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     As a frustrated family member and as a nursing student, I know that, unfortunately, this scenario is not an isolated one; instead, it is one commonly seen in hospitals throughout America, and one the government forecasts will worsen over the next decade. Despite being called the 'nursing shortage', there is no shortage of nurses in America; there is general disregard for adequate hospital staffing. Did you know that, in 49 out of 50 states, there is no limitation set for how many patients hospital nurses can take care of at one time?  This needs to be addressed immediately by state and federal leaders in order to retain experienced nurses and decrease the number of qualified nurses leaving the workforce.

        If people like my grandma and I wish to receive better nursing care, legislators must enact laws to ensure hospitals provide safe, prosperous and long-term job opportunities for nurses. Hospital administrators must put the health of the patients and nurses ahead of their profits.

        With the development of the Affordable Care Act and an aging population, the demand for patient care is rising. More people can afford care, which means that more people are seeking care. According to a report conducted by Georgetown University, the US is facing a deficit of 193,000 nurses. Hiring more nurses may seem like the logical solution. However, the shortage of experienced nurses stems from broader social and occupational issues. This needs to be addressed immediately by state and government leaders in order to retain experienced nurses and decrease the number of qualified nurses leaving the workforce.

        As America expands the number of people with health insurance, we need to expand our capacity to deliver healthcare to people without compromising patient safety or quality of life for working nurses. As a nation, our country has struggled with the nursing shortage in recent years, not merely because of a supply-demand problem but because hospital administrators are failing to allocate their financial resources properly to ensure a safe, healthy working environment for nurses and have constantly cut corners to increase the profit.

The demand for nursing care far exceeds the number of nurses available to render that care. One-third of our experienced baby boomer nurses will reach retirement age in the next decade.  Experienced hospital nurses are reaching retirement age and concluding their careers in droves, all the while

 Others are deciding to retire early or change careers. Whatever the reason, a supply gap for experienced nurses exists. Unfortunately, this supply gap is occurring as baby boomers in general are aging and thus requiring more medical care. There are simply not enough experienced nurses employed on the floor at hospitals to fill the void, and my grandmother is only one of many who are likely to suffer the consequences of this fixable problem.

        Understaffed hospital floors are like streets with drunk drivers. Sometimes everyone gets away fine, but every time lives are put at risk. Hospital nurses who are working long, short-staffed shifts are overwhelmed as they toil to fill the gap. Caring for others is a great responsibility. Tired and overburdened nurses are more likely to make preventable medical errors and struggle to address the needs of many patients. Burned-out nurses are leaving the workforce, which only worsens an already significant nursing crisis. These occupational issues are to blame for the departure of 44% of active registered nurses from the nursing profession (Georgetown University). This is unacceptable! The need for patient safety should compel us to take better care of the nurses we have if we ever want to see the end of the nursing shortage.

        In order to increase nurse retention, we must increase the pay scales for hospital nurses. Hospital administrators should accept a pay cut from their comparably skyrocketing salaries so that the hospital's financial resources can be more fairly distributed. Nurses deserve better compensation, and salary increases may help to bolster job retention and job satisfaction. Employees are more likely to stay in jobs that provide them with a sense of fulfillment and financial security. Nationwide, nursing salaries have stayed relatively static over the years. Administrators should address the nursing shortage by taking care of the nurses they employ and offering competitive compensation packages that are routinely reviewed and adjusted 

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