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How can effective leadership influence the shortage of nurses?

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Over the last couple of years, one key issue that the healthcare industry has had to deal with is the shortage of nurses. This shortage cuts through all nursing professionals, from nurse midwives and operating room nurses to nurse administrators and educators. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that for every year over the decade, there will be at least 200,000 registered nurse openings.

The nursing field still remains one of the top professions with a great deal of potential. The question then is, how can the shortage of nurses be handled? How far can effective leadership help in reducing the gap between the demand and supply of nurses? This article looks into the role that effective leadership plays in curbing the nursing shortage.

Causes of nursing shortage

The causes of nursing shortage are complex, and they vary across countries and regions. Some of the primary drivers of nursing shortage include the following. 

  • The retirement and exit of nurse professionals

The current average retirement age of nurses is around 50 years, and although this isn’t the official retirement age, there are a lot of reasons why nurses may choose to retire early. From the physical and mental demands of the profession to the emerging technologies today, nurses are beginning to find reasons to retire earlier.

  • The existing aging population of patients

Advances in medical science have increased life expectancy. This means that as people grow older, they will develop different health conditions and illnesses that nursing staff must handle.

  • Nursing burnout and inadequate workplace support

Nursing can be a highly stressful profession, which can lead to burnout and a desire to leave the profession. Some nurses may feel unsupported by their colleagues or management, which can lead to dissatisfaction and a desire to leave the profession.

In all of these reasons, we can see why there are fewer nurses in the workforce today than are required. However, in a bid to find a solution, what role does effective leadership play in curtailing the nursing shortage?

The benefits of effective leadership in nursing retention

Effective leadership is an essential factor in finding a balance between the demand and supply of nurses. When nurse leaders and administrators are properly equipped with the skills and know-how to handle their unique organizational needs, they will have a significant level of influence on nurse retention.

They will understand how to encourage open conversations with their team and find the best ways to address existing leadership techniques. An effective nurse leader knows that nurses require the best level of care and management.

Indeed, it will take an educated nurse leader to manage the issue of nursing shortage properly. Proper education will equip nurse leaders with the requisite skills in the long term. These kinds of skills can be developed with the help of an online MSN in nursing education, such as the one offered by the University of Indianapolis.

Final thoughts

Nurse leadership plays such an important role in handling nursing shortages. Effective nurse leaders can meticulously work through strategies that will keep nursing staff satisfied, while ensuring that they can also meet the financial goals and turnover of their organizations.

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