21 Aug 2022


Workforce Challenges in Nursing

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 2108

Pages: 7

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The desire to establish an organization for pediatricians started to gain momentum in the 1980s. This era was primarily marred by an increasing rate of child mortality instigated by the evolution of deadly diseases. Based on this concept, there was a need to advance the quality of care provided to children and infants. However, this process required an organization that will be responsible for standardization of pediatric practices, sourcing of workforces and other ethical guidelines that are relevant in the nursing sector. Due to this concern, pediatricians, researchers, and educators organized a conference which led to the foundation of the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) in 1980. Despite having insufficient organizational structures, SPN gained its momentum in 1990 when the top leadership of the organization established an appropriate working framework that could steer the society in the right direction. In this period, the organization had already gathered about 3500 members. Since then, SPN has grown to become one of the leading societies in the US that is responsible for advancing the role of pediatric nurses in society. However, this organization is currently facing problems in its workforce. The available number of pediatricians is not enough to suit the ever-growing child healthcare needs. Therefore, the nursing workforce has declined because, the number of PNPs has remained constant for a long time, and the demand for child care services has increased.

Literature Review 

The decline in the nursing workforce has become a significant challenge for SPN. When there is a decrease in the number of nurses in the sector, the blame always goes to organizations like SPN. The concerns of a declining nursing workforce started to be highlighted in 2014 when the Pediatric Nursing Institute reported a decrease in the number of students taking the course ( Betz, 2017). Also, this concept was reiterated by SPN in 2016, when the society cited insufficient workforce as the main reason for the escalating demands in child healthcare ( Betz, 2017). Therefore, there is a need for the implementation of appropriate policies that will serve to end this predicament in society.

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In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that healthcare sector is likely to experience a workforce shortage of 12.9 million by 2035 ( Edmonson, McCarthy, Trent-Adams, McCain & Marshall, 2017). Today, the deficit in the nursing workforce is standing at 7.2 on the globe ( Edmonson et al., 2017) . Due to this challenge, WHO predicts for the increase in mortality rates, diseases and decline in the competence of nursing professionals ( Edmonson et al., 2017) . Whenever nurses are expected to handle much work at a limited time, they become fragile and stagnant to read the new trends in the sector. In doing so, the whole nursing practice sector is jeopardized since it will not be able to avert the threat posed by new infections. This is one of the challenges that has hampered SPN growth in society. Despite the standardization efforts put in place by SPN, its impact in the nursing profession is gradually becoming negligible. Therefore, both the government and SPN needs to enact policies that will steer the organization from this predicament. In analyzing this concept, it is also worth noting that global populations have increased in the past decades. As stipulated by WHO, a global population of about 8.5 billion is expected in 2030 ( Edmonson et al., 2017) . With this knowledge, it is evident that the decline in the nursing workforce is proving to be a global problem that needs fast and accurate mitigation measures.

In 2010, SPN indicated that the number of PNPs had remained unchanged for a long period ( Martyn, Martin, Gutknecht & Faleer, 2013). This challenge had been caused by a decrease in the number of professionals taking an interest in pediatrician and child healthcare careers. As researched by Martyn et al. (2013) , children only form a small portion of patients under the family nurse practitioner (FNP) division. With this statistical data, it is evident that there are no jobs in the child healthcare department. Who would risk pursuing a career where many candidates are competing for the few slots. This scenario explains better the stagnant number of FPNs in the nursing sector. Also, distribution of nurses has played a vital role in exacerbating the decline in the nursing workforce. As discussed by Martyn et al. (2013 ), there is a large number of pediatrician distribution discrepancies in most of the US states such as Nevada, California and New Mexico. It is through these discrepancies that about one million children in the US do not have access to a qualified pediatrician. If the pediatrician transfer laws are bureaucratic, it becomes difficult for nurses who are unemployed to get jobs in other states where their demand is high. With this knowledge, there is a need for SPN to draft laws that will serve to eradicate these discrepancies in society.

