Nurses, as frontline caregivers, are often charged with developing evidence-based solutions to emerging care problems that they encounter when performing their duties. They are able to recognize a variety of issues that have an effect on the protection and quality of care offered to patients. The shortage of nurses to provide health care to patients has been described as an issue that this paper seeks to solve.
The aging workforce, prevalence of chronic diseases, population aging, and inadequate ability of nursing education services in the United States are all leading to a severe nursing shortage, which could become a major problem if not resolved quickly. The baby boomers generation are on their way out of the workforce and this is causing great shortage in all professions including the nursing field. Recent surveys have shown that 55 percent of the Registered Nursing workforce is aged 50 or older (American Association of College of Nursing, 2017). The implication of this is that their retirement will create a huge gap in provision of safe and quality healthcare. AACN’s report (2017) indicated that nursing schools in the U.S. were not able to admit 64,067 qualified applicants baccalaureate graduate programs in 2016 as a result of lacking sufficient number of faculty clinical sites, classroom space among other facilities. This further fuels the problem by increasing the rate of shortage. Further as established by US Census Bureau Report (2014), the number of aged population in the country is increasing with residents aged 65 and above projected to be 83.7 million by 2050. Increase in the number of adults implies increased need for geriatric care which encompass care for people with chronic diseases and comorbidities. Therefore, it will be important to address the nursing shortage problem.
Evidence based solution, Nursing intervention, patient care and Nursing practice
Nursing shortage is not merely an organizational challenge or for economic analysis but rather an issue with major adverse impact on the healthcare. Failure of coming up with strategies to deal with this problem be it at local, regional or global level can contribute to failure in the maintenance or improvement of health care. Numerous initiatives are being implemented to address the challenge of shortage of nursing in various states. One such initiative is using strategies that attract nurses to the profession (Hockenberry, & Becker, 2016). For instance, The University of Wisconsin (UW) in 2014 provided fellowships and loan forgiveness for nurse faculty who were willing to teach in the state after graduation. Another solution is partnering between nursing school and private enterprises to expand the student capacity. An example of this is a strategic partnership between University of Minnesota and Minnesota VA Health Care System in 2013 which saw expansion of the university’s BSN program (AACN, 2017). Another solution being implemented is media campaigns to promote careers in nursing with Johnson and Johnson marinating such a campaign from 2002.
PICOT-formatted Clinical Question or Statement
With the PICOT statement, the problem is framed in the form of a research question using the criteria of the population, intervention, comparison, outcome and time (PICOT). This aids in development of searchable clinical questions which help in the process of identification of evidence in literature. The PICOT formatted question for this research is:
In older adults, does strategies to reduce nursing shortage compared to retention of retired nurse improves the safety and quality of care provided in healthcare institutions?
Population – The population includes older adults aged 65 years or older.
Interventions – The interventions that will be researched includes strategies to attract nurses to the population, partnership with private entities to improve capacity and media campaigns
Comparison – The interventions will be compared to retention of nurses even after retirement age until the problem of shortage is solved.
Outcome – the expected outcome is the improvement of patient’s safety and quality of care
Time – the time duration is six months
AACN (2017). 2016-2017 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/research-data
AACN (2017). New Partnerships and Grant-Funded Initiatives in Nursing Education. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/partnerships-grants
American Association of College of Nursing, (2017). Nursing shortage. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage
Hockenberry, J. M., & Becker, E. R. (2016). How Do Hospital Nurse Staffing Strategies Affect Patient Satisfaction?. ILR Review, 69(4), 890-910.
United States Census Bureau (2014). An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/population%20/projections/data/national/2012.html