Effects of Shortage of Nurses on Curriculum Abstract

Effects of Shortage of Nurses on Curriculum Abstract


Effects of Shortage of Nurses on Curriculum


The nursing curriculum continues to face a myriad of challenges thatare a threat to patients’ safety and service quality. A majorproblem experienced in the whole country is the shortage of nurses inthe workforce. The increasing life expectancy increases the number ofpeople in need of nursing care. The number of students leavingmedical training institutions does not meet the demand. Also, theexisting knowledge does not cater for the changing trends in the useof technology. There are an inadequate number of nurses who can applythe new methods in service delivery and this call for a comprehensiveand intensive training. Forging alliances with training institutionscan help to identify the gaps that exist in knowledge as well asdeveloping strategies to come up with the relevant curriculum thatapplies to the dynamic profession.

Nursing curriculum in the 21st century is under the influence ofvarious challenges that affect the decisions made by the policymakers. There is an increasing population of ill patients with aninflated number of acutely ill senior citizens. These increase thecost of health care and the need for nurses to relate to newtechnology and knowledge of new medical procedures. Also, medicalprofessionals continue to develop a set of diverse models to addressthe challenges that affect the health care structure (Huston, 2013).The increased number of patients, as well as emergence of newprocedures, renders the heath sector short of nurses. This paper willlay insight into the social trend of the shortage of nurses due tothe changes in population and advancement in technology as well asrelating it to the relevant professional standards that are injeopardy. It will also propose several measures that the relevantbodies can take to address the issue.

Over the past 15 years, there has a significant growth of the numberof graduating nurses in the United States of America. The years 2000and 2004 experienced the highest growth in their population wherebyan additional 200,000 nurse’s graduated and entered the workforce(Juraschek et al., 2012). It brought the total number of patients toabout 2.9 million. However, the gap that exists between the numberthat training institutions have to offer and the demand for healthcare has widened in the last decade (Juraschek et al., 2012).

In 2011, health care providers recorded a growth of 10% in the numberof graduates from 2010 (Littlejohn et al., 2012). In October 2010,the institute of medicine proposed an increase in the number ofbaccalaureate nurses to 80% of the workforce. (Littlejohn et al.,2012) The current workforce falls short of this recommendation about45% since only 55% of the registered nurses in the country fallswithin the baccalaureate category (Littlejohn et al., 2012).Thechanges in medical procedures and increased longevity have been somef the primary factors that contribute to the swelling of the patientsunder care and ability of nurses to deliver some services using thenew applications. For this reason, the demand for a nurse with boththeoretical and practical knowledge that extends beyond theconventional means continues to grow.

The shortage is significant to the nursing curriculum and thehealthcare in general for various reasons. First, the patients undercare have to receive equality services regardless of their number.The healthy people 2020 aims at providing accessible, andnon-compromised services to citizens and nurses incline to therequirements of this policy when they deliver services (Huston,2013).The condition is likely to put a strain on the availableworkforce and this may affect the timely delivery of services aswell, as the attention given to patients. The learned skills may notfind a friendly ground for application due to the existing pressure.On the same note, the shortage of nurses with knowledge don theemerging practices may lead to inefficiency in the exploitation ofthe procedures yet some of them are expensive to adopt. Healthfacilities, therefore, are on the search for people with thedesirable skills that are applicable in the dynamic environment(Huston, 2013).

The shortage of nurses relates to various professional standards inthe practice. Nurse education teaches towards achieving the optimumoutcomes after delivering services to clients. However, a shortagemay impact negatively on the quality of the services. When a bignumber of people line up for services, the nurses have to act fast toclear the backlogs. Personalized services for the clients can,therefore, become difficult. Sometimes, nurses have to makefollow-ups on various ailments to ensure compliance to therecommended lifestyles and adherence to prescriptions (Juraschek etal., 2012). A shortage in the workforce may not leave room for afollow up unless in isolated cases and this affects the outcomes ofthe service delivery. The skills that learners have to acquire in theclinical set up might not have a comprehensive approach since theyare likely to attend to the most pressing cases.

Another important aspect that relate to the nursing standard issubjecting patients to treatment rendered by qualified nurses. Thechanging trend in the medical procedures and treatment models callfor nurses with the relevant knowledge and practical skills(Littlejohn et al., 2012). Their shortage may push heath facilityadministrators to offer only the necessary skills to exceptionalindividuals and have them attend to patients using the advancedprocesses. Inadequate information is likely to compromise on thequality of services that clients receive.

For these reasons, there is a dire need for a timely interventionplan to safeguard the acceptable nursing standards of qualityservices and to avoid overstretching the available workforce. Themove should be comprehensive by involving all the stakeholdersincluding the policy makers, learning institutions and curriculumdevelopers.

First, the health administrators in the various health facilitiesshould foster an academic and practice relationship with learninginstitutions. The can create joint faculty positions to allow theschools offer continuing education to the members of staff on arotation basis as dictated by the emerging needs. For example,schools may adopt a curriculum on advanced nursing practices, and itmay only introduce it to interested parties (Dotson et al., 2012).However, the partnerships will instigate the management to identifythe knowledge gap that exists and encourage the members of staff toacquire it.

Secondly, stakeholders can create test models that lay emphasis onadequate reporting on the gaps that exist between medical traininginstitutions and health care facilities. The models will inform thechanges in curriculum needs and compel the administrators to create aplatform to acquaint nurses with the new procedures (Dotson et al.,2012). The strategies will strengthen the value of quality andpatient safety.

Finally, learning institutions should introduce nursing students tothe use of advanced technology and the application of new treatmentprocedures (Dotson et al., 2012). They should invest in simulationmethods and rotational programs to that that they release a groupwith relevant skills into the country’s workforce.

In conclusion, nursing shortage impacts negatively of the professionsince it stains the available workforce and has a likelihood ofaffecting the quality of services. The increasing population ofpeople who seek services as a result of increased longevity as wellas the introduction of new nursing practices renders the existingworkforce inadequate. Establish academic partnerships betweenhospitals and training institutions can address the problem since abig number of students will gain clinical knowledge even beforeentering the workforce. It will also help to identify the knowledgegaps that exist in the workforce and make plans to seal them.


Dotson, M. J., Dave,D. S., &amp Cazier, J. A. (2012). Addressing the Nursing Shortage: ACritical Healthcare Issue. Health Marketing Quarterly, 29(4),311-328.

Huston, C. J.(2013). Professional Issues in Nursing: Challenges andOpportunities. Lippincott: Williams &amp Wilkins.

Juraschek, S. P.,Zhang, X., Ranganathan, V., &amp Lin, V. W. (2012). United Statesregistered nurse workforce report card and shortage forecast.American Journal of Medical Quality, 27(3), 241-249.

Littlejohn, L.,Campbell, J., &amp Collins-McNeil, J. (2012). Comparative Analysisof Nursing Shortage. International Journal of Nursing, 1(1),21-26.