The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated an already existing nursing shortage in California. The state is projected to have a shortfall of nearly 20,000 nurses by 2030 (Udod, MacPhee & Baxter, 2021). The pandemic has forced many nurses to retire early or leave the profession altogether due to the high-stress levels and risk of exposure to the virus. This has created a perfect storm for the nursing shortage crisis in California. Hospitals struggle to find enough staff to care for patients and are forced to cut back on services (McGarry, Grabowski, & Barnett, 2020). The nursing shortage is also causing a rise in the cost of medical care. The shortage is predicted to cause an average 7.5% increase in nursing care costs during the following ten years. This will significantly affect Californian families and businesses (Levere, Rowan & Wysocki, 2021). The state government must take action to address this issue before it becomes even more challenging to solve. This paper will discuss the nursing shortage in California and outline some solutions that the state government may be able to implement.
The nursing shortage in California is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed. The state is facing a critical shortage of registered nurses, projected to only worsen in the coming years (Udod, MacPhee & Baxter, 2021). This outcome is due to factors such as an ageing population, the retirement of experienced nurses, and a lack of nursing faculty. The nursing shortage profoundly impacts patient care in California (McGarry, Grabowski, & Barnett, 2020). Hospitals are struggling to staff their units, leading to longer wait times and increased stress on patients and their families. The shortage is also leading to decreased quality of care, as nurses are forced to work beyond the limits imposed by their licensing boards (Peer et al., 2020).
Covid-19 has significantly impacted the nursing profession, both in terms of the demand for nurses and the shortage of nurses (McGarry, Grabowski, & Barnett, 2020). The pandemic has resulted in an increased demand for nurses due to the increased number of patients requiring care and the need for nurses to care for patients with Covid-19 (Halcomb et al., 2020). Concurrently, the pandemic has resulted in a nursing shortage due to an increased number of nurses sickened by Covid- 19 (Sperling, 2021). This shortage is expected to last for several years, as many nurses exposed to Covid-19 are not likely to recover.
One reason for the shortage is that many nurses have left the profession because of work-related illnesses. In particular, respiratory illness has been common among nurses affected by Covid-19(McGarry, Grabowski, & Barnett, 2020). As a result, many hospitals have had to turn to other nurses to care for patients with Covid-19(Udod, MacPhee & Baxter, 2021). Hospitals have also had to turn to nurses not affected by the pandemic, such as nurse anaesthetists and nurse practitioners, to provide care for patients with Covid-19. In addition, many nurses who have been exposed to Covid-19 are not able to return to their former jobs (Kleinpell et al., 2021). This consequence is because many hospitals have instituted safety protocols requiring employees exposed to the virus to take steps, including wearing a mask and gloves, before they are allowed back into the workplace.
In addition, the shortage of nurses has resulted in reduced quality of patient care, as nurses cannot provide the same level of care that they would if there were a sufficient number of nurses available to work(Kleinpell et al., 2021). The nursing shortage is likely to continue, as many nurses who have been sickened by Covid-19 have not been able to return to work(Udod, MacPhee & Baxter, 2021). The National Federation of State Boards of Nursing estimated that there would be a nationwide shortage of more than 180,000 nurses by 2020 (Naidoo, 2020). This shortage had a significant impact on the quality of patient care, as nurses unable to provide high-quality care may be replaced by less qualified staff, which could result in severe injury or death to patients McGarry, Grabowski, & Barnett, 2020).
Following the underlying nursing problems in California, the state government should implement practical solutions to combat these issues (Harrington et al., 2020). One solution would be to provide financial incentives to nurses willing to work in California. This could include offering higher salaries, signing bonuses, and student loan repayment assistance (Main, Markow & Gould, 2018). The state could also create more nursing programs or make it easier for nurses to transfer from one state to another (Udod, MacPhee & Baxter, 2021). Additionally, the state could improve the nursing workforce by increasing the number of nurses graduating from high school and college and encouraging current nurses to stay in the profession (Noone et al., 2020). All of these measures would help to address California’s nursing shortage.
In conclusion, the nursing shortage in California is a complex problem that will require multiple solutions. Factors contributing to the shortage include an ageing population, an increase in chronic diseases, and a decreased number of nurses graduating from nursing programs. Efforts to address the shortage involve increasing the number of nursing graduates, developing new strategies for recruiting and retaining nurses and improving reimbursement rates for nurse practitioners and registered nurses. Nursing professionals in California will need to work together to find solutions that address the statewide shortage. The government, private industry, and the nursing community will all need to cooperate to ensure that the needs of patients are met.
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