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The United States is in the midst of a nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows. Juanita Tate, chair of the School of Nursing at Wichita State University, explains why the nursing shortage is likely to continue for a while.
Announcer: In the most basic sense, the current nursing shortage is simply a widespread and dangerous lack of skilled nurses who are needed to care for individual patients and the population as a whole. Juanita Tate, chair of the School of Nursing at Wichita State University, says there's more to the problem than merely aging baby boomers.
Tate: "Retention of nurses is another part of the bigger picture. As the shortage has intensified, those nurses who are working have to work harder, and many times under unattractive conditions. This may lead to early retirement, dropout, part-time work, and this only intensifies the vicious cycle."
Announcer: While many professions face a worker shortage, Tate says the shortage of nurses impacts society in a much more direct and personal way. She said if a loved one is sick in the hospital, or if you're sick and need a nurse, you need them now. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.
Sound bite #1
Tate looks at the scope of the nursing shortage. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "letting up."
Tate: "In the last decade, the shortage of registered nurses has appeared, it's grown, it's intensified, and into the foreseeable future it shows no sign of letting up."
Sound bite #2
Tate explains why we continue to have a nursing shortage. The sound bite is 25 seconds and the outcue is "requiring more nurses."
Tate: "We continue to have a nursing shortage as hospitals and other health-care institutions respond to the needs of aging baby boomers and, at the same time, nurses themselves are aging, and so they are retiring and leaving the work force. In the meantime, additional institutions have opened, more hospitals, and we have higher and more complex care requiring more nurses."
Sound bite #3
Tate says the nursing shortage isn't merely a numbers issue. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "carry out."
Tate: "This shortage of nurses is more than just a shortage in terms of numbers. It's also a shortage in terms of the appropriate educational level for the many functions that nurses have to carry out."
Sound bite #4
Tate says the public still misunderstands the role of nurses. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "their own license."
Tate: "The general public many times still misunderstands the role of the nurse. They think of them as someone who just is a technical worker, who functions under the orders of a physician or the hospital administration, and don't understand that they have their own practice and practice under their own license."
Sound bite #5
Tate addresses the issue of recruiting more nurses. The sound bite is 25 seconds and the outcue is "attractive option."
Tate: "One of the issues in recruiting individuals into nursing is that nurses have traditionally been women and women now have many other opportunities in law, medicine, business and those other careers. And so, they have gone in those areas and, at the same time, males continue to not find nursing an attractive option."
Sound bite #6
Tate says while many professions face a shortage of workers, the nursing shortage impacts society in a direct and personal way. The sound bite is 29 seconds and the outcue is "need them now."
Tate: "While many professions and work force groups are facing shortages because of the retirement of baby boomers and the demographics of our society, when you need a nurse, you need a nurse. And so, the shortage of nurses impacts society in a much more direct and personal way. If you have somebody sick in the hospital, or if you're sick, and you need a nurse, you need them now."