Although the storm has been building for quite some time, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that has ebbed and flowed in intensity over the last two years has exacerbated staffing issues across the healthcare sector – and these shortages are being felt acutely among nurses.
While this nursing shortage is proving to be particularly problematic in American hospitals, the demand for nurses is part of a larger global trend.
Owing to their essential role in the provision of healthcare at all levels, the World Health Organization has recently identified a global shortage of nurses and midwives as an obstacle to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development goals related to health and well-being. In particular, they state that an estimated 9 million more nurses and midwives will be needed globally by the year 2030.
With both the global and local context in mind, it is clear that nurses play a crucial role in the provision of healthcare and are in sharp demand.
Women are underrepresented in healthcare leadership roles
However, while women make up nearly 70% of the world’s 43 million healthcare workers—meaning it is females who are predominantly responsible for the provision of healthcare around the world—they make up only 35% of leadership roles in the healthcare industry.
This reality presents a sharp contrast to the push that is often made to encourage males to pursue careers as nurses. Although this would do something to address a gender imbalance at the ground level, it would do little to make females better represented in leadership positions in the healthcare sector.
For this reason, it is important to encourage women to continue pursuing nursing careers, with a particular focus on equipping them with the skills necessary to pursue management and leadership positions within the healthcare sector.
One way of doing this is by making it easier and more accessible to get the educational training needed to get started on this career path. Online education could be an important force in bringing about this shift.
In recent years, a number of online nursing programs have cropped up to make this possible, which include the TWU online nursing programs. These allow aspiring nurses to access high-quality, fully accredited online educational programs that equip them with the skills necessary to pursue these positions.
Online educational programs aimed at providing qualified nurses with advanced-level qualifications are particularly important as they can be undertaken in parallel with full-time employment. This means that individuals looking to pursue these courses of study do not have to derail or put a pause on their career progression in order to study.
It is clear that if we want to address the staffing and gender balance issues that have afflicted the healthcare sector for too long, we need to create innovative solutions. Online educational programs could be one part of this solution.