Solving the Nursing Shortage

Jun 12


Que Schafer

Que Schafer

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For years, hospitals all over the United States have experienced a shortage in nurses, nurse administrators, nurse managers and nurse practitioners. Unfortunately, the shortage doesn’t appear to be getting any better.


According to a report by the Health Resources and Services Administration,Solving the Nursing Shortage Articles 30 states currently have shortages of registered nurses (RNs). The shortage is expected to intensify over the next two decades, with 44 states expected to have RN shortages by the year 2020. Furthermore, the demand for nurses in 2012 is expected to be 2.9 million, up from the 2.3 million that were needed in 2003.

There has never been a more appropriate time to pursue a career in nursing in the United States. The total job openings, including new jobs and replacing nurses who no longer are practicing, will be more than 1.1 million from 2002 to 2012.

The main reasons for the high demand of nurses in this country include an 18 percent growth in population, an aging, health-obsessed baby boomer population, and extended lifespans. According to a report released in May of 2001 by the Nursing Institute at the University of Illinois College of Nursing, the ratio of potential caregivers to the people most likely to need care—the elderly population—will decrease by 40 percent between 2010 and 2030.

The problem is one of simple supply and demand. Demand for nurses will grow by 40 percent by the year 2020, while the supply of nurses will increase by only 6 percent over the same period. The aging population of nurses in this country is another factor. The median age of nurses continues to increase, and a large wave of retirements is unavoidable.

In August of 2002, the Nursing Reinvestment Act of 2002 was signed by President Bush to address the problem of our nation’s nursing shortage. It was intended to promote people to enter and remain in nursing careers, thus helping to lighten the growing nursing shortage. The law establishes scholarships, loan repayments, public service announcements, retention grants, career ladders, geriatric training grants and loan cancellation for nursing faculty. Funding for these programs is provided through 2007 by law.

To address the growing needs of today’s population, at least one college in particular is offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees to motivated individuals interested in the nursing/healthcare arena. Founded in 1976, University of Phoenix is one of the original accredited universities to offer online college education with complete degree programs by use of the Internet. It is the nation’s largest accredited university, with over 17,000 highly qualified instructors, 170 campuses and Internet delivery worldwide.

University of Phoenix offers two Nursing/Health Care undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN license required) and Bachelor of Science in Health Care Services (BCHCS). The graduate degrees in the same field are: Master of Science in Nursing (RN license required), Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner (RN license required) and Master of Science in Nursing/MBA/Health Care Management (RN license required).

“The nursing shortage in this country is a major problem, but there are some pluses to the dilemma,” said Barbara Sanner, the Arizona Marketing Manager for University of Phoenix. “One of the benefits to the shortage is that you can virtually write your own ticket, meaning that you can work anywhere in the country, in any environment and the job pays well.” Typically, starting registered nurses earn salaries in the $40,000+ range.

University of Phoenix’s nursing program has been accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) since 1989. It is currently seeking nursing program accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It is changing its accreditation from NLNAC to CCNE because most baccalaureate and higher degree programs in nursing are now accredited by CCNE. Currently in the U.S., about 70 percent of baccalaureate nursing programs and 79 percent of master’s nursing programs are accredited by CCNE.

The BSN program is designed to develop the professional knowledge and skills of working RNs. One must have a minimum of 30 nursing credits to become eligible for this program. However, a valid RN license satisfies this requirement. There are 13 courses offered in this program, and three of them have a clinical component. Most of the courses are online, but students have the opportunity to do some of the class work in-person in residency programs, for example. Students also have several opportunities to interact with fellow students.

The curriculum consists of biological, physical and social sciences, which contribute to the science of nursing and focus on the development of the nurse’s role as caregiver, teacher and manager of care. All three of the clinical components require spending 20-45 hours of practicum in five weeks.

“One of the key areas that distinguish us from others is that you can take classes at night,” Sanner said. “That is a big plus for nurses, and our local campuses try to fit courses that work for the tough schedule demands that nurses have.”

“We also have a strong foundation in the bio and physical sciences,” Sanner added. “There is probably a perception in the market place that we don’t have it, but that is not true. We’re also not just offering courses strictly for nurses going into hospital care. We have courses that prepare you to become nurse supervisors, managers of small-care facilities, geriatric wards, etc. We offer a broad basis for different kinds of nursing opportunities, not just hospital nurses.”

The MSN/MBA/HCM program is intended to provide nurses with the blend of advanced nursing and business management skills necessary to manage today’s health care delivery systems. The MBA/HCM curriculum emphasizes the identification, analysis and solution of multifaceted management problems that require technical understanding and balanced decision making.
If you are the type of person who is driven by a desire to help people and to make a difference in people’s lives, pursing a career in nursing might be the perfect career option. Enrolling in a nursing program such as University of Phoenix’s gives students the opportunity to aid people and make a very good living while helping to eliminate this country’s alarming shortage in nurses.