US Faces Nursing Shortage Crisis

( – Patty Knecht is a Ph.D. and registered nurse urging national lawmakers to wake up and smell the urgent demand for more nurses in the medical profession. In a recent op-ed for The Hill, she points out that there are “alarm bells” going off across the nation as we face a severe shortage of nurses in the profession.

Some have estimated that there is a rather large gap between nurses available and nursing positions offered. Depending on what data you use, the gap is anywhere from 200,00 to 450,000 missing nurses. In order to meet the demand, experts have said we need to double the number of nurses entering the profession for the next three years just to meet the growing demand.

Further complicating the problem is the impact of the pandemic and 2020 shutdowns which led to burnout and morale problems in the medical field, especially among nurses. Estimates suggest around 100,000 nurses left the field entirely between 2020 and 2022.

Retirements as well as many nurses reportedly expecting to leave the field by the end of 2027 have further exacerbated the crisis.

Knecht argued that the $100 million investment by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was a good step in the right direction, but that more efforts were required.

She suggested policymakers need to take multiple factors into account when crafting solutions. These included the academic rigor required of nursing students, many of whom drop out of programs due to the challenge. She suggested hiring more faculty to expand access to training programs. She advised deploying new technologies that aid engagement and encourage good clinical skill development. She also wants to see more investment in programs that support people working to become nurses.

She pointed to some legislative efforts like the Senate HELP Committee, as well as the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees Act, and the National Nursing Shortage Task Force Act of 2023 as productive, but insufficient to solve the crisis.

Warning that the perfect storm is already here, Knecht urged action before the next national health crisis rocks the country.

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