A top profession for growth, registered nursing positions are becoming harder than ever to fill. According to the federal government, until 2026, there are expected to be 200,000 registered nurse roles created each year. This is likely to add to a nationwide shortage of practising nurses as well as nurse educators. Moreover, when faculties cannot take on any more students due to a lack of instructors, the number of graduates per year is limited. That leaves the demand for nurses consistently higher than those available for work.
Many online and physical universities are dealing with the issue by creating accelerated nursing programs or ABSN. These allow people to graduate and move into the profession much faster than they would on a BSN course, though applicants must have already earned a bachelor’s degree. This is an excellent method of speeding up the training of new nurses, and as the problem has been brewing for around ten years, it’s vital to address it sooner rather than later.
Why is there are nursing shortage?
Shortages in the nursing profession are commonplace and have occurred regularly over the last century. What makes the current problem different is the extent of the problem and the difficulty in bridging the skills gap. Here’s a look at the four key contributing factors.
Nurses are retiring earlier or changing careers
.Many nurses leave the profession each year; this could be because they choose to change their career or have reached retirement age. Of course, this is not specific to nursing, and the same trends are apparent in many other professions. Nevertheless, coupled with other factors, it has a significant impact on the shortage. Furthermore, as medical work can be demanding and many nurses have been in the role for most of their working lives, early retirement is typical. When experienced nurses leave, their clinical knowledge and reasoning skills are also lost. This can leave medical facilities with the task of filling the vacant posts with less experienced nurses. They may need more support, and therefore a larger team with more nurses may be necessary.
We have an ageing population
Medical care is so advanced that it can keep us around for longer and ensure we still have an excellent quality of life. That is a wonderful thing, but it means there are more people to care for. A large section of the population is now over 65, and many older people have complex medical needs that need to be met. To provide the best possible care for their elderly patients, facilities are employing larger nursing teams.
There are more roles in the nursing profession
.Nurses were never restricted to working in hospital wards, and the number of roles that graduates can take on is constantly increasing. The list of positions is vast, from school nursing to occupational health, residential care, mental health, and paediatrics. As healthcare delivery continues and becomes more comprehensive, so does the need for people to take on the new roles being created. At the same time, the roles which have existed for years still have to be filled.
The capacity for training new nurses is limited
.At the same time, as graduates are being turned away, thousands of nursing positions are available in hospitals. A lack of nurse educators compounds the problem. There is no shortage of applicants, but pre-licensure nurse training facilities do not have enough spaces or tutors for all the students who wish to enrol. An increase in remote learning could partially alleviate the problem. The methods used to deliver online programs mean fewer tutors are required per course compared to campus-based universities. Therefore, many students can be enrolled with each intake and still receive an excellent quality education. However, for the moment, at least, the link between education and a lack of nursing graduates remains.
Does this shortage only affect the United States?
No, the problem is a global one and does not just impact healthcare provision in America. However, the causes of this shortage are the same in many countries around the globe.
Which types of nurses are needed?
Nurses who can work in all types of units and departments are needed throughout the US. There is a general demand for nurses in all specialisms, from adult to children’s nursing. Furthermore, a lack of faculty nurses means campuses cannot run as many training courses as they would like. In other words, all types of nurses and nurse educators are included in the shortage.
What is an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing?
The ABSN has been developed for people who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in a different field of study and want to become nurses. The course is condensed to take into account the years of undergraduate work they completed, and it can be finished in less than two years – hence the term ‘accelerated.’ Accelerated BSN programs are offered online at Wilkes University for anyone who wishes to become a nurse but would find it hard to attend a physical university. The academic standards are exceptionally high, and you can take advantage of their clinical placement services to enrich your practical knowledge of nursing.
How accelerated nursing courses will help meet demand
As registered nurses remain in high demand across the US, second-degree ABSN courses can bring well-educated and qualified people into healthcare more quickly. Furthermore, fewer nurse educators are required to train larger numbers of students in the long term, as the courses are completed in a shorter time.
Employers appreciate mature applicants
Accelerated nursing programs are not an easy option compared to traditional routes into nursing, and students will leave with the same level of expertise. However, whichever route you take, the outcomes in terms of your future career are promising. Despite their shorter course times, accelerated graduates are just as attractive to employers because of their maturity and a potentially more comprehensive range of skills. From dealing with challenging situations to managing anxious people, older nurses are likely to have more experience of coping in these circumstances. This can make it easier for them to adapt and look for solutions independently.
Graduates have life skills and professional experience.
It’s a misconception that students who majored in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, often referred to as STEM, are the only ones who could consider taking an ABSN. Graduates from a diverse range of specialisms are drawn to a nursing degree and can enrol. So, whether you are from social science, business, or administrative background, the nursing community is open to you. Furthermore, your experience at work can be a tremendous asset to any medical facility. After years in another career, people who are moving to nurse are likely to be familiar with prioritizing their workload, communicating with colleagues at all levels, and managing workplace stress.
Newly trained nurses enter the workforce earlier
.Accelerated programs ensure that people who have decided to become nurses can graduate and take up a role very quickly. For example, it can take four years to complete a BSN and be ready for work on a traditional program, but the ABSN is designed to finish in half that time – or less. In addition, individuals who have completed the course will be ready to take the nursing board exam (NCLEX-RN). This is still an essential part of the process and is the final stage before becoming licensed. Once trainee nurses have passed their exam, they are a licensed registered nurse and can care for patients.
Accelerated courses focus on nursing
.As graduates already have a bachelor’s degree, ABSN course providers assume they have a high standard of general learning. This means they will exclusively focus on the skills and knowledge required to become a nurse when assigning coursework. Consequently, most students who enrol on an accelerated course will have graduated within a year or two and are ready to start work immediately.
Are you ready to enrol?
As well as keeping the health system in great shape, nurses who graduate from an accelerated course can also benefit as individuals. The investment they make to study will allow them to enjoy job security and increased earning potential as they progress through the ranks. By gaining more experience and taking additional courses, a nurse could be rewarded with an even higher pay packet. Nurses are by far the most numerous of America’s medical professionals and will always have a role to play in the future of healthcare.
A gratifying career
This is more than a job; it is a calling that allows you to improve the lives of your patients and how healthcare is delivered. As a graduate, you can progress towards one of many nursing specializations, taking on fresh challenges and regularly enjoying new opportunities. You could also enrol for an MSN and PhD qualifications if you’d like to become a nurse practitioner, administrator, or researcher. From advanced roles to day-to-day practical nursing, this is a diverse and exciting profession that’s ready to welcome newcomers.