Nursing education: Addressing the supply and demand menace in the nursing workforce

Nursing education: Addressing the supply and demand menace in the nursing workforce

The term “demand vs. supply” is often used in business and economics. It’s a concept that can be applied to many different industries and businesses; but how does it apply to nursing and the healthcare industry?

Well, it is no secret that there is a nursing shortage and an imbalance in the healthcare industry in terms of demand and supply. Due to an aging population and an overall increase in the number of people requiring healthcare, the demand for nurses and other healthcare professionals has never been higher. However, the supply of nurses has not kept pace with this demand, leading to a critical shortage of nurses.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 1.2 million vacant RN positions by 2028. The American Nurses Association pegged the number even higher, at two million. The nursing shortage is exacerbated by the fact that our population is aging and living longer, which means there will be an increased demand for healthcare services.

Healthcare facilities are struggling to meet the demands of an increasingly aging population. Meanwhile, the American Nurses Association has called for a variety of measures to be taken in order to address the nursing shortage, such as increasing funding for nursing education, improving working conditions and expanding the role of nurse practitioners.

How nursing education can solve the problem

The healthcare sector has been grappling with a severe shortage of nurses for many years now. The problem is two-fold: there is a huge demand for nurses, but the supply of qualified nurses is not keeping up. This has led to a situation where nurses are overworked, and patients are not getting the quality of care they deserve.

One of the key reasons for this shortage is the lack of qualified nursing educators. There is a growing need for nursing education programs that can train the next generation of nurses. These programs need to be of high quality so that they can produce nurses who are capable of meeting the demands of the job.

One way to solve this problem is to invest in nursing education. Online accelerated nursing programs from a provider such as Elmhurst University are a great way to get your nursing degree in a shorter amount of time, and they are also more convenient and flexible than traditional nursing programs. This will help you tailor the program to your own schedule and needs.

Whether you’re looking to further your career or you’re simply interested in the subject, there are many benefits to be gained from taking an online course. Some of the benefits of taking an online accelerated nursing program include:

  • You can study at your own pace and in your own time
  • You’ll have the opportunity to learn from experts in the field
  • You can take the course from anywhere in the world
  • You will receive personalized attention from your professors
  • You’ll be able to work on real-world projects that are similar to those you would encounter in the healthcare industry
  • You can also submit your own research for publication in a variety of journals

By training more nurses, the demand for nurses can be met to help provide better care for patients. This will also generate new knowledge and insights that can help take healthcare to the next level. Let’s explore the demand for nurses and the nursing shortage in more detail:

What is causing the growing nursing shortage?

Several factors have contributed to the growing nursing shortage and the increasing demand for nurses. Some of these include:

  1. The COVID-19 effect

In the past few years since the advent of COVID-19, nurses and other healthcare workers have suffered immense stress and burnout. In addition, an aging population, a growing number of nurses leaving the profession and an increased need for more nurses have all contributed to an acute nursing shortage.  The quality of patient care has consequently been sharply affected.

Finding ways to make up for this growing shortage is leading to increasing demand for nurses. But even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there was already a major shortage. The impact of the global pandemic on nurses and their mental health just made the situation worse. According to a survey conducted by the American Nurses Foundation, 89% of nurses agreed that their organization has a staffing shortage, while 52% of them are contemplating leaving their jobs.

  1. The aging population

One of the most significant contributing factors to the rising demand for nurses is the aging population. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, there are currently 54.1 million people over age 65 in the United States. In contrast, there are only 4 million registered nurses in this age group.

By having a large number of elderly people in the population, it naturally follows that there will be a large number of old people requiring long-term care. This means that there are many more patients requiring care than the current number of nurses can take care of. This has led to an increase in requests for nursing services. In order to meet the demand for nurses, more nursing schools will have to be opened.

