Analysis of Nursing Shortage in the United States

Analysisof Nursing Shortage in the United States

Analysisof Nursing Shortage in the United States


Nursesare a critical component of any health system. However, many worldcountries are facing a shortage of nurses. In particular, the UnitedStates (US) is faced with a deteriorating nursing shortage situation,a situation that has led to the conduction of a lot of research(Catalano,2012).Despite all the research that has been conducted by various parties,the nursing situation in the United States is yet to experience asignificant improvement. Nursing Shortage in the United States is nolonger an emerging situation but a deteriorating one. Registerednurses comprise the biggest percentage of health care professions inthe US, hospitals being their major employers. A study previouslyconducted by the American Medical Association estimated that thetotal number of nurses per individual will decline by 20 percentbelow requirements between 2012 and 2020. In essence, the demand andsupply of nurses ought to be balanced to eliminate shortages and toensure that the condition does not get out of hand(Vincent,2010).

TheUnited States is expected to experience a further shortage of nurses,more particularly registered nurses, as baby boomers grow andhealthcare needs grow. Nursing schools in the country may be workingto eliminate such a future phenomenon by expanding their capacities.However, the problem is still persistent, in fact, the problem isdeteriorating. The demand for nurses is directly proportional to thedemand for healthcare services. The country`s elderly population isincreasing, and the average age of nurses is also increasing. Thesituation is getting more and more serious with time(Buerhaus,Staiger &amp Auerbach, 2009).


Theproposal outlines a research on the shortage of nursing in the UnitedStates. The research encompasses the problem statement of theresearch. The problem statement declares the reason for theconduction of the research and its expected outcome. The problemstatement recognizes the nursing situation in the United States, andthe likely causal factors are outlined. The significance of theresearch is highlighted further by stating why nursing shortage mustsoon be handled. The proposal incorporates previously carried outresearches into the same issue and declares the uniqueness of thisresearch. It outlines critical areas in which previous researchersdid not incorporate, yet they may be given the most desiredbreakthrough to finding a remedy for nursing shortage. In themethodology, the research will be of qualitative survey design. Thatwill be most appropriate in the course of the research as it will bethe best in the extraction of information from individuals. Theresearch will be carried out in three hospitals in New York, all ofthem being public health institutions. Public health institutionswill be ideal representatives of the national healthcare system. Theproposal further outlines ethical issues that ought to be observedthroughout the course of the research. Data collection methods andanalysis are stated. The collection of data will be throughinterviewing and issuance of questionnaires, and the data will laterbe analyzed.

Statementand Significance of the Problem

Healthcareis a basic component of any society. The proposed research is meantto determine the best strategies that may be put in place to reversethe situation before it goes too far. The proposed study will notonly improve the nursing practice but also boost healthcare for thesociety.

Theresearch will help determine the factors that have led to the nursingshortage. Consequently, remedies for the situation will be suggestedin the research recommendations. However, for the realization of abetter nursing situation, it will be up to the government toimplement what the research will recommend. The healthcare system isa sophisticated one that needs through research. Previous researchershave heavily relied on information from one or two groups. On thecontrary, the research proposed will look into the society`s generalopinion, the opinion of the nurses, the opinions of other healthphysicians and the opinions of the general hospital staff.

Nursesremain as the key professionals and main constituents in the Americanhealthcare system. Their contribution is critical to realizingdevelopment goals and providing safe and effective healthcare.However, the world is facing a shortage of nurses, which has made itdifficult for many healthcare systems to provide the desired care totheir respective societies. Shortage of nurses was defined as &quotasituation where the demand for nurses is greater than the supply, asis currently the case in the United States and several otherdeveloped nations.&quot(Dossey,Keegan &amp Barrere, n.d.)

Inthe field of nursing, there has been some distresses against the lackof recognition in the society. Research has been conducted todiscover how nurses feel about their profession. A research conductedidentified that nurses struggle with an internal hunger, for therealization of a professional and effective healthcare system. On theother hand, the general opinion of many people, with the exclusion ofnurses, view nurses as unqualified to be categorized asprofessionals. According to the research, the society takes nursesfor granted, seeing them as inferior(Fox&amp Abrahamson, 2009).

Theresearch will acquire the information pertaining nursing shortagefrom the public. In this event, the research will acquire informationpertaining the public view on the nurses and give a general opinion.That will additionally aid in the determination of the externalfactors that coerce nurses to seek self-employment or employment inother non-health professions and abandon their health profession.


