The projected nursing shortage impact to the nursing profession and to the public could be very serious. The nursing profession is impacted because over 55% of nurses are of the retirement age and if we are already slated to have a shortage then it’ll be really tough to replace over half of the nurses that end up retiring. This also impacts the public because we care for the public and are a vital component in the type of care they receive. If there aren’t enough nurses to adequately care for them the quality of care could falter and the public image of nursing will be distrust and negative in general. Personally, I feel that I must make each one of my patients parents feel as though I have nothing but time for them and that all of their questions and concerns are addressed in a thorough manner. I don’t feel like the doctors have a whole lot of time to supply the kind of care that we do and if that component is lost then the whole spectrum of care the patient expects is broken.
The impact on the nursing profession related to the projected nursing shortage may be nurses working longer hours with larger patient workloads and possibly working with less qualified staff. This will most likely cause job dissatisfaction and burnout. Pay increases may help reward these nurses for their hard work but being an over worked and over stressed medical staff does not promote patient safety. These conditions can cause medication errors and other dangers to patients and staff. However, pay increases would attract more students to the health care field to pursue careers in all areas including faculty for teaching.
A significant association between high patient-to-nurse ratios and nurse burnout was associated with increased urinary tract and surgical site infections according to a study conducted in Pennsylvania hospitals. Researchers also found that by increasing a nurse’s patient load by one patient was associated with higher rates of infection. It was concluded that by reducing nurse burnout it can improve the wellbeing of nurses and the quality of care (Cimiotti, Aiken, Sloane, & Wu, 2012).