In the United States (US), nursing turnover is a major challenge in the nursing industry with an averege turnover rate of about 14% for registered nurses (Lindley & Cozad, 2017). According to the American Hospital Association, 75% of all vacant positions are for registered nurses (Patricia, Sean, Jeannie, & Rosaly, 2004). The United States Department of Health and Human Services projects that the nursing shortage will soon reach a critical stage that will impact negatively on the healthcare industry (Lindley & Cozad, 2017). Nursing shortage has been adduced to a number of factors. Specifically, social factors and government policy have immensely contributed to the issue of nursing shortage and turnover. Government policy on the philosophy of free-market economy without adequate consideration for the assessment and compensation for quality care, the complex recruitment methods of new nurses and nurses
Aging Population: Studies have reported that the United States has the largest number of nurses 65 years and over currently. This is coupled with a generally ageing population implies the need for more nurses to cope with this (Haddad et al, 2020).
Aging Work Force: The nurses are also becoming older like the populations they serve, the nursing workforce is also aging. By implication, one-third of the nursing workforce could be at retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years (Haddad et al, 2020)..
Nurse Burnout: High rate of burnout and job dissatisfaction is another competing need. Turnover in nursing seems to be leveling off, but only after years of steady climbing in rates. Currently, the national average for turnover rates is 8.8 % to 37.0%, depending on geographic location. (Haddad et al, 2020).
Growth: The high rate of job growth means a higher need is required seen in areas that have high retirement populations (Haddad et al, 2020)..
Competing Needs from the Economic Angle
Static Economic Shortages: This is based on the principle of demand and supply. Specifically nursing shortage depends on nurse availability in the face of actual budgeted slots at particular wage rates. In a static economic shortage, the health organization has a budgeted position available but is unable to find suitable qualified candidate for employment at the wage being offered. That is, there is a shortage because the actual demand for nurses exceeds the actual supply of nurses who are available and willing to take these positions (Goldfarb, 2008).
Dynamic Economic Shortages: In this instance, demand and supply are equal, but suddenly the demand rises. Suppose that wages rise enough in response to call forth a sufficient increase in the number of nurses being supplied. The initial demand increase will then be met by rising supply (in response to the higher wage) and a moderating of the initial rise in demand because the higher wage makes adding nurses more expensive (Goldfarb, 2008).
How Policy Might Address These Competing Needs
Another important competing need is having adequate data on nursing. The question is: are nursing shortfalls large compared to other occupations. There is the need for organizations, policy makers and other stakeholders to have adequate data on nurse vacancy. A policy is required that will be driven in the direction of training enough nurses that will address the problem of nursing shortage in the US.