Understanding the Nurse Shortage 4 Causes & Reasons to Know - MedCerts

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While healthcare workers have always been vitally important, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted them as the heroes they truly are. However, it has also raised awareness that there’s a national shortage of workers, especially nurses. Here are some reasons hospitals across America are overwhelmed and feel the nurse shortage's effects.

Growing Population of Aging Adults

The first reason for America’s nurse shortage is that the generation known as Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, is getting older and needs more health services. The U.S. Census Bureau states that by 2030, this entire generation will be 65 or older.

With age comes health problems or complications, so caring for this large generation of aging adults adds strain to an already overwhelmed healthcare system. However, with advances in healthcare and medicine, the baby boomer generation is predicted to live longer than generations past, extending the need for care for these individuals.


You’re probably already aware that nurses are overworked and pushed to physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. The nurse shortage makes current nurses work more with fewer resources, causing high rates of burnout. Before COVID, the ICU patient-to-nurse ratio was 1:1 or 2:1. Now, it’s 3:1 or 4:1.

As you know, nursing is stressful and demanding. The lack of support many nurses face, along with long shifts and a schedule that can be unpredictable, are just a couple of reasons why nurses are leaving to explore other career paths. Some choose to stay within the healthcare field, but others explore completely new fields that are less stressful.

Current Nurses are Retiring

Another reason for the nursing shortage in hospitals is the fact that many nurses are getting ready to retire. As mentioned, many people within the Baby Boomer generation are approaching retirement age. The current average age of a nurse in America is 50. You know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many nurses to retire early due to stress and burnout, along with those who would be retiring anyway.

Just as there is a nurse shortage, there is also a shortage of trainers and educators to get them prepared and trained to start working. This means you need to look for alternative methods of training.

Changes in Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has done a great job when it comes to expanding healthcare access. Thanks to this reform, the number of Americans with access to quality care has increased. However, this means that more people than ever are getting care, causing the demand for nurses and healthcare workers to surge.

Partnering and Staffing Solutions with MedCerts

An easy way to start filling vacancies is by partnering with a training school, like MedCerts, to upskill current employees or fill entry level positions to offset the workload of your nurses. You’ll have access to the best candidates and can choose from a pool of skilled workers that are ready to go. MedCerts also partners with employers to develop training programs tailored to your specific needs. This gives your current employees more versatility and can potentially prepare them for more responsibility or leadership positions further down the road.

MedCerts also has a Department of Labor approved apprenticeship program, which means you can train apprentices to fill the roles that you need while they gain invaluable skills along the way. Apprentices can build trusting relationships with staff that help them feel welcomed and a part of the team, creating a positive work environment.

MedCerts has several options to help you fill your staffing needs. Reach out today to learn which one is the best for you and your team.

Portrait of Rafael Castaneda
Vice President of Workforce Development

With more than 20 years in the postsecondary arena, Rafael has focused on workforce strategies that build programmatic pathways for unemployed and underemployed students from underserved populations.

Before joining MedCerts, Rafael was the chief academic officer and dean of education at CBD College, a private two-year allied health college in Los Angeles. He also served as a strategy and innovation leader for Jobs for the Future (JFF) crafting connections between postsecondary actors and thought leaders. He is a member of the advisory board of the University of California, Irvine’s Customer Experience Program. Rafael has worked with over 2K schools and 1K workforce organizations & employers on solutions.

He strongly believes the three-legged stool of workforce success are schools, businesses, and community organizations but they need a catalyst and that is where MedCerts comes in – as the driver of the solutions to supplement and complement the three.

A passionate believer in education as a great equalizer, Rafael joined MedCerts because the organization provides the opportunity to actively participate in bridging the digital divide and skills gap for unserved populations of students. This extremely rewarding and tangible championing of education-based initiatives alongside serving all demographics students provides a rare opportunity to not just speak, but do.

Rafael is a husband to a brilliant and talented wife, father to two ambitious daughters, and an active member of his community. You will find him at a spin class most weekday mornings and doing outside activities with his family and their French bulldog, Penny, on the weekends. He has lived and worked in all time zones and in nine states over the past 12 years. Connect with Rafael on LinkedIn.

Published on November 14, 2022


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