Nursing Shortage: The Main Causes

Topic: Nursing
Words: 781 Pages: 2

Nurses are an integral part of the healthcare system and make up the most significant section of the medical profession. Statistics by the World Health Organization indicate about 29 million nurses globally (World Health Organization, 2022). The number is likely to grow, given the high demand for nursing services in the healthcare sector. Additionally, it is speculated that more nursing jobs will be available than any other profession in the future. According to the U.S. department of labor, more than 275 000 additional nurses will be required to offer services in the United States between 2023 to 2030 (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.). It is also projected that nursing employment opportunities are projected to grow faster than any other occupation in the U.S.

PICO Question

The nursing profession is faced with an imminent shortage of personnel due to a lack of potential trainers, inequitable workforce distribution, and high turnover. The leading cause of concern is how to tackle the ever-increasing shortage of nurses in the health care system. The primary intervention is to increase the number of educators in the healthcare system to enhance the number of nurses in the profession. However, other intervention measures can be put into consideration. Such efforts include improving the working environment to avoid burnout and motivating nurses to deliver efficient services. Increasing the number of nurses in healthcare facilities will go a long way in improving healthcare quality.

Problem Statement

The main concern in the healthcare system is knowing the significant causes of the nursing shortage.

Purpose Statement

The mini-research needs to address the issues that compel nurses to leave the profession, leading to nursing turnover that affects staffing ratios. As already noted, the nursing education system and the healthcare industry are impacted by the shortage of nurses. The lack of nurses and nurse educators makes it challenging to administer nursing education. A lack of professors constrains the number of students enrolled in nursing schools. According to AACN Fact Sheet ( n.d.), nearly two-thirds of institutions polled by the American Association of Nursing Colleges (AACN) in 2016–2017 claimed they could not accept all suitable applicants for the nursing program owing to a shortage of instructors or clinical mentors.


The significance of this mini research is to find out the leading causes of nursing shortage in the healthcare system and to put up intervention measures to help improve the quality of care offered in medical facilities. Among the leading causes of nursing shortage are the aging population, the aging workforce, nurse burnout, and career and family (Marć et al., 2019). Many theoretical explanations deal with nursing shortages in the healthcare system. According to Abhicharttibutra et al. (2016), the number of nurses on staff directly affects patient care and the degree of the services provided. As a result, a lack of nurses reduces patient satisfaction since congestion in hospitals makes it impossible to give adequate care to patients. A nurse shortage has other potential effects, including delayed patient admission, demanding workloads, and higher patient death rates. Additionally, due to scarcity, a country may have to hire and attract R.N.s from other nations.

Levels of Evidence

  • Spurlock Jr, D. (2020). The nursing shortage and the future of nursing education is in our hands. Journal of Nursing Education, 59(6), 303-304. Web.
    • The nursing shortage has a significant detrimental effect on health care; it is more than just an organizational difficulty or a matter for economic research. Health care will not be maintained or improved if the nurse shortage, whether local, regional, national, or global, is not addressed.
  • Einhellig, K. (2020). Addressing the Global Nursing Shortage: An International Collaboration. International Journal of Nursing, 7(2), 87-91. Web.
    • A nurse staffing deficit is often defined and assessed from the viewpoint of national policy concerning the nation’s historical staffing levels, resources, and projections of healthcare demand. The shortage is the discrepancy between the reality of the existing nurse supply and the desire for a better standard of care; however that is defined.
  • Gorman, V. L. A. (2019). Future emergency nursing workforce: what the evidence is telling us. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 45(2), 132-136. Web.
    • The simplest definition of a shortage is when there is an imbalance between the number of nurses needed to meet the demand for nursing services and the number of nurses available. Not all available nurses will be inclined to work for a given pay or benefit package; thus, availability must be qualified accordingly.
  • Marć, M., Bartosiewicz, A., Burzyńska, J., Chmiel, Z., & Januszewicz, P. (2019). A nursing shortage–a prospect of global and local policies. International nursing review, 66(1), 9-16.
    • It examines the United States and global nursing shortage, its contributing factors, and public policy implications.


AACN Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Nursing Shortage. Web.

Abhicharttibutra, K., Kunaviktikul, W., Turale, S., Wichaikhum, O. A., & Srisuphan, W. (2016). Analysis of a government policy to address nursing shortage and nursing education quality. International Nursing Review, 64(1), 22–32. Web.

Marć, M., Bartosiewicz, A., Burzyńska, J., Chmiel, Z., & Januszewicz, P. (2019). A nursing shortage–a prospect of global and local policies. International nursing review, 66(1), 9-16.

U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Labor announces $80M funding opportunity to help train, expand, diversify nursing workforce; address shortage of nurses. Web.

World Health Organization. (2022). Nursing and midwifery. Web.

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