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Combating the Nursing Shortage: Teach the Next Generation

Most nursing students dream of working in hospitals, saving lives. While there’s great need for primary care nurses, a cause of the current US nursing shortage is lack of faculty in nursing schools. Tens of thousands of qualified students get turned away each year, exacerbating the problem of too few nurses. BSN-degreed nurses are qualified join nursing school faculties in supportive roles. Preparing the next generation of nurses is another way to save lives, and the US needs a more highly educated nursing workforce, particularly as faculty in nursing schools.

To learn more, checkout the following infographic created by the Adventist University of Health Sciences’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Combating the Nursing Shortage: Teach the Next Generation

The Origin of Nursing

Nursing has been around for some time, but it is hard to pin down its origins as a profession. Some ancient cultures trained the youngest daughter in a family to be a nurse. The daughter would care for her parents when they became elderly. The daughter was supposed to provide general care for a parent who was physically unable to do so themselves. This child was also there to help a parent who developed a degenerative ailment.

The oldest account of using a nurse like practitioner could be traced back to Hippocrates. He described “skilled male caretakers” as attendants to those who were sick. This was around 500 BC.

The Holy Bible itself mentions a nurse–some would say the first nurse–by the name of Phoebe in Romans 16 who cared for those who needed it. And, indeed, history has shown that many of the first nursing homes were run by nuns or monks.

A Shortage of Nurses in the New World

It seems that nurses have a long history of providing necessary and compassionate care, and new nurses are carrying those traditions on their shoulders. But there is a truth that is not talked about enough: There is a growing shortage of nurses in the industry.

But why is this shortage happening? Some say there is a lack of qualified teachers. There seems to be a staggering number of promising students–79,600 students to be exact–that are turned away simply because they exceed the amount qualified instructors. This rejection happens every school year in the United States, which is contributing to the shortage of nurses.

The issue is only aggravated by another fact, which is that many registered nurses are approaching retirement age. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 1 million RN’s (registered nurses) are going to retire in the next 10 to 15 years. This is a fact that scares many people because care is a necessity.

Other nurses–who might want to teach– often decide to look for more lucrative professions. Most of the professions that nurses seem to be attracted to are in the private sector or clinics. This could result from several factors, such as a weak economy; many people are nervous about the stability of their finances. It could also be attributed to the education system that doesn’t pay teachers enough.

Statistics also shed light on how many openings might be available to nursing graduates by 2022, which totals 1.05 million nursing jobs. This number might include some of those who are retiring, but the real problem is that most of these jobs are not going to be filled easily because of the shortage.

The Ever-Growing Need For Nurses

What must be understood about the growing need for nurses is that society is changing. These changes include various changes that range from longer lifespans and more health awareness.
The primary change is that people are living longer due to medical advances, better drugs and healthcare technology. This sounds like a great thing, and it is, but some of those aging people are getting sick and suffering from medical neglect.

The population of people with ailments that need special care is growing because of better diagnostic and greater health awareness. It’s clear to see why some experts are calling for a complete revolution in the way that health care is approached. For one, preventative care is becoming more important in order to avoid dealing with serious health issues. Preventative care could include an emphasis on nutrition, organic diets, or raw diets, depending on one’s needs and preference.

It is no secret that a nurse needs to be a jack-of-all-trades because many ailments are becoming more prominent among the population of the United States. These include obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes; these are just a few of the proliferating ailments.

As a side note, remember that new laws are going into effect that give more people access to health care. This new group of people, just like any other group, also need care. This should not be taken as a negative as health belongs to all people, but it does create a huge demand.

Nurses Are a Shining Beacon Forward

The truth does hurt, but that does not mean things cannot be reversed or improved. In fact, there are several things being done to improve the shortage of nurses that the American people are facing.

One thing worth noting is the state’s appropriation of funds for technologies that can help train new nurses. These technologies will not take the place of a teacher, but they will open up more space for new students, since instruction will be less demanding.

Another situation that can be improved is the amount of federal money that is set aside to train new nurses and improve the workforce. The government could also make the nursing courses more attractive to students by promising debt forgiveness and similar benefits. There is one such program called the Nursing Education Loan Repayment program that helps repay loans by up to 85%.

Schools have also been awarded with the Nurse Faculty Loan program, which helps schools pay their nursing faculty more money as well as hire new teachers.

These are just a few of the changes that federal and state governments are making to handle the nurse and teacher shortages, but these changes are only addressing part of the problem. New technologies, Internet training, higher teacher salaries and expanded educational funding are essential parts of any comprehensive solution to the nursing shortage.

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