Covid-19 burnout and understaffed hospital wards have taken their toll on the nursing profession. An April 2023 study found that overworked nursing professionals and understaffing have driven “an overall 3.3% decline in the U.S. nursing workforce during the past 2 years.”
While some argue that the term shortage is not appropriate because the number of registered nurses has grown, the number of unfilled nursing positions in critical facilities such as hospitals is also growing. The insufficient numbers of nurses working in essential healthcare functions undermine the arguments that the shortage is not real. As a 2022 McKinsey study estimates “the United States may have a gap of between 200,000 to 450,000 nurses available for direct patient care [in 2025], equating to a 10 to 20 percent gap.”
The threat of such shortages threatens the quality of healthcare patients will receive.