Nursing Shortage

Nurses play a critical role in healthcare delivery. Unfortunately, the US is faced with a shortage of qualified nurses to meet the expanding demands of a growing, ageing population and an insured population. The nurses are the major healthcare force in the US, but their demand is still increasing at an unprecedented rate (Buerhaus et al., 2018). Other than the increase in population, the shortage can be attributed to the ageing nursing force, high turnover, and advancement in modern medicine. The deficit is global, as the pandemic has illustrated. There is a need for 7.2 million healthcare workers, 40% of the current working nurses will leave in 10 years, and by 2035 there will be a shortage of 13 million nurses (Buerhaus et al., 2018). The literature analyses offer various factors contributing to the nurses’ shortage, and strategies.  

Ageing Population

On average, the population is ageing, with the baby boomers generation increasing the need for health services. Notably, the current number of Americans over 65 years old is higher than any other period in history. By 2030, there will be a  73% increase in Americans over 65 from the baby boomer generation (Wei et al., 2020). Older age increases the chronic condition that requires necessary transition and the need for structural changes in the healthcare system and healthy population. The current 63 million individuals under Medicare will expand to 80 million in 2030 and increase the demand for healthcare (Wei et al., 2020). Other than population increases, the complexity of baby boomers will increase the intensity and complexity of nursing care. The prevalence of chronic diseases will improve with age. These factors will increase health care providers’ demand and complex treatment regimens,

Ageing Workforce 

The average age of working in the USA and most Western countries is 40 years and above (Marc et al., 2019). Additionally, 40% of the nurses are above 50 years, meaning they could be at retirement age in the next 15 years (Auerbach et al., 2020). The number includes faculty nurses faculty, which challenges replacing them through training but with fewer resources. Due to the lessened caregiving capacity of families, increased migration, single households, the elderly nurses’ workforce will need to adapt and highly specialize in acquiring particular competencies. Nursing entails interaction with ailing critical personnel, physical care, and shift work. With age and an increased need to cater to the lessened caregiving family, the elderly nursing workforce cannot efficiently handle the work due to diminishing senses, reaction speed, and muscular power (Auerbach et al., 2020).

High Burnout and Turnover

High nursing turnover is another primary reason for nurses’ shortage. Significant high turnover rates include burnout, unsatisfactory job, lack of peer or superior support, or high work demand. Currently, US turnovers range from 8% to 37% (Waltz et al., 2020). Burnout is an official medical diagnosis. Other studies indicate that high work demands as the most common factor influencing the nurses’ intention to resign. As the aging population increases, these facilities will require their internal nurses to work overtime to cover the gaps (Waltz et al., 2020). Inevitably, these nurses will be exhausted and overworked. Where burnouts increase, the staff turnover accelerates. 


Advancement in Modern Medicine

. The advanced medicine, active lifestyle, and lower smoking rates will lead to longer life expectancies for baby boomers than previous generations (Gan 2020). However, as the population ages increases, the need for a nursing working force will be required to support the influx of older patients. The nursing workforce is not extensive to support the increased longer life due to health care. Additionally, as the technology in healthcare advances, fewer nurses will comprehend the new and complex technology (Gan 2020). Finally, only critical patients will require hospitalized and intensive care with technology. The majority of nurses will need to be trained in the new technologies and methods.


Challenges facing nursing are opportunities to transform the healthcare system and expand nurses’ influence on the care continuum. States need to create incentives programs to entice more individuals to the profession, such as increased pay benefits and leave and sick days. Additionally, to reduce turnover, senior managers need to adapt better recruitment strategies, deal with institutional challenges, develop constant training and development, adopt transformative leadership, and have retention measures. Finally, healthcare providers must aim to meet nurses’ demands while offering optimal and safe patient care. A working environment that empowers and motivates nurses should be encouraged.

Evidence Matrix

Name                                                                                       Date

AuthorJournal Name/Years of PublicationResearch DesignSample SizeOutcome Variable MeasuredQuality (A,B,C)Results/Author’s Suggested Conclusion
Waltz, Muñoz, Weber Johnson, & Rodriguez  Implications Of The Rapid Growth Of The Nurse Practitioner Workforce In The US (2019)  Exploratory-descriptive qualitative approach33To examine job satisfaction and workplace engagement of millennial nursesAPositive professional relationships, peer groups,  sustains nurses through challenging times
Bordignon and MonteiroPredictors of Nursing Workers’ intention to leave the work unit, health institution, and profession (2019)Cross-sectional study with a quantitative  approach267Intention to leave the work unit and professionADeveloping a working environment that promotes satisfaction and eradicates violence to reduce workers turnover 
Auerbach, Buerhaus & Staiger,Implications Of The Rapid Growth Of The Nurse Practitioner Workforce In The US (2020)Systematic review11,922Demographic, employment, and earnings characteristics of NPs and the implications of those changesBThe pronounced growth in the number of NPS has reduced the size of the registered nurse (RN) workforce
Gan2020Systematic review15How technology will prevent baby boomers and millennial nurses high turnoverATechnological advancements have reinforced the viability of telehealth and telementoring as alternative work arrangements that extend career options for Baby-Boomer nurses


Bordignon, M., & Monteiro, M. I. (2019). Predictors of nursing workers’ intention to leave the work unit, health institution, and profession. Revista latino-americana de enfermagem27.

Wei, H., Sewell, K. A., Woody, G., & Rose, M. A. (2018). The state of the science of nurse work environments in the United States: A systematic review. International Journal of Nursing Sciences5(3), 287-300.

Auerbach, D. I., Buerhaus, P. I., & Staiger, D. O. (2020). Implications Of The Rapid Growth Of The Nurse Practitioner Workforce In The US: An examination of recent changes in demographic, employment, and earnings characteristics of nurse practitioners and the implications of those changes. Health Affairs39(2), 273-279.

Waltz, L. A., Muñoz, L., Weber Johnson, H., & Rodriguez, T. (2020). Exploring job satisfaction and workplace engagement in millennial nurses. Journal of nursing management28(3), 673-681.

Gan, I. (2020). A scoping review of the nursing workforce’s changing demography: Supporting Baby‐Boomer nurses. Journal of Nursing Management28(7), 1473-1480.

Buerhaus, P. I., Skinner, L. E., Auerbach, D. I., & Staiger, D. O. (2018). Four challenges facing the nursing workforce in the United States. Journal of Nursing Regulation8(2), 40-46.

Marć, M., Bartosiewicz, A., Burzyńska, J., Chmiel, Z., & Januszewicz, P. (2019). A nursing shortage–a prospect of global and local policies. International nursing review66(1), 9-16.