The Nursing Shortage: Insights and Perceptions

By Lee, Sharon A. | Frontiers of Health Services Management, Winter 2002 | Go to article overview

The Nursing Shortage: Insights and Perceptions


Lee, Sharon A., Frontiers of Health Services Management


THE "NURSING SHORTAGE " is one of the most widely published and read topics in professional and trade journals and publications. In fact, entire books are written on the topic. It is the subject of innumerable workshops and seminars; it is talked about in professional gatherings of nurses, physicians, and administrators; and it regularly appears in the lay press with advice to patients on how they should assess their healthcare facilities for the adequate supply and skill of nurses, suggesting that their care may be compromised.

I, too, have been an avid reader of any publication I can get my hands on related to the nursing shortage. I have attended seminars and workshops on the topic. I have even given presentations on the subject to others who are eager to solve the problem. I accepted the invitation to write a commentary on the article written by Janet Quinn with the intention of learning more about this significant societal issue and perhaps developing greater insight into how this problem can be solved over the long term as part of everyday living and as a way of doing business.

THE NATURE OF THE SHORTAGE

The nursing shortage is complex and serious. This is a fact. While some-hopefully not many-believe that this is just another cyclical event like the shortages of the past, this belief is a myth. Although the current one seems to mirror such shortages, it is but a precursor to the long-term shortage that is not only predicted, but will become real unless society collaborates with healthcare for a long-term solution.

Quinn states that the nursing shortage is a result of "dis-ease" in a healthcare system that has cut nursing positions and substituted unlicensed assistive personnel in their place. She states that this has resulted in an untenable work environment, leading nurses to exit the profession. Quinn's analogy relating the disappearance of nurses from hospitals to the mutation and disappearance of frogs on the planet is intriguing. Her solution revolves around changing the practice setting to a "healing environment" that returns meaning to the practice of nursing. Although I agree that a supportive and positive practice environment is critical to nurse satisfaction, ensuring that it is conducive to quality practice will not be the total solution to the nursing shortage. If that were the case, we could embrace a new model for care with appropriate staffing ratios (perhaps the Nightingale unit) and ensure that physicians, nurses, and other members of the team relate properly, with the result that nurses would flock to the hospitals to seek jobs. I wish that the solution was that simple.

The nursing shortage we have today will require a multipronged approach. We must involve legislators, regulators, nursing educators, hospitals, physicians, managed care companies, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Heathcare Organizations, hospitals and healthcare associations, corporations that pay for healthcare, and others who make decisions about how and where healthcare is financed and delivered. A diverse cross-section of society as a whole should be included to represent the consumer perspective. Of course, nurses themselves must be involved in finding the solution to this problem, for who is better prepared to identify the factors that will not only retain nurses but stimulate young men and women to choose nursing as a profession? It is difficult to look beyond today, and the problems we face in finding the appropriate number of experienced nurses to care for patients in our facilities need attention right now. However, looking beyond the short term is an absolute must.

WHY IS THE PROBLEM SO COMPLEX?

More Opportunities

Nursing is a wonderful educational opportunity and an even greater profession. This is, to some extent, a blessing and a problem. With the exception of a few brief periods of time, a competent nurse could always expect to find a job of his or her choosing. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Nursing Shortage: Insights and Perceptions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.