Economic Tools and Concepts
There are numerous economic tools and concepts that relate to the health care field. When discussing the current nursing shortage, and the nursing shortage that will continue through the future, scarcity, supply, and demand are just a few of the important concepts to address. According to Explorehealthcareers.org (2012), “The United States has a serious shortage of practicing nurses” and “demand for frontline workers is expected to increase 50% over the next five years.” This paper will explore scarcity, supply, and demand and how these relate to the current and future nursing shortage.
Scarcity exists when the infinite human wants outweighs the ...view middle of the document...
Another aspect that leads to the scarcity of nursing are the opportunities that are available to the nurses of today. Nurses today have a wide variety of nursing careers that can take them out of what is referred to as “hands on nursing.” This leads to scarcity because these opportunities mean that there are fewer nurses to care for patients. It does not mean there are necessarily less nurses overall, just less nurses to care for the increasing number of patients. Also leading to the scarcity of nurses is the number of those entering the health care arena. With the passing and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), not only is there an increase in the number of people insured, but it is also mandatory to obtain and maintain insurance. This increase in the number of people who will now be entering into the health care arena will place an added scarcity on the nursing profession because there will not be an adequate supply of nurses to meet the increased demand.
The demand for nurses has increased, and will continue to increase. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2002),
In 2000, the National supply of FTE registered nurses was estimated at 1.89 million
while the demand was estimated at 2 million, a shortage of 110,000 or 6 percent. Based
on what is known about trends in the supply of RNs and their anticipated demand, the
shortage is expected to grow relatively slowly until 2010, by which time it will have
reached 12 percent. At that point demand will begin to exceed supply at an accelerated
rate and by 2015 the shortage, a relatively modest 6 percent in the year 2000, will have
almost quadrupled to 20 percent. If not addressed, and if current trends continue, the
shortage is projected to grow to 29 percent by 2020” (National Supply and Demand Projections).
There are many factors that contribute to the growth in demand for nursing. Some factors include a projected 18% growth in the population, the aging population, and the advances in the medical technology used (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002). Having an increase in population without a corresponding increase in nursing workforce places more demand on an already scarce resource. The aging population living longer places a demand on the nursing shortage as well. This is because previously the life expectancy was shorter and therefore it could have been expected that those nurses caring for the...