Finding Solutions to the Healthcare Staffing Shortage

The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply (CPNS) was created in response to the emerging shortage of physicians and the ongoing nurse shortage in the United States.

Based in the University of Pennsylvania's Consortium for Health Workforce Research and Policy, CPNS is supported by San Diego-based AMN Healthcare, the nation's largest healthcare staffing organization.

With both physician and nurse shortages predicted to escalate by 2020, CPNS has called for an immediate increase in physician and nurse training. If more physicians and nurses cannot be trained, the adverse consequences could include:

  • Inadequate access to care, particularly in rural and inner-city locations.
  • Lack of emergency preparedness.
  • Decreased ability to accomplish planned expansions of healthcare services, resulting in negative effects on local and national economies.

Other findings based on CPNS research include:

  • At current levels of training and the state of today's healthcare system, these shortages will continue to increase and there will be too few physicians and nurses to meet future needs.
  • The emphasis of nursing education expansion should be at the baccalaureate (BSN) level, rather than on associate degree nursing (ADN) programs, which currently receives the bulk of federal funding. Few ADN graduates move on to advanced practice or faculty levels, both of which are needed.
  • Nurses and physicians are interdependent, so shortages in one group will aggravate shortages in the other, therefore the infrastructure for nursing and medical education must be expanded.



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