Shortage of Nurses in the US
Although there is a global shortage of nurses, the U.S. case is peculiar. This is because as Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart and Wright (2012) write, almost a third of the U.S nursing workforce is composed of citizens from other countries. The U.S. government does so because it saves on salaries costs by paying the expatriates meager amounts. However, this is a short-term solution to a likely long-term problem. Due to low wages, the Americans themselves have been discouraged from taking up nursing careers thus a looming shortage. However, ‘pay is not the only issue. Difficult working conditions and under-staffing also deter qualified people from pursuing the profession’. However, some authorities cite that the American shortage is too severe to be resolved by money. It appears that there should be an ideological change and also a change in the way America packages the profession.
3 Human Resource Trends
By analyzing the above case, there are at least three human resource trends that may have contributed to the shortage of nurses.
- The first trend or practice that leads to shortage of nurses globally is the increasing needs on the part of employers, government and private sector, to deliver quality service of patients but at a lower cost. This may have discouraged persons from taking up courses in nursing.
- Secondly, the last few decades have seen radical changes in the healthcare delivery system which has led to the frustration of nurses. This frustration has led to increased industrial actions, decreased commitment to organizational performance and lowered morale.
- According to Chan et al., the third trend that could have contributed to nurses’ shortage is changes in the expectations of nurses. Since they expect high pay amid challenging economic times, they choose to do other forms of work.
There are a myriad of human resource trends and practices that could be used to recruit and retain nurses. In most cases, these practices lie in the leadership styles that human resource managers use in dealing with the nurses. It is also important to align the practices with the causes of the shortage of nurses. In recruitment of the nurses, the management of hospital must make the exercise a strategic objective. This way, nurses will be able to offer their expertise in hospitals where their long-term career development is assured. In recruiting nurses, human resource managers must also be ready to offer good packages or salaries for the nurses. After recruiting the nurses, human resource managers must always must attend to the workforce needs systematically. Above all, they should offer reasonable employment benefits for the nurses.
As a human resources manager, I would employ various skills in recruiting and retaining nurses. Firstly, with regard to recruiting, I would consider hiring nurses from developing countries. To retain the recruited nurses, I would use transformational leadership as opposed to transactional leadership in engaging the nurses. Transformational leadership is preferred in retaining nurses because it makes managers to motivate nurses, interact with them and be concerned about their welfare. I would introduce a program of recognition of the efforts of nurses. This would include, for instance, ‘the employee of the year award’ among others. I would also introduce programs of continuous training, certification, pay rise, work-family balance and nurses’ involvement in decision-making processes of the hospital.