The increase in child related infections is another factor that highlights the decline in the nursing workforce. Recently, the largest portion of children has been reported to suffer from diabetes, asthma, depression, and anxiety ( Edmonson et al., 2017) . However, it is also worth noting that there is a considerable rise in the cases of new infections that were not present in the past. With this discovery, there is a need for the provision of quality care which is not currently available in the nursing sector. Through the limited number of pediatricians, the disease burden in the society is expected to rise beyond controllable levels. As mentioned by the WHO, Canada and the US currently constitute 10% of the world’s disease burden ( Edmonson et al., 2017) . Therefore, any further decline in the health workforce is likely to plunge the two states in a crisis. Based on this concept, it is evident that the workforce is a problem that is beyond the capabilities of SPN. This because this organization alone cannot increase the number of individuals taking nursing courses without support from the government. Despite being beyond SPN, there are some policy changes that this organization can enact to mitigate the problem.


In this research paper, the methodology section consisted of data collection part and review of credible academic articles that are relevant to the topic. In this regard, data was collected from secondary sources. This involved searching for peer-reviewed articles in all online search engines. “ Decline workforce in the nursing sector” was the main phrase used to search for all the articles used in the paper. However, only sources published between 2012 to 2019 were used to corroborate the claims made in the paper. The design of the research involved carrying out a qualitative analysis of the information covered in the respective articles. Despite the accuracy of quantitative research methods, qualitative techniques were favored due to their subjectivity. Since the secondary sources were utilized in the research, adopting a qualitative approach of analyzing articles was a better option.

Possible Solutions 

Through the information gleaned from the cited sources, it is evident that SPN alone cannot alleviate this problem. The decline in the nursing workforce is an issue that needs a close collaboration of SPN, the government and other organizations governing healthcare. Through this collaboration, appropriate policies can be enacted. Essentially, policy changes and support of nursing education are some of the recommendations that can be used to improve staffing in healthcare. Even though this process requires a collaborative approach, it is prudent for SPN and other institutions to exclusively accomplish their part.

This problem can also be mitigated through the institutionalization of transitional programs in education. For instance, a smooth progression from a nursing degree to masters will serve to enhance competence in the profession. The current bottlenecks regarding progression from one educational level to the next may have played a role in the decline of the nursing workforce ( Carnevale, Smith & Gulish, 2018). In accelerated transition programs, students can be allowed to engage in a continuous educational process where they ultimately graduate with a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). However, this process may require the federal government to make proper policy changes that will allow for the reduction of the time that students have to spend in school. In doing so, a large number of competent and young practitioners will be availed in the health sector which will serve to reduce the current deficit of nurses.

Also, SPN needs to coerce the government to initiate funding programs where nursing students can easily access fees for their education. With the current economic problems, affording a degree in nursing may prove to be a challenge for some students. Therefore, the creation of appropriate policies will help the less disadvantaged individuals in society with a chance to pursue higher education in nursing. For instance, current funding of national service health corps (NHSC) is an example of a policy that has helped to increase the number of PNPs in the nursing sector ( Schell et al., 2015). It is through the implementation of this strategy that SPN and the government can reduce cases of marginalization that have played a role in undermining individuals from pursuing a career in nursing.

SPN can also solve this problem by availing accurate and updated data on its websites. The decline in the number of individuals willing to pursue a career in nursing has been instigated by a lack of proper information regarding the trends in diseases and available opportunities. As indicated by Martyn et al. (2013) , most of the individuals always decide to pursue other career affiliations due to the current false information regarding job opportunities in FNP. With the increase in the demand for child care services, SPN needs to utilize this aspect to persuade students to pursue a course in nursing. Through this process, it will be easy to bridge the gap in its nursing workforce.


Based on the provided potential solutions, analyzing each one of them using a cost-benefit analysis will serve to help the company make proper decisions. In this technique of study, both the drawbacks and benefits are compared to arrive at the best conclusions that the organization can pursue. For the case of SPN, compelling the government to enact policies governing accelerated transition programs in nursing is one of the potential solutions that can be embraced. In this strategy, the healthcare sector may benefit from the high number of students graduating from the nursing institutions. Also, this solution helps to amend the staffing issues that are currently crippling the healthcare sector ( Rosseter, 2014). Despite all these benefits, reducing the time taken in a single educational qualification may result in the increase of incompetent nurses in healthcare. Since human life is a sensitive issue, this may not be a reasonable solution since it will plunge the whole healthcare sector into misery.

