Nursing Shortage: We must act!
Updated: Aug 2, 2020
On April 15th, V&V Management Solutions published the following blog written by our very own Nurse Consultant, Lisa Ghiloni.
By Lisa Ghiloni, PhD, MSN, RN
It’s a critical time for the health-care organizations. There has been a lot of talk about the nursing shortage prior to COVID-19. Given this shortage, it is now even more critical for health-care organizations to implement training program. Nursing school enrollment hasn’t been advancing fast enough to meet current health-care demands prior to the current crisis. How do we do this in a time where clinical rotations for nursing students have been placed on hold due to the widespread of COVID-19? Simply put, there are not enough nurses to fill the critical need that will impact our communities. Healthcare organizations can’t run without nurses. We have to now think outside of the box and implement training programs that use online technology such as virtual simulation, labs and reality to ensure continued production of nurses. Virtual spaces like iHuman, Shadow Health, Second Life, SafeMedicate, and Real Life are examples of products that can be used as alternative experiences.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Nurses Association identified six factors affecting the nursing shortage including: 1) economic recovery; 2) baby boomers; 3) Affordable Care Act; 4) employer changes; 5) market changes; 6) care coordination. These factors increase the demand for nurses. For example, two to three million baby boomers will age into Medicare every year for the next 30 years which will increase the demand for nurses. Today, the shortage has compounded exponentially as health-care workers across the country have fallen ill after being exposed to COVID-19.
According to the National Council State Board of Nursing (NCSBN) the national council licensure examination (NCLEX) test administrator is suspended until April 16, 2020 due to COVID-19. The NCLEX is used by state boards of nursing to determine if a nursing student graduate meets minimum competency to begin practicing as an entry-level nurse. New graduate nurses can’t get licensed until they have successfully passed this examination. Currently, the NCSBN is exploring alternative methods for administering the NCLEX to graduate nursing students. This is a time in which we have to use decisive action by shifting our mindset and utilizing technology to keep up with the nursing workforce .
Currently, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is working with nurse leaders across the country to bridge the gap and implementing technology and strategies to maintain excellence in nursing programs. Patient safety is always the priority. We can use alternative clinical experiences while maintaining student nurse competency.