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What You Need to Know About the Nursing Shortage

What You Need to Know About the Nursing Shortage

Do you ever wonder --- “what will the nursing profession be like in five years? 10 years and even beyond that?” Or – “what will the role of the nurse be like, what type of nursing positions will be available,” as the calendar pages turn and turn, until five years, 10 years, fifteen years, and beyond have passed? It is a daunting thought in the aftermath of 2020 and the ongoing impact of the pandemic on nurses, major employers of nurses, particularly hospitals and medical centers, and the general economy – not just in the United States but around the world. For those of you ready for a fresh, new perspective of the nursing shortage, you may actually get that courtesy of the global pandemic and global impact processes set in place within the last 10-20 years. Are you ready for that fresh, new perspective on an “old, new problem”? Ready, set, here we go….

Global Nursing Trends

Those who are seeking a career in nursing are aware that the nursing shortage is nothing new, even as global data is explored. However, what began in 2020, and continues into 2021 with the pandemic, promises to add a new dimension and puts a new twist on an old problem. The key word is “global” i.e. global pandemic, global economy, and global nursing trends. The fact is, due to the impact of the global pandemic, the already occurring interconnectedness of a rapidly emerging global society is now at a vantage point for a global economy. At this point, you might be saying, “can we focus on the U.S. nursing shortage and what is impacting me now and in my near future as a nurse?” Sure, we can do that.

Domestic Nursing Shortage

The outlook for those who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing projects an enduring shortage of available nurses going into the future. The National Center for Biotechnology Information identifies the following key factors as contributors to the chronic nursing shortage:

  • An aging workforce with more than one million U.S. nurses over age 50 and planning retirement within the next 10-15 years, the highest percentage of aging among nurse faculty
  • An aging population with the highest number of Americans over age 65 than at any time in U.S. history and not peaking until 2029, raising expectations of increasing health care services and need for care of the aged
  • Lack of nursing educators due to perceived low pay and an aging nurse faculty workforce
  • Nurse deaths and disability due to the pandemic
  • High nurse turnover due to the demands of the profession, especially as the pandemic marches on unequal nursing workforce distribution across geographic locations and places of employment

Looking Ahead

There are a number of reasons for optimism for those who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing. Studies continue to show that the nursing shortage and factors contributing to that shortage are not expected to significantly change any time soon.

  • Greater Appreciation for Nurses

Though the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife 2020, declared by the World Health Organization, was a shocking twist to a year expected to increase appreciation for what nursing is and what nurses do, the global pandemic brought world-wide attention and appreciation for the heroic and self-sacrificial efforts of millions of nurse warriors who rose to the occasion, easing immense suffering of the isolated ill, and saving countless numbers of lives.

Do I think the world at large has a greater understanding of what nursing is and what nurses do? The answer is a resounding “yes!” And we can build on that increased understanding of our value and role as nurses to increase the political power of nurses and the nursing profession. My prediction is it will never be the same as it was for anyone with a career in nursing before the pandemic – and that is a good thing. 

  • Demand for Specialization

The American Nurses Association reveals the high demand for specialization now more than ever before. First, there is a great push toward community-based care which has created new types of roles for nurses serving children and families. There is also a tremendous need for nursing specialties, such as geriatrics, informatics, and care coordinators. Keep in mind, the specialized skills required in healthcare organizations are constantly evolving.

  • Rural Needs

According to SAGE Journals, there is also a huge demand for nurses in rural areas. Fortunately, Ottawa University makes it easy for our nursing students living in rural communities. Travel time and transportation are some of the biggest concerns for students who live isolated from urban areas. Earning an online nursing degree with Ottawa University makes it possible for students to stay at home while earning their online bachelors in nursing or online masters in nursing degrees. Nursing students also tend to have more clinical opportunities when they are spread out into rural communities, which makes it even easier than ever before to finish that degree.

Online RN-MSN Bridge Program

OU’s accelerated online MSN is designed for RNs who have graduated from an accredited program with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. A current, unrestricted RN license obtained in the U.S. is required. The fully online RN-to-MSN program can help students fulfill career goals and increase their overall earning potential. This unique program was designed for busy professionals who need a flexible schedule with the added option of accelerating their learning.

  • Accelerated 8-week terms
  • Flexible online courses for nurses
  • Easy transfer of credits from previous colleges
  • Network and collaborate online with a diverse group of peers

Why Choose an Online Nursing Program?

I believe it is not time to get out of the nursing profession – it’s time to dream again! Consider a change of another kind... Have you ever thought of furthering your education or specializing in a clinical area? If you are considering transitioning your career and becoming a nurse educator, or a nurse practitioner, then Ottawa University can help! Our online bachelors in nursing (RN-BSN) and online masters in nursing (MSN) programs help students find and reach their dreams in nursing. From my years of living and working in East Africa, I leave you with this common kiSwahili saying - Pamoja tutaushindi! Together we will win!

Contact an advisor for more information!

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