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Uncertainty: The anatomy of a nursing shortage


A Republican federal judge declared a key provision of President Obama’s healthcare law unconstitutional, ruling that the government cannot mandate that citizens purchase health insurance. “At its core,” U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson wrote, “this dispute is not simply about …crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate.”  He noted, “The outcome of this case has significant public policy implications, and the final word will undoubtedly reside with a higher court.”

However, the healthcare reform law has been upheld by other federal judges in Virginia and Michigan. Several other lawsuits have been dismissed and still others are pending in 20 states. The outcome of any lawsuit cannot be predicted in advance, so this ruling only adds to the uncertainty that healthcare institutions face–and adds to their inclination to put a freeze on hiring. It’s the main reason why nursing graduates aren’t finding jobs, even though demand is increasing. Consequently, nursing school enrollments are likely to go down. And when the law is implemented and the demand for nurses climbs sky high, there won’t be nearly enough nurses. Another nursing shortage in the making!

5 Comments. Leave new

  • I doubt their will be enough faculty to educate enough nurses to fill demand in the future. When nurses leave nursing, they rarely return…and many of the nurses practicing today are near retirment age…

  • Unemployed nurse, especially new graduates, may not be terribly employable in nursing. If the new nurse gets a job outside of nursing(unless its just flipping burgers), history tells us she/he is unlikely to enter nursing.

  • According to Dr. Peter Buerhaus’ recent study, new graduate nurses are applying for nursing jobs and being rejected by the thousands, not because they are unwilling or incapable, but because eomplyers aren’t hiring! This has always meant that guidance couselors steer students away from nursing programs – which inevitablly leads to future shortages – & especially so since Health Insurance Reform will lead to huge increases in demand in 2014!

  • We are now having the discussion that should have occurred prior to the vote on the Healthcare Reform Act. Too bad it has to be stimulated by Federal judges’ opinions rather than the questions and concerns of the people who will be affected by it.
    Re:a shortage- I doubt we will have one any more than we continue to have in such less glitzy areas of practice as med-surg and long-term care.

  • I disagree. There are record numbers of applications for nursing schools and new nursing schools opening yearly. There will be a large pool of licensed unemployed nurses waiting to return to nursing when the demand increases.


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