The Nursing Shortage 2On June 3, 2011, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that thehealthcare industry increased its number of employees by 44,600 from April to May of this year. Among these new healthcare professionals, Registered Nurses made upalmost a fifth of the employees hired during this one-month period, leading some tobelieve that there is no longer a nursing shortage (Bureau of Labor and Statistics [BLS],2011). However, the fact that there are somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000available nursing jobs at present that need to be filled strongly supports that there is infact a nursing shortage (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2011,para. 9; The Spokesman-Review, 2011, para.1). While this appears to be the case, asis believed by medical professionals, students, and patients, Registered Nurses that areunemployed believe that if there really were a nursing shortage, they would have a job.
A shortage, by definition, is “
” (The American Heritage New
Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 2005). In regards to a nursing shortage, the definition is
not much different, as it states that, “a
nursing shortage is a condition in which thedelicate balance of nurse supply and nurse demand are not at equilibrium. [It] is definedas a situation in which the demand for employment of nurses exceeds the availablesupply of nurses willing to be employed at a given salary. A nursing shortage is not justa matter of understaffing, [which] can occur in conditions of shortage, equilibrium, or
Huber, 2006, p. 587). If the demand for nurses is in fact greater than theactual supply, as suggested by the AACN, then what is the cause behind this shortage?