Report: Nurse shortage projected to worsen, but new strategies offer hope

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | June 21, 2024
Business Affairs
The nurse shortage in the U.S. is bad and it's likely to get worse. Those grim findings are based on responses from over 100 healthcare executives across leading hospital networks, 90% of whom believe the nurse shortage will intensify in the coming years.

Current projections show the U.S. facing a shortfall of 1 million nurses by 2030. This shortage is placing immense pressure on existing staff and raising concerns about the quality of patient care.

Only 32% of healthcare executives surveyed are satisfied with current patient-to-staff ratios, and 78% believe they lack sufficient nursing staff to handle a large-scale health crisis.

The numbers were compiled by San Francisco-based healthcare job site Incredible Health in its 2024 Healthcare Executive Report, which not only highlights challenges but also suggests paths to improvement. CEO and co-founder Iman Abuzeid noted, "The nurse shortage is not new, but the fact that healthcare executives are so focused on this issue and taking steps to improve is a cause for optimism."

Burnout and workplace violence
Burnout and workplace violence are primary contributors to the nursing shortage. The report reveals that 46% of nurses cite burnout as their main reason for leaving their jobs. Additionally, 66% of healthcare executives have observed an increase in verbal and physical assaults on nurses over the past year.

With healthcare workers five times more likely to experience workplace violence compared to other professions, executives are implementing measures such as zero-tolerance policies, enhanced security, and legislative support to address these issues.

Strategies for improvement
Many healthcare executives are taking proactive steps to better support nurses. Salary increases have proved effective, with 64% of executives stating that higher pay helps attract and retain nurses. Over the past year, 40% of executives have implemented salary increases.

Technological advancements also play a crucial role. More than half of the executives surveyed are exploring AI technologies to reduce nurse burnout by streamlining administrative tasks. Nearly half have already implemented AI for scheduling and administrative processes, and 53% are using AI to boost operational efficiency.

The full 2024 Healthcare Executive Report provides detailed insights into AI in healthcare, factors affecting the nursing supply, and strategies for retaining nursing staff.

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