Savannah Sharp

As the article mentions, there have been many times throughout history that have shown the great nursing shortages that we have been faced with in times of need. The article proposes three solutions, (1) remove all barriers to nursing practice, (2) utilize senior nursing students, and (3) create a national nursing reserve corps. The first two solutions I have heard mentioned many times before in an effort to do away with nursing shortages. During COVID-19, legislative officials quickly realized the great shortage of APRN’s and the ability for nurse practitioners to be autonomous entities was finally passed! This was in the works for quite some time but had never gone far enough to be passed into law until the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the great need for more APRN’s to service the people. This is a great step forward for the nursing profession! But, why did it take this long? Why did it take a national pandemic for legislative officials to break down this barrier to nursing practice?

The second solution of offering the services of senior nursing students is also interesting. In fact, I graduated nursing school in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic so I remember getting emails about working as a RN under a conditional license before taking my boards. I graduated in June of 2020 and I was not able to sit for my boards until September of 2020. That was 2 months that I could have been offering much needed help in the hospital setting but was unable to do so since I did not take my boards yet. Although I think this is a good idea to some extent, I also feel like it may not offer the safest care to patients since new nurses need training at the very beginning. I do however think that there are CNA duties that new nursing students could help out with, freeing up the nurse to focus on their sickest patients and less on administrative duties.

The idea that peaked my interest in this article was the formation of a national nursing reserve corps! I think that is a great idea and that would significantly help lessen nursing shortages that are inevitable in the future. But I couldn’t help but wonder if there are even enough trained nurses to make up a decent size reserve corps? During COVID-19, all nurses that were able to work were working. The only other people to pull from for help included nursing students and retired nurses. Would that still have been enough to alleviate the shortage? Strengthening and growing the nursing profession should be the focus in order to have an ample amount of trained nurses for situations like these. I enjoyed reading this article and participating in this discussion. It was very thought provoking. Thank you for reading!