Nursing Shortage: What can be Done to Make a Difference?

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Why are nurses leaving nursing?

This initiative addresses the need to identify the problems and to establish alternatives to the nursing shortage. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of HealthCare Organizations has provided strategies and recommendations to help bring awareness to Hospital, Government, and Legislative leaders the need to resolve the nursing shortage.

This Initiative focuses on all areas that are affected by the nursing shortage. Health Care Organizations can be the front line to help the Joint Commission establish policies, procedures and standards of practice to reduce the numbers of the nursing shortage.

Although the nursing shortage is nationwide listed below are a few statistics for the state of Colorado. This information provided by the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence.

Colorado's Nursing Shortage

The nursing workforce shortage of today and the next two decades is driven by a much broader set of factors than previous shortages:

* A growing and aging population.

Colorado is the third fastest growing state in the nation and predictions are for a gain of 1.5 million people by 2020.

* Fewer workers. There are fewer younger people entering the workforce, which has already sparked a "war for talent." Just 9 percent of all registered nurses employed in the United States today are age 30 or under, a 41 percent drop in the past 15 years.

* An aging workforce. The physical demands of nursing generally prevent individuals from working in the profession past their mid-50s. With the average age of nurses in Colorado being 47 years, many will retire soon. Today 17 percent of Colorado nurses do not expect to be practicing in five years.

* A mismatch on diversity. The racial and ethnic makeup of the current nursing workforce does not reflect the increasing diversity of the state. Today more than 90 percent...