Politics, Economics, and Nursing Shortages: A Critical Look at United States Government Policies

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Executive SummaryThe economic concept that the independent actions of buyers and sellers tend to move the market toward equilibrium where there is no shortage or surplus is basic in the classic and current literature of economics.The problem with subsidies is that nurses who receive subsidized educations are able to provide nursing services for less compensation because they paid less or nothing for their educations.Subsidies may be politically appealing, but they override market forces of supply and demand.The demand for nurses and nursing instructors can be met and maintained for generations to come with policies that expand roles and reimbursement for APNs and encourage the nurse and nursing instructor labor markets to correct themselves by providing fair compensation under Magnet status working conditions.Politics and policies meant to correct the nursing shortage should focus less on how to reduce the cost of producing nurses, and more on how to afford to compensate nurses with wages and benefits that achieve market equilibrium.

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