Nursing Shortage vs Oversupply: A Global Tale

An article was recently�published by�The Atlantic�magazine entitled "The U.S. Is Running Out of Nurses." It�deftly points out that although the U.S. has been facing a nursing shortage for years, it is destined to get worse as Americans are getting older (the Silver Tsunami as many have called it):

The aging workforce (also The Silver Tsunami) refers to the rise in the median age of the United States workforce, to levels unseen since the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. It is projected that by the year 2020, about 25% of the U.S. workforce will be composed of older workers (ages 55 and over). - Source: Wikipedia

The article went on to point out several "strategies" the U.S. is using to�varying degrees in battling�this shortage:

  • Address the bottleneck in nursing education by fixing the nurse-educator shortage.
  • Provide incentives for nurses to become nurse educators.
  • Enable new graduate nurses to get the training they need instead of shying away from hiring them
  • Create easier paths to achieve a nursing degree (despite the push to make a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing the educational minimum).
  • Fix the geographic mal-distribution of nurses (some locations of the country are not in short supply while other areas are desperate for nurses). Interestingly enough�shortage areas include California.
  • Provide lucrative financial incentives to nurses who work extra shifts. (limited in effectiveness by nurse burnout).
  • Investigate�national licensure standards for nurses to ease the maldistribution problem
  • And the list of solutions goes on with a few glaringly obvious solutions omitted (in my opinion)

After reading The Atlantic article, and I hope you do too, I couldn't help but think that all of these were great ideas and it will likely take all of them to address the U.S. nursing shortage. But more importantly I think they missed one highly effective�solution:��the international nurse.[caption id="attachment_338277" align="alignright" width="300"]

Manila, Philippines- Taft Avenue: The Philippines population is young and rapidly growing. At least 10% are working overseas in a variety of occupations including nursing.

Manila, Philippines- Taft Avenue: The Philippines population is young and rapidly growing. At least 10% are working overseas in a variety of occupations including nursing.[/caption]Our blog has covered before how the recruitment of international nurses males sense. When you consider that the Philippines is pretty much the polar opposite of the U.S in terms of nurse supply and population age demographics, it reinforces the idea that the U.S. also needs to think globally to solve the nursing shortage.The Philippines population recently broke through the 100 million barrier and is among the youngest populations on the planet.�Estimates on the number of Filipino nurses that are unemployed or underemployed range from at least 100,000 to 300,000. Voila! A seemingly endless supply of BSN-prepared nurses is eager to come help the USA, and if recruited responsibly, they will have no adverse impact on the nursing talent in their home country.The U.S. government knows that nursing is a shortage occupation. By it's own immigration regulations, nurses are a Schedule A occupation alongside the only other named Schedule A occupation of physical therapist. That means special allowances should make it easier for foreign-trained nurses to find their way to the USA. But it really isn't any easier with U.S. visa retrogression dampening, or at least delaying, the dreams of all those Filipinos who want a nursing career stateside. There is no special visa set-aside for RNs as the H-1C program, which was very limited in scope, expired in 2009.Maybe the U.S. needs to contemplate�the role of the international nurse a bit more when creating a list of solutions to the crisis.If your hospital is looking for a pipeline of experienced, reliable nurses, contact the team at PassportUSA today.

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PUBLISHED
May 22, 2020
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