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Nurse Staffing Won’t Improve in the Near Future

Betsy AI Feb 16, 2023 2:29:00 PM
a nurse in blue scrubs holds the hand of a patient in a hospital bed.

Edited by: Rose Watson 

The medical staffing crisis is a growing problem in the healthcare industry and is expected to persist into the future. Despite efforts to alleviate the shortage, the issue continues to escalate, causing strain on hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. 2022 was a shocking year for healthcare organizations as several factors pushed labor costs higher and higher on top of record inflation.  

McKinsey & Company published a report in May of 2021 that 22% of nurses were considering leaving their positions in 2022. And in April of 2022, Health Affairs published a workforce analysis that showed that in 2021, the total population of RNs dropped by 100,000. Most of these losses were in younger cohorts of nurses, not older retirement-age nurses. Reports like these show that even if the greater economy reverted to its pre-pandemic status, the nursing crisis would still be raging. We must focus on what caused these exits to learn how to support the current population of working nurses.  

A key factor contributing to the shortage is the high burnout rate among healthcare workers. Long hours, intense work environments, and a lack of resources and support are taking a toll on medical staff, leading many to leave the industry. The burnout rate is especially high among nurses, who form the backbone of the healthcare system. And as stated in Bari Faye Dean’s article for Becker’s Hospital Review, burnt out nurses and clinicians are dangerous for patients. The labor force active today cannot continue to burn the candle at both ends.   

The shortage of medical staff is also due to a lack of investment in the healthcare industry. There is a shortage of resources and funding to attract and train new medical professionals, as well as to support and retain current staff. In many areas, the cost of living is rising along with general inflation, and many healthcare workers are struggling to make ends meet. This lack of investment is contributing to the staffing crisis and making it harder for facilities to recruit and retain the staff they need.  

The medical staffing crisis is a complex issue that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. The aging population, high burnout rate, and lack of investment in the healthcare industry are just a few of the many factors contributing to the shortage. It will take a concerted effort by government, healthcare organizations, and society as a whole to address this growing problem and ensure that everyone has access to quality medical care. Until then, the medical staffing crisis will continue to put a strain on healthcare facilities and patients alike.