Events That Have Contributed To Nursing Shortage

Events That Have Contributed To Nursing Shortage

In the United States of America, health care has been identified as a complex sector marred by a number of challenges that stand in the way of provision of quality patient care. One of the major challenges in health is staff shortage; according to Whitney (2018), there are not enough health care workers that have the academic qualifications needed to address the needs of the dynamic patient population. More precisely, there are not enough qualified nurses to fill nursing roles at the different care levels. As such, the quality of healthcare will be significantly improved if the issue of nursing shortage is addressed as a matter of urgency. To achieve this, it is necessary to identify the factors behind the shortage in order to develop appropriate strategies of addressing the shortage.

Factors behind Nursing Shortage

A number of factors have been identified as causing the shortage of nursing staff. To begin with, it has been established that the people who work in the nursing field are multigenerational, meaning that they are of diverse age groups. Of this multigenerational workforce, the bigger population comprises nurses above the age of 50 years, meaning most nursing staff members are approaching retirement (Whitney, 2018).  The implication of this is that in the near future, the availability of nursing professionals will be lower than the demand. A second factor contributing to nursing shortage is low enrolment in nursing schools. The American Association for Colleges of Nursing has found that the rate at which enrolment in nursing schools is being done does not meet the forecasted demand for registered nurses (Whitney, 2018). This is attributed to lack of enough teaching staff or faculty in nursing schools, thereby barring interested students from enrolling for nursing programs. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2020), nursing schools in the U.S. are striving to increase their capacity to respond to increasing care demand. There is also the issue of changing demographics: with the number of aging people increasing, the need for nurses with the ability and skill of caring for aged persons increases.

The shortage of nursing staff may also be attributed to challenges arising of the nature of nursing work. It goes without saying that nursing is a highly demanding job, which can cause a lot of stress to professionals unless they are given the support they need. As Whitney (2018) rightly observes, insufficient staffing makes nurses stressed and consequently reduces job satisfaction. If this is not addressed through proper incentives, many nurses may decide to quit the profession.

Causes of Nursing Shortage in Texas State

Most of the causal factors identified above apply in almost all states. In Texas, for instance, shortage of nursing staff is caused by insufficiency of nursing educators together with graduate degrees in nursing. Moreover, the increasing number of baby boomers creates a new demand for nurses with the competence to attend to this population. Other causes of nursing shortage in Texas include workplace violence and an increasing prevalence of chronic ailments such as diabetes as well as obesity (Texas Public Radio, 2020).

Action Steps to Resolve Nursing Shortage

Considering that the nursing shortage is caused by multiple factors, there is need to engage multiple stakeholders in addressing the issue. On its part, the nursing profession has a role to play and a duty to fulfil by equipping members with the knowledge, abilities and skill they need to respond to changing patient demands. This is one of the recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing (2011), which states that the nursing profession ought to establish residency training programs for all nurses with the aim of advancing nurses’ competency and knowledge in patient care. In line with this recommendation, nursing schools strive to address nursing shortage by entering into strategic partnerships with a view to expanding student capacity. The University of Minnesota, for instance, has partnered with the Minnesota VA Health Care System to increase enrolment into the BSN program (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2020).


Significant improvement in quality of health care will be realized if the problem of shortage of nursing staff is addressed. Generally, the shortage of nurses is attributed to changing demographics, faculty inadequacies, and workplace demands. Solving the problem calls for joint efforts of various stakeholders, but the nursing profession should be at the forefront to ensure that all students interested in pursuing nursing programs are enrolled. In other words, it is important that nursing schools partner with willing entities to increase capacity to enroll enough students as a way of resolving the nursing shortage.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2020). Fact sheet: nursing shortage.

Institute of Medicine Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.

Texas Public Radio. (2020). Texas expected to face 71K+ nursing shortage by 2030.

Whitney, S. (2018). The future of nursing in an evolving health care system. In Grand Canyon University (Ed). Trends in Health Care: A Nursing Perspective. Retrieved from

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