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Nursing Shortage and Nurse Turnover


Okechukwu Nneka



Grand Canyon University

Nursing Leadership and Management

NRS 451 VN



Sandra White



May 20, 2017


Nursing shortage and Nurse Turnover is a major problem affecting nurses in their duty. It has great impact such as, decrease job satisfaction, burn out, and poor quality of care due to increase work load. Nursing shortage and nurse turnover also has a direct negative impact in the performance and productivity of healthcare organizations. Shortage of Nurses is a huge problem affecting United States as well as the rest of the world. This essay presents the issue of Nursing Shortage and Nurse Turnover. It will mainly explain the way I expect Nurse Leaders and managers to deal with the problem using leadership theories, principles, roles and skills of leaders versus managers.

Nursing managers and leaders play a pivotal role in the safety and quality of nursing services rendered to patient in our health care facilities. The nurse managers and leaders looks to ensure that nursing personnel provides a professional, direct and individualize care while ensuring that the materials and manpower required are made available.

The act of managing and leading according to theories are different on the fact that managing is more of “care taking” ensuring that status quo is maintained and that is “transactional” in style and role, while leading is dynamic, visionary and “transformational”. This difference in roles is more of theoretical than in practicality. The roles of nurse manger and leaders are interwoven practically.

In tackling the problem of nursing shortage and nurse turnover, the nurse leaders and managers though their roles are interwoven, are likely to use different approaches in dealing with the problem.

The nurse manager should always apply the principle of management as it goes a long way in creating a good working relationship and improve productivity. The nurse manager and leader should utilize conceptual knowledge, technical and interpersonal skills in other to deal with nursing shortage and nurse turnover.

The nurse leaders and managers through good communication skills which is one of the principles of nursing management should be able to convey their expectations to the employed nurses, create good rapport and make the working environment less tensed this will make the nurses to be relaxed and free minded.

Through good communication skills, the nursing leaders and managers can know when a nurse is tensed, unhappy and know how to intervene. They should always create enough face time with leaders and managers so that the nurses can say their concerns, suggestions and ideas and implementing their suggestions and idea will give the nurses the impression that the managers have them at heart and that their say matters.

Nursing leaders and managers should conduct a survey to find out possible causes nursing shortage and nursing turnover as this will help them in planning a preventive programs and or policies that will retain their nurses.

Allowing scheduling flexibility is another approach i expect the nurse leaders and managers to take. Allowing flexibility when scheduling nurses will assist them in meeting up with their busy work schedule, home life and also avail them for educational opportunities. Keeping nurses happy in the area of scheduling will create more positive work atmosphere that is friendly and will help retain good and quality nurses.

Creating enabling environment that promote career development is another approach to preventing nursing shortage and nurse turnover. Allowing nurses to pursue and attain the peak of their career will make them feel satisfied and more likely to stay with the organization.

The nurse manager can introduce some incentives, awards and relocation bonuses or coverage for nurses that want to relocate as this will help attract nurses to the health institution and also retain the ones on ground. The nurse manager may introduce some monetary bonus for any nurse that decides to stay for 5 years, 10, 15 and above. This will make the nurse to work towards attaining those years so as to get the applicable bonus.

Nursing managers and leaders should always evaluate the effect of their leadership style as some nurses leave their workplace not because of the salary, environment or distance but due to the way the nurse manager treat or relate with the nurses.

Nurse leaders and managers that employ the transactional leadership style, give orders and expect the nurses to comply not minding their opinion. This type of leadership style makes nurses feel that their opinions are not valued. It also makes nurses passive and creates an atmosphere of fear and tension this will make nurses leave.

Evidence based research has shown that applying transformational leadership style enhances nurses’ job satisfaction, creates a positive work environment and reduces nurse turnover [Clark Henderson2002] . Transformational leaders are honest with their employee, they lead by example and they motivate workers to aspire for a higher hight. They are effective communicators encouraging creativity, innovation and advancement.

In the case of acute shortage of nurses, the nurse managers and leaders should ensure that patients are attended to in a professional and safe environment. The nurse managers are responsible for the daily running of the nursing department of the health care institutions and are seen as the glue that hold the hospital together (Rondeau, Williams and Wagar; 2009). The nurse leaders and manager should apply the following strategies while they work out how to deal with acute shortage: prioritize assignment by ensuring that nurses start with the most important assignment before the ones with medium priority. They should also improve on delegation skills and use unlicensed staff wisely. Also the nurse manager should create a team spirit that enables the nurses to be a team player. This involves the nurse working with his colleagues with the effort to give a quality nursing care. Being a team player, the nurses feel valued and are part of a great plan.


The approach that fits my style of leadership is the transformational leadership style. This style of leadership motivates a high level of performance. It ensures that there are little or no disruptions. With this approach, I will allow the nurses to be innovative, explore and work together. I will empower them by making individual leaders of various areas and project thereby given them a sense of belonging and helping them develop their leadership skills. I will use the principles of effective communication to bridge the gap between myself and the nurses and will always apply listening skills so as to create a good and enabling environment for optimal care and services delivering which will retain my nurses.





Buchan, J., Aiken (2008) Nursing shortages. Journal of clinical nursing 17 (24), 3262-3268.

Rosseter, R. (2012). Nursing shortage fact sheet. Retrieved from American Association of Colleges of Nursing website: http/www.aacn.nche.edu/mediarelations/fact-sheet/nursing-shortage.

Fieldman, H.R. (2003) The Nursing shortage: strategies for recruitment and retention in clinical practice and education, New York. Springer Pub.

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