Using a structured review of the literature to identify key factors associated with the current nursing shortage

J Prof Nurs. 2010 Sep-Oct;26(5):309-17. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2010.02.002.


The current population of nurses is aging and rapidly approaching retirement, and graduation of new nurses is not expected to meet demand. Multiple reports have offered information regarding the pending shortage and made recommendations regarding interventions. It is important that suggested interventions be based upon current evidence. An integrated review of literature was undertaken, searching CINAHL, PubMed, Academic Search Premier, Medline, and PsychInfo. Studies were limited to those conducted in the United States and published in English between 2000 and 2007. Search terms were nursing shortage, job satisfaction in nursing, stress in nursing, nursing turnover, nursing image, nursing work environment, physical demands of nursing, and nursing faculty shortage. The identified reasons for nurses leaving hospital practice were management issues, job design, job stress, physical demands, and the failure to nurture new nurses. The education issues include a lack of qualified faculty and clinical sites to allow for more students to be accepted into the programs. These are issues that can be addressed; and changes, implemented. Steps must be taken immediately to resolve these issues in an effort to keep an adequate supply of nurses at the bedside.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Nurses / psychology
  • Nurses / supply & distribution*