View Full Version : When did this nursing shortage begin and why do we still have it?

09-21-2007, 11:59 PM
Hi all. I just have a question that I've always been wondering. When did this nursing shortage start and why do we still have it? Will we still have this shortage for a long time?

What are your thoughts?

I have no idea when this nursing shortage started but I know one of the reasons I went into nursing is because I knew I'll get a job right away. I believe that the shortage is caused by nurses working long hours and getting extremely tired. I really hope we won't have a shortage for a long time, but who knows. Anything can happen over the next few years.

09-22-2007, 12:10 AM
It's true that a big problem with the nursing shortage is Nursing "Burn out". It's tough working long hours doing what we do considering the emotional impact it has on us as well.
I think Hospital bueracracy is in large part to blame because most staff the bare minimum without regard to patient care/safty or staff morale.

What they don't realize if they would staff to improve patient ratios they would keep nursing staff longer and not lose millions of dollars a year on the cost of Orienting and training the new nurses they have to hire to replace the ones burning out.

If only Nurses were running the show.

I think I read somewhere that the official Hospital Nursing shortages started in the 60s but some articles you read will tell you there really has always been a Nursing shortage.... since the days of Nightengale.

It will continue to be a so and may get worse as our Baby Boomer Nurses retire in the next 20 years....along with a baby boomer generation of elderly people.

09-22-2007, 05:07 AM
Not sure about the reasons in the US though they can't be too dissimilar to over here in the UK. Firstly is as Jo says we have the demographic of older nurses reaching retirement age. During the 60's and 70's nursing was a popular profession, lots of nurses were trained and many stayed in bedside nursing. Lately while many of the tasks previously performed by doctors moved into the role of the nurse the numbers of nurses trained hasn't been as many, they don't always stay in nursing (pay, conditions etc). Nursing is seen as less of a desirible profession, there are less young people and also those people don't necessarily consider nursing a career for life.

09-22-2007, 09:08 AM
A conventional view of economics would dictate that the nursing shortage is caused by the rise in demand in nurses not equalling the rise in nurses' pay.

On the other hand, I think it has more to do with what Jodi mentioned - baby boomer nurses retiring - and the shortage of nursing faculty to train new nurses.

A friend of mine graduated in the mid 90's and she said back then there was no shortage to speak of. She could barely get a job in a nursing home, and no hospitals were hiring.

09-22-2007, 06:02 PM
I know! Some of my instructors said that they actually had a hard time finding a job (hard to believe now). I haven't even thought about the 60's/70's, I thought the nursing shortage was just a few years ago, but wow, that's crazy. A good thing about this shortage is that more people are going into nursing. :)

09-22-2007, 11:36 PM
The average age of today's nurse is 46 years old. Think about that. There is less enrollment in nursing schools because there is more opportunity for women as a whole.

Nurses work, every other weekend, every other holiday and spend money to earn CEU's to maintain their license. Many other women in other professions don't have to do that.

Women today have so much more options. It used to be you became a nurse or you got married. (I know, that was pretty simplisitic but relatively true.)

Maybe now that more men are entering the nursing work force things will begin to change. Women, for so long have had their emotions played with (ie: ahhh, but she's so sick, don't you want to stay just a few more hours?) Men, well, let's just say thay seem to be able to say no more often....and I'm learning!