Nursing Shortage in Modern Healthcare System

The article by the Guardian discusses one of the major professional problems in healthcare, that being the shortage of workforce. The world is experiencing an acute shortage of nurses while there is the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the article, many nurses quit within three years of work because of “stress, lack of access to food and drink while at work, and the relentless demands of caring for patients” (“Growing numbers of NHS nurses quit,” 2020, para. 2). Then the author mentions that this problem is now beyond any control, and the situation cannot be considered sustainable. The coronavirus pandemic contributed to the development of the issue by creating more workload. Almost all departments, including first aid, intensive care, and diagnostic facilities, are in stressful circumstances. Due to such working conditions, many nurses suffer from burnout and quit, which increases the burden for those who decided to stay. This topic is extremely relevant because nurses are of the utmost importance for the normal functioning of the health care system. They make up more than half of all medical personnel and are at the forefront of the fight against any disease.

The issue of the nursing shortage was considered significant even before the pandemic. First of all, due to the downsized funding, several hospitals do not hire registered nurses. Therefore, the lack of qualified staff affected medical facilities in a negative way. The excessive amount of tasks and patients to care for nurses experience stress and exhaustion. As researchers state, “long shifts, low autonomy, mandatory overtime, and being forced to work weekends, nights, and holidays prompt many nurses to look for other jobs” (Huston, 2020, p. 81). However, in 2020 this matter has become extremely critical since the COVID-19 pandemic made hospitals overcrowded with sick patients. Nurses have been forced to work for several days, miss their night rest, as well as weekly rest and holidays. While it would be impossible to reduce the workload, it is evident that policymakers need to address this issue and implement measures to reduce the staff shortage.

For instance, funding for nursing education needs to be improved, as well as policies regarding employment for nurses after training. In addition, it would be beneficial to create more nursing leadership positions that could motivate staff for professional growth. Furthermore, there is no doubt that working conditions, as well as salary and nurses’ rights, need to be addressed as well. In order to succeed, it is vital to consider the fact that most of the world’s nurses are women. For this reason, it is necessary to take into account this gender aspect in the issue of staff motivation. For example, developing benefits for nurses with small children can help to reduce the overall stress and motivate more people to seek a job in this field.

Retaining existing nurses and attracting new staff to the industry requires funding their training and retraining. Moreover, it also includes creating jobs, improving working conditions, increasing wages, and strengthening nursing leadership in healthcare settings. In conclusion, it would appear that without a sufficient number of competent and loyal nurses, it is impossible to organize the normal work of health care. The significance of this profession cannot be overestimated, especially in the current days, since nurses play a vital role in recovering from the coronavirus, which is the biggest challenge of this year.


Growing numbers of NHS nurses quit within three years, study finds. (2020). The Guardian. Web.

Huston, C. J. (2020). Professional issues in nursing: Challenges and opportunities (5th ed.) Wolters Kluwer.