Nursing Professional Development is Crucial to Nursing Shortage

September 13-19 is Nursing Professional Development Week. Each year, the third week in September is a time to recognize and celebrate the work of nursing professional development (NPD) practitioners and nurse educators. These professionals are at the heart of teaching and preparing nurses for their jobs. Jobs that are in great demand. Jobs that everyone depends on.

There is a shortage of nurses right now that will be even more severe in the future. Globally, there will be a shortage of 15 million healthcare workers by 2030.  And in the US, alone, there will be a huge shortage. From now until 2026 the US will need more than 200,000 additional nurses per year. That adds up to a need for more than a million additional nurses. In the US alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that registered nurses employment in the US will grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Even before the pandemic, the need for nurses was increasing for a couple reasons. The US has an aging population which means more people need more healthcare. And nurses are also growing older. A survey from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers shows that 50.9 percent of registered nurses is age 50 or older. In the next 10 to 15 years nurse retirements will add to the nursing shortage. 

The nursing professional development practitioner has a key role in helping overcome nursing shortages. They prepare new nurses for patient care, provide continuing education for all nurses, and develop nurse leadership skills. All their work has patient care as its focus. “Our goal is always that the patients receive optimal care,” says Mary Harper the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD) director of nursing professional development. Nursing professional development practitioners influence the nursing profession in many ways. The American Nurses Association defines the NPD specialty as based on the sciences of nursing, technology, research and evidence-based practice, change, communication, leadership and education.

Nurses at Edcor’s many healthcare system clients encounter nurse professional development specialists in multiple places. Often these specialists facilitate the life-long education that is so important for nurses. Edcor’s healthcare clients offer tuition assistance to their nurses so they can advance their education and develop specialties. They help nurses earn certifications and complete advanced degrees.

Nursing Professional development specialists also work in higher education. Edcor partner schools across the country are responding to the nursing shortage and high demand for education. These schools offer multiple degrees, certifications and specialized training. Nursing professional development specialists are the teachers and professors at higher education institutions that assist nurses in advancing their education. Nursing professional development practitioners also promote nursing research and evidence-based practice. This helps to improve patient outcomes and adds to nursing knowledge.

Not only do nurse professional development specialist help nurses become the best practioners they can be, they also combat the future shortages of nurses. When nurse educators help nurses design a career path and seek the lifelong education they need for career fulfillment, they develop satisfied employees. Hospital systems experience reduced employee turnover and increased retention. Edcor clients that support their employees with tuition assistance are building a healthcare staff for now and the future. Employees who can set career goals and meet them through guidance and instruction of nursing professional development, and employer tuition assistance are employees that will be prepared and dedicated to their career.

Nursing professional development is crucial to the medical field – and crucial to a healthy society. Today with a focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded each day of the impact medical professionals have on our lives. Nursing professional development specialists guide nurses through lifelong education and promote advanced medical practices. Edcor clients that support their employees with tuition assistance recognize the value of higher education and the need for advanced study and research. Edcor’s partner schools provide multiple opportunities for nurses and other medical employees to seek lifelong education and prepare for patient-care, research and education roles.

By Adrienne Way, Edcor CEO and owner