While the enrollment has recently soared as the medical profession prepares for the retirement of the baby boomers, tthere are fewer openings because nurses in their 50s and 60s are putting off retirement.
The shortage of nurses has forced a high patient-to-nursing staffing ratio, which creates burn out and job dissatisfaction. What are the 4 factors causing today’s nursing decline in the United States?
- Nurses are leaving because of job dissatisfaction.
- Heavy workloads, inadequate staffing, heavy workloads, and mandatory overtime.
- The school’s capability to maintain accreditation for the nursing program
- Contradictory awareness about the nursing profession and patient care.
Policy makers, healthcare and nursing administrators are thinking of ways to reduce the shortage, and balance the supply and demand of the nursing workforce. Many of the factors contributing to the shortage of nurses will significantly decrease if the educational opportunities are enhanced.
Dona Ana Community College sued for failure to maintain accreditation
Eight current and former Dona Ana Community College students sued the school for failure to maintain national accreditation for their nursing program, according to Associated Press report today. They ignored the Georgia-based National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission’s warning about the inadequacy of master’s degree instructor’s ratio.
College officials could not comment on the lawsuit at the moment.
Legislation aims to improve nationwide nursing shortage
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, has recently introduced legislation aimed to improve patient care to address the nationwide shortage of nurses. While this legislation was built on a California law, it is extended to hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid.
The National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act’s goal is to establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals, protect nurse’s rights to advocate on behalf of their patients, and invest in training and retention of nurses.
Specifically, the bill would establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios that will “save lives, improve the quality of care and help to address the nursing shortage by creating a work environment that encourages nurses to remain in the hospital workforce,” according to the news release.
The bill calls for a direct-care RN to be assigned to no more than one patient in trauma emergency units, one patient in the OR, two patients in critical care, three patients in EDs, four patients in the medical/surgical units, five patients in rehabilitation, and six patients in well-baby units.
The bill will also provide whistle blower protections for the nurses rights. It will advocate safety of the patients, reports the violation of minimum care standards, and invests in nursing mentorship programs. The bill has already been assigned to the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, for consideration before sending it to the Senate. Boxer introduced a similar bill in 2011.