There’s no disputing the nursing shortage crisis that exists in the US, but we do seem to be headed for a disaster if it isn’t remedied very soon. Nursing is one of the most noble of professions, and one to which many good and nurturing individuals feel called. Unfortunately there is also a high degree of burnout as demands are placed on nurses often caught between caring for the patient and the corporate bottom line in many larger medical facilities. There are many other reasons for the current nursing shortage crisis in this country.
What’s Causing the Nursing Shortage Crisis
At it’s most basic the nursing shortage crisis is one of the ages-old conundrum: supply and demand. The largest population in the history of the United States, the baby-boomers, are aging out, and the demand for nurses to care for these patients is huge.
Added to the equation of supply and demand is the fact that fewer nurses seem to be entering the workforce, particularly in certain geographical areas. Also, as the healthcare terrain changes, fewer nurses are trained in the specialized areas where they are needed most. This shortfall is expected to increase in the very near future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an all-time high of more than one million openings for registered nurses within the next 10 years
The nursing shortage crisis is one hits particularly hard at the smaller non-profit medical facilities located in impoverished areas of the country, or economically depressed regions. With the nursing shortage crisis some medical facilities are forced to shutter their doors leaving patients with few options. Gong to the nearest ER, or full service hospital can be a major undertaking at best and even life-threatening. For this and many other reasons the nursing shortage crisis must be solved-and soon.
Solving the Nursing Shortage Crisis
In an effort to remedy the nursing shortage crisis quickly many hospitals are turning to traveling nurses and offering incentives to get nurses to sign on for a 2 year contract. With the circumstances being as dire as they are currently time is absolutely of the essence and securing well-trained, highly sought-after registered nurses is critical. While saying that nurses are on the “winning end” of the nursing shortage crisis seems a bit like profiting off of misfortune, it is a fact that qualified registered nurses can now name their price.
Hospitals have a responsibility to the community they serve to avoid shutting down available care and to that end many are forced to recruit qualified nursing staff as best they can. It’s a competitive arena and many hospitals and medical centers are offering incentives above and beyond the usual salary and benefits package. In an effort to avoid closing down departments or risking patient safety hospitals nationwide are recruiting and retaining nurses by offering some amazing perks.
Many hospitals across the United States, including the larger chain medical facilities, are now offering highly competitive salaries, signing and retention bonuses as well as free housing, career mentoring, and highly coveted student loan repayment. These are the incentives are very attractive, especially to the recent nursing school graduate who’s looking at substantial student loan debt.
An Immediate and Practical Solution
Yet another means of recruiting nurses is for hospitals and healthcare facilities to avail themselves of traveling nurses. Sometimes nurses are needed to fill in gaps in temporary staffing shortages-say maternity leave, or family emergency of some sort. In these instances a traveling nurse can be retained through a travel nurse program and will typically sign on for a determined amount of time. Frequently these stints will result in permanent employment.
Travel nurses seem the ideal-and most practical-solution to the current nursing shortage crisis. By utilizing the services of a travel nurse hospitals are securing skilled caregivers with little to no interruption in the services they provide. Staffing agencies and recruiters can supply hospitals and healthcare facilities with short-term, and even some long-term solutions to the nursing shortage crisis.
Nurses who answer the call have already been vetted and cleared by the staffing and recruitment agency, and are ready to “hit the ground running”. This is of extreme benefit to medical facilities in dire need of nursing staff. Many nurses find these short-term assignments gratifying and healthcare facilities, especially those in less desirable areas, benefit. It’s truly a win-win.
The nursing shortage crisis is only going to create a bigger burden for healthcare facilities going forward. The wisest solution is for hospitals and medical centers to recruit and retain quality nurses. But that takes time that some of the neediest areas don’t have. Travel nurses can answer the call immediately and with little to no interruption to the services the hospital provides to the community.