Overthe years, nurses, healthcare administrators, politicians, media, andother parties, have raised the alarm on an impending critical nursingshortage. Federal agencies have predicted the need for a significantincrease in nurses based on the growing population evolution of newmedical technologies that require the involvement of nursesincreasing complexity of modern medicine etc. The Bureau of LaborStatistics projected a 25% increase in nursing professions by 2020(,2015).

Thisproposal outlines a qualitative methodology that can be used to carryout research into the crisis that is not only impacting negatively onthe United States healthcare system but becoming more and morecritical with time. Research into the situation has been conducted,but there has been no effective remedy that has been discovered. Thisresearch would be more substantial, based on the fact that it is morequalitative as compared to previous quantitative researches.

Followinga recent national survey, the number of registered nurses in theUnited States are approximately 2.6 million. That is a 5.4 percentincrease from 1996. Out of these registered nurses, approximately 2.2million nurses are employed in the health system, of which around 1.5million are full-time nurses(Lu,While &amp Louise Barriball, 2005).The research proposed would help in the determination of factors thatmay compel nurses to stay away from their key profession.

Ofessence, the proposed research will not only look at the healthprofession but also the society and how they view nursing. Nurses arehighly intelligent professionals in charge of the human health.Therefore, the faculty demands for students willing to pursue nursingare high. The academic requirements to be a nursing student are hightoo. Reliable evidence from both the federal and state agencies statedeclare the United States has inadequate nursing courses, which needto be increased to tackle the shortage menace and prevent thesituation from deteriorating. For example, a national surveyindicated that there were 33000 qualified individuals who applied fora nursing program and were turned down. These schools were questionedabout the reason for the action, where 76 percent of them stated thatthere was a shortage of faculty. Typically, nurses do not only enrollin their courses at advanced ages but also retire at an early age, 62on average(Lu,While &amp Louise Barriball, 2005).

Thefinancial ability of the United States in universally undoubted. Thebudgetary allocation to the health sector is huge, and the nation`smedical technology is among the most advanced in the world(Jet al., 2004).However, the country is faced with a deficiency of nurses, asituation that directly contradicts the expected situation. Thisresearch will find out the reason as to why the nurses are inadequatefor the technology and how the US health budget is spent,particularly on the employment of nurses.

TheUnited States may be facing a nursing shortage, but it gets worsewhen there is an uneven distribution of nurses. With an unevendistribution of nurses, it is of essence noting that the shortagewill hit some areas harder as compared to the rest. According to thenational statistics, there is an average of 80 nurses per 100000individuals in the United States. In the rural areas, however, thereis an average of 68 nurses per 100000 while there are an average 84nurses per 100000 in the urban areas(LWW,2015).That implies that the nursing shortage is being experienced in theentire United States but is being felt more in the rural areas of thenation.


Nursingis a career just like the others. However, not all the nurses end upinto the nursing profession. Some of them prefer venturing into othercareers or venture into business abandoning their nursing career.With this fact, why do they opt to quit nursing? The main questionthat may arise under this reason is, what does it mean to be a nurse?

Facultyrequirements in the United States is a major determinant of thenumber of nurses. What are the real requirements to qualify as anurse? With the advanced education system in the United States, whatwould be the factors that would lead to the faculty problem? How canthe faculty problem be eliminated to increase the number ofsuccessful applicants enrolling in a nursing program in the UnitedStates?

TheUnited States probably boasts of the most advanced medical technologyand largest health budget in the world. Why is there a nursingshortage? The advanced medical technology is handled mostly bynurses, does the shortage of nurses that we are experiencing declarethe existence of idle medical resources in the nation? How is thehealth budget spent on the employment of nurses in the health sector?

Whatis the distribution pattern of nurses? Are there parts of the UnitedStates where the shortage of nurses is worse off?



Theproposed research will be conducted three public hospitals(,2015)

  • Bellevue Hospital Center: It is the eldest public hospital in the United States. It is a hospital for that caters for the majority of New York`s lower-class. It has around 1800 physicians and a bed capacity of 1272.

  • Harlem Hospital Center: It is a 272-bed municipal-owned hospital. Competition from higher quality private hospitals is pushing it to a collapsing edge.

  • Kings County Hospital Center: It is popularly referred to as the most disordered and unruly hospital in the US health system, with a wanting healthcare quality. It has 1254 beds.

Apublic hospital has been most preferred for the conduction of ourresearch due to various factors

  • A public hospital is the key health institution and the core workplace for nurses

  • A public hospital will contain a good record of all nurses giving a reliable estimate of the employed nurses

  • In a hospital, there will be patients who are served by government-employed nurses who will give the most reliable healthcare information.

