Ideally, the recommended ratio of nurse to patients in any setting in the area of practice should be 1:2 at most to ensure the patients receive quality and maximum attention. This is not the case in most of the healthcare providing institutions and more so in the community services carried out by registered nurses. Nursing services are on high demand as a result of increased number of patients especially the elderly. Therefore, the practicing nurses are being forced to overstretch. They are required to work for longer hours to fill the gap resulting from increased workload and few numbers of qualified nurses. As a result the nurses are limited from engaging in other activities like attending to personal matters, family, and education (Cox,Willis & Coustasse, 2014). Overworking with limited breaks poses a risk to the nurses own health making most people decide otherwise either to enter or remain in the nursing field. Despite receiving a larger percentage of the practicing nurses from other countries the shortage of nurses is still alarming.
Shortage of nurses has contributed to decreased satisfaction and increased stress at the place of work among nurses. Most of them become tired of their work and consider moving to different fields like insurance which are more promising and well paying. As a result, the quality of care offered has reduced significantly leading to increased development of complications among patients which would have been prevented if the nurses focused on few numbers of patients(Snavely, 2016). The occurrence of medical errors which includes inappropriate diagnoses, treatment, and injury to the patients is on the rise. Most populations in the communities lie unattended lowering general state of health in the nation.
The various causes of nursing shortage call for various approaches to save the situation. The number of students enrolled in nursing faculty is low compared to demand in the field. There is need to increase funding towards nursing education and support of the students to increase the number of local nurses. The existing working conditions of the nurses should be made better including wages that match the services they deliver(Buchan, Duffield& Jordan, 2015). More importantly, the nursing profession image should be painted positive through campaigns and social media to encourage many to train and practice nursing. Nursing as a professional field has to be reinforced as the vital role it plays in the health sector cannot be replaced by any other profession.
Buchan, J., Duffield, C., & Jordan, A. (2015). ‘Solving’nursing shortages: do we need a New
Agenda?. Journal of nursing management, 23(5), 543-545.
Cox, P., Willis, W. K., & Coustasse, A. (2014). The American epidemic: The US nursing
shortage and turnover problem.
Snavely, T. M. (2016). A brief economic analysis of the looming nursing shortage in the United
States. Nursing Economics, 34(2), 98.