The Baby Boomer generation is growing older, and as this occurs, the need for medical services increases. In addition to the increasing demand on the healthcare system, colleges and universities have limited capacity in their nursing programs. This inability to educate and train nurses for the field, coupled with a quickly aging generation, is projected to lead to a shortage of registered nurses in the near future.
Making a Difference
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is working overtime with policymakers, schools, nursing organizations, and various media outlets to let the world know that nursing shortages are an imminent possibility. The AACN is trying to work with legislators to reshape policies and practices that are more supportive of the healthcare field, with particular regard to nurses, as well as leveraging the resources at its disposal to address the shortages through collaborative efforts.
There are several key factors impacting the low numbers of nurses in the field. Many of the existing nursing population is nearing retirement age. However, there isn’t enough nursing faculty available to handle the enrollment need of the current nursing student body, much less expand enrollment for additional students. The change in the population also demands more geriatric care.
If the problem goes unaddressed, there are drastic consequences in the healthcare field. Not only will patients struggle to receive the care they need, but currently employed nurses will bear the burden of the additional workload.