Changes in the Clinical Environment
While medical facilities are spending millions of dollars on new equipment, from computerized MRI machines to innovative laser technologies, the clinical environment is hampered by a lack of sufficient qualified personnel. There is a general consensus that we now face a serious shortage of qualified and well-trained nurses. As there tends to be more specialization within medical facilities, the nurses that have been only trained for general medical procedures find themselves at a loss. And the ones to potentially suffer are the patients requiring special care.
Critics of the current clinical environment see three problem areas “The first is a shortage of staff, both nursing and medical. The second concerns the extended education and training of NPs for their new role, while the third concerns the place of NPs in the system” (“Integrating” 2004 para.2. It is the shortage of staff that may well be the most serious situation in the clinical environment as the baby boomer generation ages and may well require more care than is presently available.
One contributor to the shortage of trained and qualified nurses lies in a dearth of nurse educational facilities. One such statistic: “In a statement released in March 2008, The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, an independent group of health care leaders based at the University of Pennsylvania, has determined that 30,000 additional nurses should be graduated annually to meet the nation's healthcare needs, an expansion of 30% over the current number of annual nurse graduates” (“Nursing Shortage” 2008 para. 4).
What is behind this nursing shortage, especially in the U.S. It does not necessarily seem to be focused on pay. One reason seems to be that there are more career opportunities for women who have always comprised the great majority of nurses. Nursing schools have not really tried to enroll men. “Men comprise only about 6% of working U.S. nurses. At the...