The Qualified Nurses Shortage in the United States

Population/Patient Problem

The healthcare system of the United States experiences a shortage of qualified nurses. The situation will only worsen with time. By 2020, the country’s health care industry will lack about 1 million of the qualified nursing personnel (Krans, 2015).


The situation requires immediate intervention as the shortage of qualified nursing personnel would affect the quality of the care in the health care industry. It is necessary to implement reforms in both educational (area-specific) and health care systems to assure the appropriate amount of the registered and other types of nurses by 2020 (Grant, 2016).


It is possible to leave the situation as is. The shortage will create a deficit of the qualified nursing personnel that should raise the salaries and, thus, makes nursing a more attractive occupation. It may positively influence the industry in the mid- and long-term perspective. However, the short-term perspective is to leave the industry without qualified nurses that would negatively influence the quality of care and the image of the health care industry for a long time (Ledbetter, 2015).


The outcome of the potential reforms should be very positive, considering the gap that would emerge in the nursing staff across the country’s medical facilities in the case of performing no actions. The quality of education should increase as well as the average salary of the nursing personnel, and it would positive influence the image of the health care industry, making it more reliable and trustworthy for the patients (Grant, 2016).


The timeframe for the implementation of the proposed changes in three years. Such a period is chosen because the newly educated and re-educated personnel should have time to gain the necessary experience to replace the personnel that should leave the industry within the next five years (Krans, 2015).


The qualified nurses either leave the industry due to the variety of reasons or experience the increased pressure at work, considering the aging population and economic factors that cause shortages of personnel and, thus, the larger amount of work (Krans, 2015).

The situation does not have a positive trend to be observed, and it will worsen over time. Too few new nurses are taught these days in the appropriate educational facilities because there are no teachers (Grant, 2016). Professional nurses prefer to work and earn decent money rather than teach other nurses for lower fees. If the situation does not change, by 2020 the industry will require the additional 1 million of nurses.

Problem Description

The problem of the professional nursing personnel shortage is rather significant. According to Grant (2016), “by 2025, the shortfall is expected to be “more than twice as large as any nurse shortage experienced since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s” (par. 4). The Southern and the Western regions of the USA suffer from understaffing the most. Today, the health care system has employed about 3 million nurses. This amount is still not enough despite the fact that this is the largest part of the workforce that is occupied in the health care industry.


The outcomes of the situation are rather significant. Nurses do not want to stay in the work environment that offers them increased pressure, more patients, and the same wages (Ledbetter, 2015). They retire, leaving little or no new nurses to replace them. Professional nurses do not teach other nurses, decreasing the overall quality of the services provided by the (presumably) high-quality specialists (Krans, 2015). Therefore, the overall quality of the medical care decreases. Additionally, the increased number of patients per nurse leads to more mistakes and thus, negative impact on the image of a medical facility. It is not an appropriate situation.

Gravity and Significance

In the next 20 years, the population of America will age, and the amount of people requiring care because of age will constitute about 70 million people (Grant, 2016). The demand for the quality services of such kind will grow drastically. Paradoxically, but such state of things can positively influence the nursing jobs in the United States. The shortages of the personnel have led to the inevitable increase in the demand for qualified nurses.

The salaries have increased (as well as the workload, though). Eventually, the services of a highly-qualified nurse will be rather expensive, so it will increase the overall attractiveness of the nursing profession. More nurses will be taught. The situation will change for the better.

Proposed Solution

The situation needs to be changed, using reforms in the educational sphere and the approach to the compensation of the nurses’ efforts. It is necessary to finance the educational process more extensively to involve the experienced professional nurses to the process of education. It will increase the overall quality of the released personnel and thus, the salaries of the professional nurses in the future.


Grant, R. (2016). . The Atlantic. Web.

Krans, B. (2015). Health Line. Web.

Ledbetter, J. (2015). The New Yorker. Web.

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