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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor by Lanigan, Astorino, Eberhart on The Nursing Shortage: Solutions for the Short and Long Term

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June 22, 2004

response by Lanigan, Astorino, and Eberhart to The Nursing Shortage: Solutions for the Short and Long Term by Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN and Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, MS, CNA (Jan. 31, 2001)
with reply by author

Dear Editor:

The article "The Nursing Shortage: Short and Long Term Solutions" by Nevidjon and Erickson was informative and unique in offering a multitude of ideas to address the nursing shortage. It is important to not only indicate problems, but to also offer solutions.

The article focused on increasing the number of nurses in the hospital environment.

After reading the article, we believe another way to address the nursing shortage is an increased emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. If nurses were to shift their focus to the prevention of illness and disease and the promotion of health, over time there would be less need for nurses in the hospital setting. Some of the benefits of focusing on health promotion might include: better working hours (fewer weekends, nights, and holidays); more flexibility in the nursing role (community education, online education, health fairs, dietary counseling, and exercise routines); decreased exposure to blood and bodily fluids (fewer open incisions and draining wounds); and a revised public image of nurses (educated, concerned about everyone’s health, and accessible).

We agree that the nursing shortage is a complex problem requiring more than short-term actions. We believe that a change in the focus of nursing could be a long-term solution that would address the nursing shortage and offer many benefits for nurses, hospitals, and the people who receive our care.

Sincerely,

Christy L. Lanigan, RN, BSN, MBA, CNOR
Master’s student at the Barnes College of Nursing and Health Studies
University of Missouri - St. Louis
e-mail: Clan2046@aol.com

Barbara Astorino, RN, BSN
Master’s student at the Barnes College of Nursing and Health Studies
University of Missouri - St. Louis

Jacalyn R. Eberhart, RN, BSN
Master’s student at the Barnes College of Nursing and Health Studies
University of Missouri - St. Louis
Assistant Professor of Health Services at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri

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