Volume 23, Issue 3 (Autumn 2017)                   Back to this Issue | Back to browse issues page

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Hoseini-Esfidarjani S, Negarandeh R. A new view towards resolving the nursing shortage challenge . Hayat. 2017; 23 (3) :196-200
URL: http://hayat.tums.ac.ir/article-1-2023-en.html
1- Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2- Corresponding author: Professor, Dept. of Community Health Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran , rnegarandeh@tums.ac.ir
Abstract:   (2558 Views)
Nurses are a major part of the health system workforce. Also, this group of healthcare workers has an important role in providing direct care to the patients. Therefore, nurses are considered an important pillar in any health system (1). However, during recent years, the shortage of nursing staff and high rate of job leaving have become a serious concern in many countries (2). To properly and timely deal with this challenge, it is necessary to have accurate information about all its relative factors such as number, age status, years of service, employment of nursing graduates, the number of active beds, their geographical distribution and the prediction of the number of nursing graduates in the next years.
While some studies have recently emphasized the issue that Iran, similar to many other countries, is facing nursing staff shortage (3), no clear picture is available of the current and future needs for nursing workforce due to the poor infrastructures of health information system in our country. Nejatian has stated that “there is still no accurate statistics on the shortage of nursing staff and the required nursing workforce” (4). However, some health ministry officials have suggested that there is a shortage of 200 thousand nursing staff (5).
Currently, if we accept that the country is facing the challenge of nursing shortage, it will be necessary to comprehensively consider all the factors related to supply and demand. One of the efforts made in recent years was to increase the capacity of nursing schools and establish new nursing schools for training a higher number of nurses. But some believe that a number of graduated nurses are not interested in working in the nursing field (6). For example, according to a governmental report, in 2013, about 1.6 million licensed nurses in the United States did not work in nursing (7). Therefore, further workforce training will not necessarily resolve the shortage of staff and it is necessary to consider other important factors influencing the recruitment and retention of nursing workforce. Among these factors, job satisfaction has a great role in the nurses’ intention to leave their profession (8) or decrease their working hours (9). Occupational burnout, social support (10) and the salaries and bonuses system (11) are other important factors that should be considered for resolving the problem of nursing shortage.
Considering the current situation, if the current shortage is caused by the lack of interest in working in nursing field or leaving nursing career, as Florence Nightingale proved that caring for the injured soldiers is less costly for the British army than letting them die and recruiting new soldiers (12), increasing the capacity for training nurses is not a cost-effective approach for resolving the problem of nursing shortage.
Despite what was mentioned above, the policy makers’ main strategy is still to increase the number of graduated nurses. In this regard, there are various experiences about developing and implementing nursing education programs in the world that could be an appropriate choice for resolving the problem of nursing staff shortage. One of these programs is “Accelerated Nursing Program” which has been developed for the graduates of non-nursing bachelor’s degree to be trained as a nurse. The first Accelerated Nursing Programs was developed in the early 1970s which gradually grew over the next years (13). These accelerated programs are based on the previous experiences of the students and provide an opportunity for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in other disciplines to enter the field of nursing (14). Accelerated nursing programs would provide the fastest way for issuing a nursing license to non-nursing graduates and last from 12 to 18 months (15). These programs are intense with courses offered full-time and there is no break between the courses; the students would pass the same hours of clinical internship as their counterparts in traditional nursing programs. Nursing staff value to the graduates of accelerated nursing programs because they would bring a great amount of skill and education to the workplace; they claim that these graduates are more mature and have stronger clinical skills and also are quick in learning the necessities of the job (14). Results of the study by Ouellet showed that accelerated programs would train qualified nurses who could be successfully prepared for clinical activities (16). Results of a retrospective study by Raines revealed that most graduates of accelerated nursing programs were working in nursing field and a great percentage of them were either studying or a higher degree graduates in nursing (15). Studies on the evaluation of accelerated nursing programs revealed positive results and outcomes in implementing these programs (17, 18).
Iran has high rates of unemployment among university graduates in many fields (19). Considering this important issue and our country’s priority in creating employment for them, it seems that applying the accelerated nursing programs rather than untested programs such as nurse training plan using the capacity of hospital, which has no clear structure, process and results, can be appropriate for the current situation in the country. Therefore, in order to find an answer to this challenge, it is recommended that nursing shortage area should be determined and these programs be launched in those areas. In such a framework, the required nursing staff can be provided in a shorter duration of time and with less cost.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Case Report
Published: 2017/12/16 | ePublished: 2017/12/16

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