The nurse practitioner position is the number one best healthcare job in 2023 for several reasons. There have been nursing shortages in the U.S. before, but this one is different in many ways. I have already seen nursing shortages, first in the late 1980s and again at the beginning of this decade. Experts say the current nursing shortage is culminating in the largest deficit of hospital nurses at a time when the demand for their services is needed most. Baby Boomers are aging and need care; we are still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, which took its toll on the nursing field; and there are fewer high school students coming through the ranks to take the empty spots in nursing schools. So how do we address such a major societal challenge?

As the president of a university that offers programs for healthcare professionals, I see this challenge from a unique vantage point. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where my university is located, also happens to be ranked number one as the best place to retire on this year's U.S. News & World Report list due to high scores on the quality and proximity of health care for seniors. With new state-of-the-art hospitals in the county and a focus on healthcare, the need for nurses in our area is more dire than ever before, and I know Lancaster is not unique.

In the past, the solutions to increase the number of nurses included higher wages, better benefits (including changes in scheduling) and overseas recruitment. However, I believe this nursing shortage is different and will require innovative solutions.

A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine gave a variety of recommendations to help combat the nursing shortage. Two of these recommendations suggested that educational programs in nursing should:

  • "...initiate the implementation of structures, systems, and evidence-based interventions to promote nurses’ health and well-being, especially as they take on new roles to advance health equity."
  • "...ensure that nurses are prepared to address social determinants of health and achieve health equity."

To address these recommendations, universities need to enhance existing programs and create new programs. There are a few areas of interest in particular that university leaders can explore for themselves.

Read the full article about nursing shortages by Daniel A Wubah at Forbes.