholders such as legislators to pass laws that promote the recruitment and retention of nurses.

Choosing the Topic

I chose this topic because nurse shortage is affecting the quality of care in the healthcare system while relevant stakeholders including the government assume the situation is normal. For instance, nurses are demoralized in healthcare settings because they are overworked. In this way, the number of hours dedicated to each patient has been significantly lowered. Consequently, patients tend to stay longer in hospitals and take an extended period to recover than usual. According to McKechnie (2016), nurse shortage increases the risk of infection at the ICU. Such cases show the seriousness of the effects of nurse shortage which affects nurses, patients, and the healthcare system collectively. By addressing this issue, the relevant authorities are likely to see sense and support its implementation to mitigate the adverse effects of nurse shortage.

Lobby for Support

I will lobby for support from the state and federal government by requesting the representatives to present the proposal to recruit more nurses in their respective parliaments. I will explain to my local representative the significance of hiring more nurses. Additionally, I will lobby for more funds to be allocated to the department of health to facilitate the recruitment and retention of nurses to reduce nurse shortage because the main reason given by the department of health is lack of funds to enable recruitment and retention of more nurses. In this way, the health department will be in a position to fund the recruitment and retention process by providing a conducive working environment.

Current Relevance

The need for more nurses has increased today due to the evolution of healthcare needs. The baby boomers are aging at an alarming rate with most of them retiring from work and needing people to care for them. Additionally, they are experiencing a lot of health challenges, and diseases related to aging such as heart failure and diabetes. Similarly, nurses are also retiring at a high rate because like everyone else in society, most of them are in the baby boomers generation category. This creates more vacuum in an already nurse deficient healthcare system. Haddad and Toney-Butler (2018), identifies various issues that call for immediate intervention to address nurse shortage in the healthcare system today. For example, the author states that the highest number of US citizens are aged above 65 years and are currently estimated at 71 million individuals. There is a greater need for healthcare services to care for the aging population. Haddad and Toney-Butler (2018), also states that the heavy workload at the hospitals leads to nurse burnout, prompting some nurses to quit the profession. The study estimates the nurse turnover rate at an average of 25%, which is not healthy for the healthcare system. Additionally, the majority of professional nurses are female with family needs.  Haddad and Toney-Butler (2018), argues that during the period for childbearing, the nurses cut their services or quit the profession altogether. Recruiting more nurse will cushion such emergencies and issues because there will be more nurses to care for the aging population and replace the ones on leave or who have quit the profession. Moreover, nurse workload will reduce, which will improve their morale in the profession and reduce turnover. In this way, there will be continuity of care delivery thus improving quality of care in the society.

Integration into Clinical Practice

Most nurses work in clinics where they serve patients with diverse needs. The issue will be addressed by recruiting more nurses and ensuring that the ones already in service are retained to improve nurse to patient ratio. When the nurse-patient ratio is increased such that one nurse serves a maximum of two patients, the nurses are likely to give the patients more time towards their recovery, thus shortening their recovery and period of stay at the health facility. Similarly, the employers should motivate the nurses who have joined the workplace through incentives and reasonable compensation to ensure that they continue providing nursing services thus reducing nurse turnover rate. Another way of ensuring nurse shortage is addressed in the clinical setting is reducing the number of beds to conform to the number of nurses available at the facility. However, this method will lock out many patients from accessing care. According to King and King (2018), the recruitment of more nurses will ensure that the delays experience at emergency rooms reduce and more lives are saved. Similarly, () adds that healthcare organizations should devise ways of empowering nurses to motivate them using methods as Magnet Certification to promote quality of care through professional nursing.


Shortage of nurses is a critical issue that needs to be addressed soon to protect the healthcare system. Patient recovery primarily depends on the amount and quality of time a nurse has dedicated to the patient. Consequently, there is a need for the recruitment of more nurses and devising ways to retain existing ones. This is because the demand for nursing care is increasing with time due to the aging population, which poses new challenges to nursing care. For instance, the number of baby boomers is growing at a faster rate than the available nurses can handle. Nurses are therefore overwhelmed prompting others to quit due to burnout. Appealing to relevant stakeholders including legislators will push for action, which may result in the recruitment of more nurses to improve nurse-patient ratio and improve quality of care. Admittedly, the change cannot occur overnight, but strides have to be taken gradually but steadily to ensure that nurse shortage is faced out. In this way, nurse shortage and its effects on the healthcare system will be something of the past.


McKechnie, T. (2016). Call for nurses: The Multi-Dimensional Manifestation of Nursing Shortage on Patient Care. QI Journal of Healthcare Improvement and Patient Safety, (2).

Zhang, X., Tai, D., Pforsich, H., & Lin, V. W. (2018). United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast: A Revisit. American Journal of Medical Quality33(3), 229-236.

King, B., & King, B. M. (2018). Causes and Adverse Effects from Overcrowding of Emergency Departments: The Solution.

Haddad, L. M., & Toney-Butler, T. J. (2018). Nursing shortage.