The health care sector has continually faced different challenges that have threatened its service delivery. In this regard, one of these challenges includes workforce shortages. Following this point, one area of the healthcare that faces the risk of shortages of professional is the nursing field. There are different reasons that have been cited as the main cause of this. This essay will therefore examine these reasons, consider short-term and long-term solutions and identify a special interest group or government agency that could assist in policy formulation to deal with the problems that have been identified.
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Causes of Nursing Shortages
One of the reasons that have been cited as the major cause of shortages in nurses is the increase in population especially the older generation. As a result of this, there is an increased number of aging patients who are admitted in the hospital across the globe. According to Peterson's (2009), the current shortage of nurses is caused by an increasing number of hospitalized patients who are older and more acutely ill and a growing elderly population with multiple chronic health problems (p.
9). It is important to note that the elderly population is susceptible to different kinds of illnesses that increase as one increase in years.
Another issue that has contributed to shortages of nursing professionals is underproduction. Different regions across the globe face a challenge in terms of availability of training facilities that are meant to help in training enough professionals in the nursing field. In addition, there has been little enrolment in the nursing field with many people opting to pursue other careers other than nursing. In reference to Peterson's (2009), the national shortage of faculty will soon reach critical proportions, resulting in a significant impact on educational programs and their capacity to educate future generation of nursing students (p.
Lastly, human resource unbalanced distribution and migration remains as one of the greatest challenge to the nursing workforce. With this in mind, it is important to note that there has been a high migration rate in the nursing field as these nurses seek for higher remuneration. This is compounded by the fact that there is also a high migration rate of nurses from rural to urban areas due to the fact that urban areas offer better working conditions and equipments (Peterson's, 2009, p.547).
Solutions to Nursing Shortages and Conclusion
There are different solutions that have been proposed to deal with these challenges. These comprise of short-term and long-term solutions. One of the short-term solutions that have been proposed is an increase in utilization of the current population of nurses. Before the government and the healthcare sector can think of any other solution, it needs to ensure that the current population is well utilized. In addition to utilizing the current population of nurses, there is need to increase remuneration of nurses. Whereas this will increase the retention levels in the short-term, it is also a way of encouraging entry of professionals into the nursing field in the long-run. This is based on the fact that professionals have been found to pursue career paths in areas where they are well paid (Peterson's, 2009, p.547).
On the other hand, the health care sector and the government in general has a responsibility of ensuring that there is equity in the distribution of healthcare resources in terms of technology and facilities that are used in the nursing profession and an equity in wages and other incentives that offered to nurses. Whereas this could take a long time to achieve, the implementation of equal distribution policies would go a long way in reducing the shortage of professionals in this field.
Additionally, there is need to increase training facilities that have been found to be a stumbling block in the training of more nurses that are needed in the society (Peterson's, 2009, p.539). Notably, whereas there is an increase in human population, the rate of training of nursing professionals has remained relatively constant.
It is also important to formulate appropriate policies that could assist in increasing the rate of enrolment of professionals in the nursing field as well as retaining them. One of these bodies includes the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses which was formed in 1969 to provide information in clinical practice, certification and providing education resources to nursing professionals (Peterson's, 2009, p.16). With this in place, the government and the healthcare sector can be able to deal with the shortages of the nursing professionals in the society.