Facts About Nursing Shortage

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According to the Canadian Nurses Association, Canada will be short almost 60,000 full-time equivalent RNs in 2022 if no policy interventions are implemented. If policies are indorsed to tackle the shortage, nurses will enjoy expanding roles and exciting career avenues with opportunities to work in the best health care settings of the country.

Moreover, shortages arose in health care throughout history; considering both supply and demand as factors, this shortage is occurring worldwide. Canada, Australia, Philippines, Africa, Western Europe and South America are facing significant shortages.

As per a 2010 report of the Canadian Institute for Health Information – “the number of working registered nurses (RNs) jumped by 9 percent, or 27,000, in the previous five years. The total nursing workforce is now more than 348,000. Unfortunately, the rate of RN growth is still lagging.”

Acuteness in health care facilities has been rising, because of the falling length of average stay of a patient and with the utilization of new technology for quicker health assessment, treatment and patient discharge. Hospitals are turning up in to large intensive care units with cardiac monitoring, respiratory assistance and intense treatment a growing part of the average patient’s plan of care. Thus, to aide in managing and handling such types of operations, skilled and specialized nurses are in great demand.

Health care centers, clinics and physician’s offices find it a demand and a supply shortage. Nurses with experience in specialties as well as in other arenas are in short supply. This shortfall is the result of a wide range of factors that include-

  • Earlier, many people put off getting health care because of financial hardships or due to the absence of health insurance. As time changed, people are now more aware and this eventually resulted in the increasing demand of nurses.

  • Slower pace of new nurse graduates stepping in to the industry is also a factor among the ones that causes shortage of patient care experts. As of now, the ratio of RNs in their 40s to RNs in their 20s is four to one.

It’s not just Canada facing the shortage of nurses; there are several other nations experiencing similar problems of unavailability of trained and experienced nursing professionals. The Toronto Star reported that – Ontario, Canada, expects to lose 14,000 of its 81,000 nurses due to retirement. Almost a third of Canada’s nurses are over age 50, and only 10 percent are under 30. The World Health Organization reported that 10 years ago Poland was graduating more than 10,000 new nurses annually. That figure has fallen to 3,000 and in Chile, out of 18,000 nurses in the country, only 8,000 are working in the field.

Whatsoever be the scenarios, one thing is clear – Nurses are in great demand – at present and in future too. According to the Government of Canada –”job prospects for nurses are good. Sources of employment will open up in coming years mainly through retirement of nurses, and to a lesser degree, from job creation.”


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