  1. Shortage of faculty

Another contributing factor to the shortage of nurses is the shortage of qualified faculty. The demand for nurses is increasing at such a rapid rate that most nursing colleges are not equipped to handle the number of students applying for admission.

Shortage of faculty is also being caused by nurses retiring in large numbers, and there are simply not enough younger nurses who can take their place. Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus, there were already shortfalls in nursing faculty. The pandemic further aggravated this problem by creating additional demands on existing faculties and exposing them to overwhelming workloads. As a result, the nursing shortage finds its roots in the lack of faculty.

  1. Requirement of additional skills/education

Increasingly, nurses are required to possess a greater level of education and skills. The demand for nurses also comes with a higher degree of specialization in the medical field. Nursing schools are increasingly incorporating new subjects to help students understand their chosen specialty better.

In fact, some healthcare facilities have raised standards for hiring nurses; in some organizations, for instance, you cannot be employed as an RN without an advanced or at least a bachelor’s degree.

To be employed in some facilities, you may be required to have additional skills that stretch beyond RN training. If you find it difficult to find employment due to additional skills or education requirements, endeavor to advance your education to gain the training and skills employers are looking for.

  1. Demand for skilled nurses

Skilled nurses are in great demand not just in hospital settings but also in related sectors such as health insurance companies, dental clinics and private practice offices. Everywhere in the healthcare industry, nurses are needed to fill different positions.  Debates have even arisen about whether nurses should be called “nurse practitioners” or “advanced practice registered nurses” to better reflect the role they fill in the healthcare industry.

The impact of the nursing shortage on patients

The nursing shortage is having a significant impact on patients due to reduced attention given to each individual, which is causing the degradation of quality of care. The shortage has impacted patients negatively in many ways, including:

  • Delayed emergencies – Patients are not getting timely emergency treatment due to the shortage of nurses and other healthcare workers. As a result, they are suffering from delayed care, consequently increasing patient mortality rates.
  • Reduced staffing – As a result of the shortage of nurses and other healthcare workers, hospitals and other healthcare organizations are forced to have fewer employees on call at any time. This puts more pressure on existing staff as they must deal with more patients while also performing additional duties.
  • Reduced quality of care – Because of the decreased staff presence, patients are suffering from reduced quality of care. This is because nurses are not able to spend enough time with patients who have complex medical issues. Instead, they must spend their time on multiple tasks such as paperwork and dealing with insurance companies.
  • Increased turnover rates – The shortage of nurses has led many healthcare facilities to increase their turnover rates. They are forced to deal with a constant stream of new employees and train them so that they can be productive members of the staff. But in the process, they are also having to deal with employees who are not working out. As a result, there is an increase in high turnover rates, which in turn prevents staff from gaining the experience and skills necessary to handle issues that arise.
  • Decreased job satisfaction – Decreased staffing levels and a constant stream of new employees cause staff to be overworked. This leads to job dissatisfaction and many individuals quitting their jobs, leaving healthcare institutions without enough nurses to meet the increasing demands for healthcare services.

The shortage of nurses will continue to increase if nothing is done about it. As the healthcare industry continues to grow, more nurses will be needed to meet the demands for their services.

Whether you’re a registered nurse looking to advance your nursing education or you just want to get started with this rewarding career field, read on to learn more about available job options to explore.

Combating the nursing shortage

The number of registered nurses in the United States has been decreasing in recent years, leading to the many problems mentioned above. However, solutions are already being developed to help recruit and retrain nurses. Nursing schools are providing more training opportunities, and health facilities are offering competitive salaries for those who qualify.

To help curb the shortage of nurses, you can pursue some of the most in-demand nursing careers. These include:

  1. Community health nurse

Community health nurses work with rural communities and healthcare organizations to provide a wide range of services. Community health nurses can be tasked with managing a variety of medical, social and community nursing assignments.

These registered nurses undergo training with topics that include anatomy, physiology, diseases and specialized treatments, along with other topics in the area of medicine. They are also trained in case management techniques, counseling and clinical assessment techniques.

