For decades, medical professionals and industry experts have warned of an extreme shortage of registered nurses nationwide. As the aging population grows and COVID-19 impacts still linger, nurses have become overwhelmed and many have opted for retirement – reducing the quality of care for patients. McKinsey estimates that, without any meaningful solution, the U.S. could face a shortage of up to 450,000 nurses by 2025, amounting to a potential 20 percent gap in demand and capacity. We must build a sustainable pipeline of nurses to avoid this, and Dr. Jonathan Ellen provides suggestions on how to do that.
As a pediatrician, epidemiologist, former CEO of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, and current CEO of Connections for Health, Dr. Ellen is nothing short of a healthcare expert. It’s with that background that Dr. Ellen weighs in on how to address the nursing shortage in RealClearHealth.
He writes that foreign-educated nurses are highly trained and well-qualified, presenting a win-win for the future of healthcare. Foreign-educated nurses have not only the opportunity to “learn from and advance their careers in the country with the world’s best health care,” but they can also “earn a great living, which may allow them to send money to their families at home.”
Additionally, “if they return to their home countries, they can employ what they’ve learned in America to foster better health outcomes for their patients and even instruct their colleagues in our techniques and standards of care.” Foreign-educated nurses also allow for improvement in work-life balance among nurses, which contributes to greater sustainability and productivity in the workplace.
Detecting illnesses, administering medicines and providing mental support only scratch the surface of the work that nurses do day-in and day-out. We must take steps to preserve our nursing workforce, and turning to foreign-educated nurses should be an essential part of that.