4 Biggest Issues the Nursing Industry Faces

The world’s population is aging, and people are living longer. But the problem is a lot more concerning than most people recognize. Older people are slated to outnumber children for the first time in history here soon. It is these older generations that have increased the demand for quality nursing.

The nursing industry in the US is slated to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026.

An additional 430,000 people will need to enter the field in the US alone to offer the healthcare that is needed. Issues that nurses face will also increase in number, and these issues include:

1. Staffing Shortages

Staffing will remain an issue, and it’s an issue that continues to plague many hospitals and nursing homes. There are not enough nurses to fill all positions, and the demand for nurses means people are leaving their positions for higher-paying jobs.

Nurse shortages at the University of Chicago Medical Center have led to protests.

Long hours and more responsibilities are an issue. If nurses do not enter the field at a fast enough pace, staffing shortages will continue to increase.

2. Errors Will Increase

Higher workloads, lack of staff and more beds filled increases the risk of nursing errors such as medication mistakes, patient falls, infections, charting errors, and equipment injuries.

According to Tsion Chudnovsky, a prominent nursing license lawyer, “higher workloads and nursing errors also lead to more nurse license complaints, investigations, accusations, and disciplinary actions that further add to the pressure overworked nurses can feel.”

California Board of Registered Nursing statistics show that nurse license complaints surged 23% from 7,389 in 2016 to 9,082 in 2017. Hospitals will have to work with insurers, or nurses will have to take it upon themselves, to fight against license complaints.

Errors can and do happen, but insurance can help lighten the burden.

There has already been a rise in hospitals being sued. Medical errors are so high that they account for 10% of all US deaths. Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the country. As more people enter the hospital or nursing home, these statistics are likely to rise.

3. Compensation Disparity

Nurses will need to demand higher wages. Every region or city has different pay, but the wage gaps that exists need to be addressed.

There are wage gaps between males and females, and there’s also a gap between region.

Nurses in East South-Central regions earn $4,300 less than average while nurses in the Pacific earn $18,000 more than average. Males, even though they’re in the minority in the field, earn $5,000 more than their female counterparts.

Pay gaps exist, and if the field hopes to retain talent, the pay gap will need to close among gender and region.

4. Workplace Violence Rising

Workplace violence is rising, and the nursing industry has a lot more workplace safety issues than other industries. Serious workplace violence is four times greater in healthcare than in private industry.

Nurses are subject to biting, kicks, scratching, punches and other injuries. Patient harassment is also a very real threat with 71% of nurses reporting that they have been harassed by a patient.

Some nurses have also been stalked by their patients.

Protection for nurses will need to increase to lower injuries and accidents for nurses.

Nursing is a field that has a high demand, good pay and a lot of overtime, but the industry does have its issues. Hospitals, doctors, urgent care centers and any business that employ nurses will need to work on correcting the issues above to retain talent.

About the author

David van der Ende is a full-time blogger and part-time graphic design enthusiast. He loves to write about a broad range of topics, but his professional background in both legal and finance drives him to write on these two subjects most frequently.