RN Labor Shortage Affects the Nation and Nurses React to Comments

The nursing shortage has only been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, there is an even more dire need for registered nurses, so there are some attempts at getting more people into the field, at the same time that nurses are leaving the profession in droves. Read more about some remarks regarding becoming an RN and news about the current shortage of nurses and healthcare workers.

Nurses React to a Comment on the Today Show 

Many nurses across the nation who saw “On the Money: Breaking Down the Jobs Market,” explained by Stephanie Ruhle on the Today Show, reacted negatively to her explanation due to her comment that nursing falls into the category of “low-skill” jobs, along with careers such as teaching, truck driving, e-commerce, and customer service. In her Twitter responses, she tried to apologize but got a much worse reaction in subsequent comments, as her words can still be interpreted to mean that she sees nursing as a profession that doesn’t need much training. Stephanie Ruhle explained unemployment and areas where you could look for a new profession to find work quickly, given that those areas currently have a shortage. Still, in her explanation, she mentioned that new people could try these jobs to see if they like them since, according to Stephanie Ruhle, they are “low-skill” jobs that don’t need high training.

The truth of nursing is far from this: nursing is a profession that needs a high level of training and passion for helping others. To become a nurse’s aide, you need comprehensive training, enough clinical experience, and an exam to become licensed and work. 

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young brunette nurse smiles in hallway of hospital
Nurse smiles knowing the skills and training it takes to be a nurse.

Becoming an RN (registered nurse) with a BSN degree requires about four years of study and specialized clinical practice in different areas. A very high percentage of nurses continue to specialize and study once they finish their degree. Although there is a vast number of people willing to become nurses despite the long road ahead, motivated by the help they can give to the population of the places where they live and the service to others, it is increasingly happening that there is a generalized RN nursing shortage throughout the nation.

Labor Shortage in Nursing

Nursing is in crisis, as it is the workforce of hospitals and healthcare facilities, which, when going through major economic crises, decide to retain the minimum number of nurses, causing the few staff they have to work too much, get tired, get stressed, and in many occasions, quit. Contrary to these hospitals’ expectations of saving money, they end up with a nursing shortage that forces them to hire temporary nurses and travel nurses, which cost additional money but keep the hospital from losing the rest of its tired and overworked workforce.

In New York, about 7000 nurses are on strike; last year, 5000 nurses went on strike in Minnesota. The numbers speak for themselves. Nurses in unions can demand better working conditions, which in most cases have nothing to do with the pay they receive, but are due to the working conditions in which they find themselves. Many nurses quit the profession because they feel they cannot help patients as they should, and this intensifies the nursing shortage, even when they want to stay and care for their patients.

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The greatest danger of RN shortages is to the patients, who, when they do not have a safe nurse-patient ratio, have deficient patient safety, and their lives are at high risk. Patients need the careful attention of registered nurses, CNAs (certified nursing assistants), and LPNs (licensed practical nurses). The more severe the patient’s diagnosis, the more care they need to maintain safe health and life. Patients’ lives are at risk when nurses have no choice but to quit their jobs. Many nurses are exhausted by this situation, without many options to help their patients, recently exhausted by the global crisis of the covid-19 pandemic, and unable to deny care to those who need it most.

How to Find RNs

picture of two RNs working together on computer
Two RNs are together looking at information on computer.

Hospitals also spend considerable time, money, and resources finding skilled nursing staff. There are many options for finding RNs, but the most innovative and functional is using a healthcare app to find PRN (pro re nata) shifts. It’s a double benefit: nurses can search for positions that suit them, with shifts that suit them, at times that suit them. They can choose where to work and only work what they should. Another advantage is that they often earn more than they would with a regular contract since the hospital does not pay them social benefits but, in exchange, pays them more per hour. For hospitals, there are also many benefits of PRN nurses and CNAs. For example, they spend less money on hiring new nurses and save more overall with this type of contract. Both nurses and hospitals benefit from being able to constantly vary environments and practice different areas of nursing: hospitals have high-skilled nurses who can adapt to different environments with ease, and nurses have better skills, which benefits patients.

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Be that as it may, nursing is complex and deserves praise and dedication. All nurses in the country are going through challenging periods, but they are standing up for their patients and have Nursa’s full support.

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