Here’s an interesting take on the nursing shortage.  This story is from  The article is a guest column that was written during nurse’s week.  The author takes a look at patient care staffing issues, which is always in and out of the news.  Is there or is there not a nurse shortage.

This is what author Susan Gordon came to realize in her column, her opinion is that hospitals bear a lot of responsibility despite the fact that there seems to be a nursing shortage on paper. In many ways there are reasons that hospitals are contributing to unfilled nursing positions need to be filled with new nurses that had just graduated.  Whatever you need to do to fill those jobs you do it. If you need to put a new or less experienced nurse in there, it is still better than having a nurse that’s been working 15-20 years or longer and double up her patient load.

So hospitals are bearing some of the responsibilities according to Susan.  I think this makes sense.  We’ve seen hospitals that think nurses are expendable.  When a nurse makes an error because the hospital has an unsafe staffing environment, that nurse gets fired.  It’s the nurse’s fault. That hospital will bear no responsibility for the fact for that nurse being put in a position where she was going to make a mistake.  It was just a matter of time until that happened.

Hospitals dragging their feet, not filling positions quickly, just letting the nurses that are already on staff continue to work extra shifts and work with more patients than they probably can safely handle and what ends up happening is the hospitals will just hold on to that extra money and use it for other funding for other things.  I see a lot of hospitals building a lot of fancy facilities around their area yet we still complain there are still not enough nurses to fill all the positions and nurses are still over worked and understaffed.

I think there’s a time and a place for these things but we don’t need to be building fancy facades and extra office buildings for the physicians when those hospitals can’t adequately staff the nurses there.   I think this is important to keep track of and I like this point of view.  It’s a different take on the nurse staffing shortage and nurse staffing in general. I think it’s a different take and something you should read.


This article has been featured in the news segment of the Nursing Show episode Therapeutic Hypothermia In Critical Care Setting and Episode 179.


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2 Responses to Another Viewpoint on the Nursing Shortage

  1. Cairne says:

    Sure there is a nursing shortage in the hospitals if only they want RNs. Since it seems to be a mandatory for hospitals to have RNs as staff yes there is a shortage. There are a lot of LPNs who are just as talented and knowledgable in the nursing field and there are more LPNs popping out there looking just the same job as RNs.
    Then the other thing that I have noticed in just these 5 years (and I have been a nurse for 25 years) are that new nursing employee and experienced nurse’s orientation is only one week. That don’t even give them time to even catch up with the mission statement that they are working for. No wonder nurses are expendable. Us nurse’s work hard to get our licenses and it is what we want to do in our hearts.
    Sorry for sounding bitter, but I use to remember hospitals use to be a caring place just for people and now hospitals and facilities have become more of a business. It’s only care is how many bodies are there so that we could keep up with our profit margins. Then also to that patients (clients, or residents, which ever we call them now) are more sick then ever and they are sent to facilitites in a not a very stable state. The vicious circle of clients going back to the hospital then going back to the facilities. Who is really a risk, not just our licences and our livelihood, but also there clients lives are in our hands, and their families also.
    Healthcare facilities are worried about teh bottomline. They should worry about how these nurses are being oriented and how dedicated are these nurses. And also to how some managers are I have notice are very condicending to the nurses and aides that work with her/him. If it is just talk and don’t really see the real action I myself just back way and just be quiet and bite my tongue.
    I’ve worked in all the specialities except for the operating room, L/D, so there is nothing that I have not been exposed to from hospitals (critical care, ICU and ER) to home care, agency nursing, and longterm/subacute. I’ve been wound nurse in the subacute and charge nurse.
    In the current subacute facility I work for I had to punch out exactly the time when we should, but how could anyone do that when I and eveyone else still have work to finish, and the oncoming nurse would not pick up the beton because of a pending admission. I could go on and on. The also the night shift was to do the 24 hour chart check for potential missed order, but I’ve seen orders missed and not carried out and then the nurse are asked what happened to the order that was supposed to be taken care of yesterday or so? Endorsing recieving from the previous shift is a joke. I know some of these patients that I get report from and all I get is ” ‘I don’t know’ ‘I don’t give that antibiotic’ “.
    There are some nurse fearful of lossing there license because of some instance like above.

    • Jamie Davis says:

      Thanks for leaving the comment. I agree that there are a lot of LPN’s going unused in the job market. The issue is that hospitals put LPN’s in slot between full Registered Nurse and the scope of practice they have and the unlicensed “certified” personnel like CNA’s. Since LPN’s can’t do everything an RN is allowed to do in most areas, and CNA’s cost less than LPN’s, they are left out of the equation.

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