  1. Nurse educator

Nurse educators offer instruction to students enrolled in nursing classes. They are responsible for planning, developing and delivering educational materials in their respective academic programs.

To become an effective nurse educator, you must earn a master’s degree in nursing or a doctorate in nursing. This allows you to provide guidance, teach and mentor students as they go through their nursing education programs.

  1. Critical care nurses

Critical care nurses are responsible for monitoring and providing treatment to those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries. These registered nurses possess expert knowledge in advanced techniques and procedures along with the ability to provide exceptional care.

Critical care nurses must have a strong skill set that includes good communication, active listening, diagnostic reasoning, decision-making, knowledge of medical terminology and strategies for wound management. A bachelor’s degree in nursing is preferred.

  1. Geriatric nurses

A geriatric nurse specializes in the healthcare needs of the elderly and elderly nursing home patients. These nurses provide specialized care to patients with chronic diseases, disabilities and other physical limitations. They are also trained to work with families of their elderly patients that may have special care needs.

To become a geriatric nurse, you must earn a nursing degree and participate in training that provides knowledge in geriatrics, psychology, psychosocial therapies, health promotion and wellness activities.

  1. Travel nurses

Travel nurses are registered nurses who work in various healthcare facilities. These nurses spend time at a specific facility while they are on assignment. Working as a travel nurse allows you to have great job flexibility and provide excellent care to patients while earning a good salary.

Travel nursing can be an ideal option for many registered nurses who want to see new places, experience the excitement of working in different cities and states, and gain valuable career experience without making long-term commitments. These nurses also provide medical care to patients in remote locations and travel to provide medical care for military personnel and other patients in outlying areas.

  1. Nursing informatics

Computers have a major impact on healthcare. Healthcare systems now use extensive databases to store medical records. Computers are also used to manage patient records on medical test results, medication history and more.

Nursing informatics is the collection and organization of this information, which is essential to provide quality care. Nurses use nursing informatics to collect and analyze this large amount of data and then communicate it to other nursing staff members. They develop and maintain nursing informatics applications, which can be used for reports, documentation, documentation management and clinical decision support.

Nursing informatics is a rapidly growing profession as the number of healthcare resources containing data increases. As healthcare providers seek new ways to share knowledge with their patients, increased use of technology will be required to facilitate communication.

  1. Case management nurses

Case management nurses are responsible for coordinating care for their patients. They track a patient’s progress, provide education and advice to patients, coordinate referrals of patients to specialists and follow up with physicians. These registered nurses also plan activities that increase a patient’s knowledge of their disease, assess home/environmental situations, assemble medication lists and perform assessments.

Case management nursing requires an associate degree in nursing, which includes a minimum of 75 credit hours of nursing coursework. Registered nurses who meet the education requirements can pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing and upper-level courses in the field of case management. These courses build on previous nursing coursework, include more clinical practice and training, and include more theory related to case management.

  1. Licensed practical nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are responsible for providing basic care to patients. They perform tasks such as dressing wounds, feeding patients, preparing meals for patients and assisting with certain medical procedures.

LPNs can also work as independent contractors or in nursing facilities. They may provide care to patients using their own home as their office.

  1. Nurse anesthetists

Registered nurse anesthetists specialize in administering anesthesia and monitoring patients who are undergoing surgery. They rely on their nursing training to treat patients. This position requires a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia, a master’s of science in nursing, or a doctor of philosophy degree in nursing.


The healthcare industry is growing more and more every year; the demand for nurses is also rising at an equal speed. To combat shortages in the nursing workforce, pursuing higher education such as an online nursing program is highly recommended.

The nursing industry is not an easy one, but the job of a registered nurse can be highly rewarding. With good pay, benefits and flexible schedules, it is one of the most sought-after jobs, and it is also a meaningful one, providing invaluable services and care to patients and their families.

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