  • A public hospital is government owned, an ideal setting of the United States healthcare system. Any information pertaining nurses reflects the conditions and mindset of other nurses in the nation. Primarily, a public hospital is a reflection of the national healthcare system.

Theproposal suggests the research be conducted in three hospitals in NewYork. The proposal further requires that the research be conducted inthe three hospitals simultaneously. All hospitals are publichospitals of the same level.


Theresearch will be conducted in a survey design, which is a qualitativeresearch method, to incorporate all information components concerningthe nursing shortage. A qualitative design is proposed since itinvolves researching a population portion, with the subpopulationpossessing some similar characters(Merriam,1998).Qualitative research is the precursor to quantitative research. Theproposal to employ qualitative design can be attributed to the factthat it will later be used to develop a convincing and testablehypothesis(Groveset al., 2009).

Ethics/InstitutionalBoard Review

  • The use of Random sampling is meant to ensure that the research is conducted on free individuals. For instance, it is against ethics interviewing a nurse who is attending to a patient or giving a questionnaire to a critically ill patient.

  • Hospitals have regulations. It is important that the regulations are strictly followed unless the health professionals permit you to act to the contrary. For instance, patient wards have visiting hours.

  • In case, any party being interviewed is willing to provide certain information, he/she is at liberty to conceal the information without coercion.

  • Members conducting the research must have all the requirements for conducting research, i.e. badges and documentation.

  • Hospital protocols must be followed appropriately. While conducting research, it is important to approach the relevant authorities first.

  • Individual identities must not be concealed to avoid exposing private information. Patients’ health information must be kept secret.

  • Information obtained in the research should not be duplicated and should only be used for the purpose of research only.


Informationwill be collected through questionnaires and interviewing methods.Interviews will be conducted on nurses and patients. The nurses willbe asked several questions that will include

  • What is their feeling about their nursing profession?

  • How is nursing shortage affecting their lifestyle?

  • How is nursing shortage influencing their working?

  • Are nurses comfortable with their remuneration?

Patientswill also be asked questions on issues such as

    • What is their feeling over the nursing shortage?

    • What is the impact of the nursing shortage on their lives?

    • Is the health system devoted to ensuring better health care?

    • How they view their nurses

Interviewingwill further be conducted with other health professionals and generalhospital staff on the issue of the nursing shortage. Questionnaireswill be issued to parties in the hospital environment, includingpatients’ visitors to see their view on the nursing shortage issue.The questionnaires will be important since individuals will be atmore liberty to provide genuine information that will be used tosupplement information obtained from interviewing. 2000questionnaires will be issued equally to the three healthinstitutions stated in the proposal. In each hospital, at least 50nurses, 10 other physicians, 20 hospital staff and 20 visitors willbe interviewed on nursing shortage. The research will last for aslong as all the projected interviews are conducted and all thequestionnaires filled.


Afterthe data collection process is over, the data will be stackedtogether, every hospital with its bunch. Data collected will then beanalyzed using software, SPSS, and other qualitative data will beanalyzed manually in a critical process.

Forthe data in the questionnaire, the answers to each question will becounted and their mode will be computed. The opinions on everyquestion will be summed up and stated as a percentage of the totalcount.

Ratingquestions will be analyzed separately, and their mean will becomputed to find out the general opinion of the subpopulation. Bareopinions made will be discussed in a meeting, and then a judgment ofthe general decision will be reached.

Thedifferent parties interviewed will be treated independently to bringout for sets of information from nurses other physicians, patients,and visitors, which will be followed by statistical tests

Strengthsand weaknesses


  • Through questionnaires, many people will be tested quickly (Patton, 2010).

  • Data collected through interviewing will be supplemented by information from questionnaires (Patton, 2010).

  • The research is meant to go hand in hand with our proposal as the selected research team is unique and well equipped.

  • The researchers will be well trained, with a three-month training in advance.

  • About three-quarters of our researchers can speak a second language. In case we encounter a foreign individual whom we may require interviewing, there will always be someone who can communicate with him/her.

  • Eloquent and fluent research team. Our team is verbally skilled to draw significant information from the research subjects.

  • Disciplined research team. Our team of researchers have worked with us in many previous successful research projects. We are aware of their disciplined character


  • Interviewees are likely to conceal some information or give false information

  • Data is difficult to analyze, especially if unstructured and qualitative

  • Some individuals will give information that looks good to them, rather than reliable information

  • Hospitals are health institutions. Hence, a lot of information will be concealed from the researchers.

  • The research team is not familiar with the hospital environment and protocols, regarding conducting research.


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