The nursing shortage refers to a situation where the demand for health professionals exceeds the supply locally, nationally, or globally. This is the situation in developed and developing countries. The world is facing an acute shortage of nurses amid the COVID-19 pandemic of about 5.9 million, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown. There are currently just under 28 million nurses worldwide. According to Muabbar and Alsharqi (2021), nurses play a fundamental role in improving the quality of care. The issue is still relevant today and requires not only careful attention but also an urgent solution.
Nursing shortages are a problem in many countries. According to Hibbett (2020), a shortage of nurses can be detrimental to the health of patients. To address this problem, various psychological studies have been conducted to find out what nurses think about their careers and what prevents them from maintaining the profession as a long-term career. The most common complaints are difficult working conditions, constant schedule changes, shift work, overload due to a large number of clients, and inadequate pay. Moloney et al. (2018) state that “All of these potential reasons why nurses decide to leave the profession increase staff turnover, thereby affecting employee ratios” (p. 3). Lack of nursing care is an ongoing problem internationally as a general threat to quality and safety, which negatively affects the quality of care and leads to undesirable events. Another study has shown that “Lack of time is a major factor for non-adherence to treatment, leading to adverse events” (Cho et al., 2016, p. 264). To avoid irreversible negative consequences, it is necessary to look for solutions to the current problems.
Various programs and projects are being developed to improve the quality of health care and to expand the staff. These include ways of addressing the issue of nursing retrenchment and developing new directions. One such line of action is the mobilization of direct financial support for health training institutes. Equally important is the creation of training partnerships between educational institutions in industrialized and developing countries. As stated by Perron et al. (2019), “multiple sources suggest that nurse residency programs have also increased new graduate job satisfaction and performance, particularly in-patient assessment skills, communication, and utilization of technology” (p. 50). A different direction is to train a new generation of lead teachers in developing countries, supported by experts in clinical management, public health and administration worldwide. According to Shuler (2020), patients consistently attribute negative experiences and poor outcomes of skilled nursing facilities to a shortage of nurses. It is important to look at the issue from different perspectives and find various approaches to address the problem.
Training plays an important role in increasing the nursing workforce. The development of innovative approaches to training in developing countries, using modern teaching materials and through continuing education based on information and communication technology is one of the main directions in this regard. Cho et al. (2020) also note that “Nurse’s prioritization of both physiological and psychological nursing care will enable nurses to meet patient needs more fully and to provide holistic care” (p. 8). The establishment of planning teams in each country with a shortage of health care professionals, based on the best practices of the main training institutions, is a priority. The task of such teams would be to develop a comprehensive national health workforce strategy. Griffiths et al. (2018) argue that “maintaining adequate staffing levels is a mechanism to avoid missed care” (p. 1485). All of these solutions are fundamental and will only work if used in combination.
The global change in nursing education continues: many of the diagnostic and treatment duties that used to be reserved for doctors are being transferred to nurses with higher education. Currently, the problem of staffing the healthcare industry is acute in many countries: a shortage of nurses can be observed all over the world. To solve the issue, it is necessary to rethink and improve the system of medical education, training, distribution and remuneration of health workers.
Cho, E., Lee, N. J., Kim, E. Y., Kim, S., Lee, K., Park, K. O., & Sung, Y. H. (2016). Nurse staffing level and overtime associated with patient safety, quality of care, and care left undone in hospitals: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 60, 263-271. Web.
Cho, S. H., Lee, J. Y., You, S. J., Song, K. J., & Hong, K. J. (2020). Nurse staffing, nurses prioritization, missed care, quality of nursing care, and nurse outcomes. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 26(1). Web.
Hibbett, K. (2020). Nurse Residency Programs, A Solution to the Nursing Shortage [PDF document]. Web.
Griffiths, P., Recio‐Saucedo, A., Dall’Ora, C., Briggs, J., Maruotti, A., Meredith, P., Smith G. B., Ball J. & Missed Care Study Group. (2018). The association between nurse staffing and omissions in nursing care: A systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74(7), 1474-1487. Web.
Moloney, W., Gorman, D., Parsons, M., & Cheung, G. (2018). How to keep registered nurses working in New Zealand even as economic conditions improve. Human Resources for Health, 16(1), 1-8. Web.
Muabbar, H., & Alsharqi, O. (2021). The impact of short-term solutions to nursing shortage on the nursing outcome, nurse perceived quality of care, and patient safety. American Journal of Nursing Research, 9(2), 35-44. Web.
Perron, T., Gascoyne, M., Kallakavumkal, T., Kelly, M., & Demagistris, N. (2019). Effectiveness of nurse residency programs. Journal of Nursing Practice Applications & Reviews of Research, 9(2), 48-52. Web.
Shuler, V. (2020). Mortality Rates in Skilled Nursing Increase as the Existence of Nurse Shortage Continues [Doctoral dissertation, Northcentral University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.