Also, SPN can alleviate this problem by posting credible and accurate data on its website. In doing so, the public can be sensitized on the new opportunities available in healthcare. Also, this strategy helps to improve SPN’s grip in the society. However, this process may attract a substantial capital which may not warrant the expected benefits. Nevertheless, this strategy may not have an impact on attracting individuals into healthcare since nursing is a calling. With this knowledge, this may not be a feasible solution since the costs outweigh the benefits.

Lastly, compelling the government to make policy changes that allow for the funding of nursing education is a feasible solution. When implementing this course of action, the majority of students from poor backgrounds will have a chance to pursue their education in nursing ( Martyn et al., 2013) . The increase in the number of students taking nursing courses will help to reduce the disease burden that is currently increasing in society. However, this solution may attract an increase in the tax rates. The numerous benefits associated with this policy warrants its adoption for a better future. Therefore, SPN needs to establish proper mechanisms that can be used effectively to compel the government release funds for nursing education scheme.


As indicated by the WHO, new disease infections are on the rise ( Edmonson et al., 2017) . This challenge has been exacerbated by a decline in the nursing workforce and an increase in global population. Since SPN is one of the leading organizations responsible for regulating the nursing practice, it needs to make policy adjustment that will help alleviate problems in the healthcare sector. The challenge of reduced nursing workforce cannot be mitigated singlehandedly by SPN ( van Oostveen, Mathijssen & Vermeulen, 2015) . However, this organization needs to create policies that will compel the government, and other nursing unions to increase the number of nurses in the sector. Introduction of accelerated transition programs, funding of nursing education and posting of accurate information to guide the public are some of the key possible solutions that can be embraced for a better future. Based on the cost-benefit analysis technique, the enactment of educational funding policies is one of the feasible solutions that can be adapted to reduce the currently declining number of nurses in healthcare.


In summary, the nursing workforce has declined because there is an increase in the demand for childcare services. This problem has been caused by the reduction in the number of individuals willing to pursue a career in nursing. However, it is worth noting that this situation jeopardizes the role of SPN in nursing practice. Since staffing in the nursing sector is a global issue, SPN alone cannot mitigate this challenge. Therefore, there is a need for SPN to coerce the government to make proper policy adjustments that will serve to reduce the workforce challenges that are currently crippling the nursing sector. Sponsoring marginalized individuals to pursue their nursing education is one of the strategies that can be embraced to counter the currently declining number of nurses in society.


Betz, C. L. (2017). Challenges facing pediatric nursing.  Journal of Pediatric Nursing: Nursing Care of Children and Families 32 , 1-2. 

Carnevale, A. P., Smith, N., & Gulish, A. (2018). Nursing: A Closer Look At Workforce Opportunities, Education And Wages.  American Journal Of Medical Research 5 (1), 29-66. 

Edmonson, C., McCarthy, C., Trent-Adams, S., McCain, C., & Marshall, J. (2017). Emerging global health issues: A nurse's role.  Online journal of issues in nursing 22 (1). 

Martyn, K. K., Martin, J., Gutknecht, S. M., & Faleer, H. E. (2013). The pediatric nurse practitioner workforce: Meeting the health care needs of children.  Journal of Pediatric Health Care 27 (5), 400-405. 

Rosseter, R. (2014). Nursing shortage.  AACN online newsletter

Schell, G. J., Lavieri, M. S., Li, X., Toriello, A., Martyn, K. K., & Freed, G. L. (2015). Strategic modeling of the pediatric nurse practitioner workforce.  Pediatrics 135 (2), 298-306. 

van Oostveen, C. J., Mathijssen, E., & Vermeulen, H. (2015). Nurse staffing issues are just the tip of the iceberg: A qualitative study about nurses’ perceptions of nurse staffing.  International journal of nursing studies 52 (8), 1300-1309. 

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