About this effects of nursing shortage research paper: This is a sample APA research paper on impact of nursing shortage on hospitals.


The health care sector has become an important industry in the contemporary society due to the strategic and critical role in provision of medical services across United States and other developed nations. The nursing community has been relied upon to ensure growth of a healthy population required to advance the economic, social and political strategies of a nation. The quality of health care services has been pegged on adequacy of nurses in various health facilities (Verschueren, Kips and Euwema, 2013). The shortage of nurses has been noted as the reason for poor quality of services including long queues in public health institutions and adverse patient outcomes. The relationship between this shortage, availability and quality of health care services has attracted more attention from various stakeholders. The academic and research communities have divulged more resources to determine impacts of nurse shortage in the health care industry.

Nursing homes have also been affected by the shortage of nursing in health sector leading to compromised and incomplete services offered to the elderly and other individuals in these homes. However, governments and other relevant stakeholders have yielded to the pressures from public and health care community to resolve the shortage. The increase in learning institutions providing courses in nursing as well as expanded budgets to state governments to recruit more nurses are some of the positive steps towards closing the huge patient nurse ratio. That notwithstanding, the nurse shortage in the community has been linked to recurring poor patient conditions resulting from lack of basic care need to stabilize the patients. However, the causes of this shortage may not be wholly in the public knowledge but the effects have been felt across all levels in the society
Importance and Significance in Contemporary
According to Cherry and Jacob (2016), nurses play a critical role in provision of basic health care services in the community. Huston (2013) points out that nurses are considered the first step in accessing any type of health care service as well as acquisition of important medical and healthcare information. This role has also been indicated to be among the fundamental functions of the nursing community. The period before the full growth and establishment of the healthcare services, the nurse roles were executed excellently. The even distribution of population ensured that there was better nurse patient ratio leading to quality health and medical care.
Similarly, in the major part of twentieth century, nurses become part of the major sectors in the economy comprising education, banking and insurance. Nurses received more attention from governments in terms of their compensation and working environment. Massive recruitment to meet the needs of the growing population was done during this period. The significance of nurses went beyond provision of basic health care to determination of the urgency and quality of services. Health care facilities with proper trained nurses showed improvement in the quality and excellence in all types of services and products provided. Until the end of twentieth century, nurses had realized their critical role in the health care industry leading numerous go slows and strikes calling for better salaries and flexible work schedules.

In the contemporary society, nurses bridge the gap between the public and medical community in relation to identification of suitable services and information for diversity of patients. The increased number of people requiring health and medical care has resulted in acute shortage of nurses especially in the urban areas. Eventually, the quality of health care services and patient outcomes has been affected due to the cropping up of illegal facilities that use incompetent and inexperienced nurses.

Another significance of nurses that has been affected by the shortage includes the services provided to nursing homes and other social institutions that house orphans, disabled and disadvantaged. Notably, nurses provide medical, health and social care in hospitals, nursing homes and other government and nongovernmental organizations dealing with the elderly and unfortunate. The importance of nurses in this front has been applauded by various groups and authorities due to the personal touch accompanied by the medical care (Gordon, Buchanan and Bretherton, 2012). The World Health Organization has indicated that the quality of health care services and outcomes has positively grown through a nurse workforce that provides the decisive link among the various stakeholders in health care provision.

Impacts in the Society
The effects of nurse shortage has been experienced directly by the patients through poor services, the governments, hospitals and all stakeholders that contribute to developments in the sector. The inadequacy of nurses and other resources in the health care industry has led to increased cases of negligence among patients. Hospitals that have huge admissions have registered high number of complaints from patients citing incomplete and poor service delivery. Such institutions may have adequate infrastructure and other requirements but shortage of nurse workforce leads to underutilization of these resources indicating ineffective service delivery. Similarly, Huston (2013) points out that health care facilities in rural areas are extremely marginalized due to concentration of available nurses in urban areas leading to overall  poor quality care. Organizations that have branches across the country have been more affected by the nurse shortage.

Nurse shortage has also resulted in increased cost of health care with more private and specialized facilities sprouting to meet the needs of specific groups on the society. Private medical institutions that have adequate nurse population have become more expensive for low and middle income earners. These groups have relied on affordable clinics and hospitals that are affected by nurse and facility shortage. Essentially, the population has been using more financial resources towards health care leaving little allocations to other important social and economic requirements. Additionally, the distribution of health services has also been low since nurses are considered agents in provision of services. The shortage of nurses indicates that health care services are concentrated in urban areas and other metropolitan regions that are adequately covered by private hospital networks.
Successful and Failed Approaches
The issue of nurse shortage has led to development of strategies and approaches to create harmony in the health care industry. While a section of experts in the sector have identified little advancements in closing the gap between nurse and patient ratio, governments and nongovernmental institutions have reported positive growth towards balancing distribution of health care staffing and resources. There has been an increased budget allocation to the health sector by federal and state governments as well grants and donations from non profits organizations. The success or failure of various initiatives to deal with nurse shortage has been blamed on entities responsible for execution of these approaches (Verschueren, Kips and Euwema, 2013).
The misappropriation of the huge budgets in government hospitals and clinics has adversely influenced efforts to increase nurse recruitment. The growth of public and private institutions supported by governments to increase graduates in the health care industry has yielded both successful and failed outcomes. The work conditions in most hospitals have not attracted high numbers of nurse trainees as expected leading to growth of private clinics that are run by inexperienced graduates. The long term implications have been on the quality of expected health care services and products. However, increased training on nursing and establishment of specialized schools has improved nurse patient ratio in private hospitals and selected public healthcare institutions.

The political institutions have also participated in finding solutions to nurse shortage and improvement of quality health care. Many bills related to training, recruitment and compensation of nurses have been developed and debated. Only 30 per cent of such laws have been passed and fully implemented (Cherry and Jacob, 2016). The political administration has also been blamed for the low government support in enacting important legislation that could change the nurse workforce and guarantee quality services. Notably, the pressure from society, individuals and private welfare organizations to resolve the nurse shortage has triggered renewed efforts by the government and other responsible stakeholders.
Nurse shortage and quality of services that determine the outcome of patient conditions has generated many concerns and debates across the health care industry and beyond. New discussions in this area are focused on the role of various stakeholders in improving the quality of patient outcomes through increased recruitment and deployment of qualified nurses. The importance of nurses in the society has been examined with the impacts of their shortage identified and discussed. Summarily, nurse shortage has negative effects to the society due to the increased need for medical and health services compared to reduced healthcare work force. The approaches identified to remedy the situation have produced mixed results with calls for governments and other stakeholders to get more involved in training, recruitment, allocation and appraisals of health work force.


Cherry, B. & Jacob, S. (2016). Contemporary nursing: issues, trends, & management. St. Louis: Elsevier Health Sciences
Gordon, S., Buchanan, J. & Bretherton, T. (2012). Safety in numbers: nurse-to-patient ratios and the future of health care. Ithaca: Cornell University Press
Huston, C. (2013). Professional issues in nursing: challenges and opportunities. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Verschueren, M., Kips, J. & Euwema, M. (2013). “A review on leadership of head nurses and patient safety and quality of care”. Leading in Health Care Organizations: Improving Safety, Satisfaction and Financial Performance. Vol. 14, pp.3 – 34.