The Evolving Nursing Shortage
At some stage or another most of us have relied on the contribution of a registered nurse to provide the support and knowledge we need to help get our health back on track. The nursing profession constitutes the largest segment of the healthcare system today and very few professions offer the chance to create as much an impact as nursing. In spite of this, the United States is on the verge of a critical nursing shortage. Nurse to patient ratios are being compromised, patient care is in jeopardy and the overall quality of care our nurses can provide is retreating. While shortages can often be overcome in hospitals with an immediate need, there is a steady decline in the availability of nurses as they digress into different occupations or donít even consider nursing as a viable career option. It is important that steps be taken in the immediate future to address the underlying causes of the worsening nurse shortage and help promote nursing as a rewarding career choice.
According to a report conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration, 30 states are currently suffering due to a lack of nurses being able to fill positions. Ninety percent of long term care facilities do not have sufficient staffing to provide even the most basic care and home health agencies are being forced to refuse new admissions. This outlook does not look promising for the state of healthcare in the United States. Currently there are 126,000 unfilled nursing positions across the country, a number that is expected to reach 1.1 million by 2012. More new nursing jobs are expected to be created for registered nurses than for any other occupation, so the time is right to help make a difference and pursue a rewarding career in nursing.