Throughout history, advancements in healthcare have propelled humans prosperously forward, improving humanity’s overall health and wellbeing. Within the last century, healthcare advancements increased exponentially as technology ushers new procedures, better surgical techniques, tools for rapid diagnosis, and medicines to treat diseases. Nevertheless, medicine relies heavily on quality-trained healthcare providers. As healthcare progresses through the 21st century, serious concerns surround the nursing workforce. Current and forecasted shortages threaten stability in the healthcare systems around the world. In the U. S. according to data, in 2018, “55% of nurses working in the US are older than age 50; within the next 10 to 15 years, 1 million RNs will be eligible for retirement” ⁴. Furthermore, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the new graduate nurse attrition rate ranges from 30% up to 50%, 60,000 nurses leave the field each year, and turnover rates for one- and two-year nurses average 20–30% or more¹.
While many factors contribute to nursing shortages, the pressure on education has increased dramatically. Nurses must master skill-sets and concepts faster than ever before. As nursing turnover increases, the experience level at the bedside decreases, resulting in nurse training and competency declining over time². Looking forward, educators must adapt to the new challenges of preparing and training the nursing staff while supporting quality standards expected in modern medicine today. While educators alone are not the solution to the current and future staffing dilemmas, forward-thinking instructors will undoubtedly need to support the new nurses coming forth in more creative ways than before. The challenges truly befall the entire healthcare system. Undoubtedly, the nurse-to-patient ratios will increase, leading to further stress on an already taxed workforce. How will we meet these challenges? What will healthcare look like with a growing aging population? Will there be anyone to care for us?
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing…