Nursing shortage continues to be on the rise in Canada and the USA?


For the past eighteen months, the demand for nursing staff in the USA and Canada has on an extravagant rise, and the demand continues. According to recent statistics from 2019 by the Canadian Nursing Association, there are 439,975 regulated nurses in Canada and according to American Nursing association about 4million nursing staff in the USA. But with all these numbers there continues to be a shortage of nurses.

General population ratio/aging population

The population ratio to nursing staff is less than 5%. According to WHO there are 3 nursing staff to 1000 people. With a population of 37.59 million and 328.2 million in Canada and USA respectively, there are simply not enough nursing staff. Additionally, is the aging population and their need for extra care as their health deteriorates with age, they are more prone to being ill. If in doubt of this fact, let the coronavirus be proof as they are more liable to the virus. People aged over 65 face enormous and life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes, hypertension, mental health and so on, this has led them to being placed as priority in healthcare and more nurses assigned for their care. With the aging population of over 15% in both countries, there are longer hospital stays, a high demand for long term care, a high demand on home care services and a heavy burden on healthcare. Topple this with the fact that in Canada 1 in 3 Canadians face a life-threatening disease, you get a limited amount of nursing staff available and a serious problem.

Aging nursing staff

Just like the general population that age, nursing staff also age they are not immortal heroes and cannot work forever. The work is both physically and emotionally taxing and being over a certain age the energy levels decline. At least 80,000 nursing staff retire yearly and not only nursing staff but also nursing professors, which adds to another problem. Not enough professors in the nursing program and leads to limited number of spots to admit potential nursing students. In 2016 US nursing schools turned away 64 000 students because of this lack. Although some of the current nursing staff compromises of baby boomers, who would like to work over the retiring age to earn more and have a better retirement lifestyle, there is still a gap that exists and cannot be easily filled with the current nurse to population ratio. According to American Nurses Association 500 000 nurses are predicted to retire in 2022. The problem exacerbates itself, as with each retired nursing staff is a possibility of more addition to the general aging population that would be ill and require extra care from a nursing staff.


With the ratio of nurses to population, nurses are being overworked and have a reduced job satisfaction. Their mental health is on the line and life is at risk. During the first few months of the pandemic, nurses had to work overtime covering for their ill peers, filling gaps for nurses who died because of the virus and nurses who quit because of trauma and exhaustion. Nurses are front line workers and as first responders they are exposed to many things during the course of their work. Therefore, it is not uncommon if they face major depression or anxiety as an outcome. For example, during the pandemic nurses had to still act as emotional support to patients because of the no visitation rule. Prior to the pandemic, nurses were already overworked because of the ratio imbalance, but then with the weight of the virus it expounded, as the pandemic brought about long hours and a higher demand. A lot of nurses quit this past year and led to more shortage of nursing staff.


HealthOPM is a nurse staffing agency that understands the effects of the nursing shortage and proactively takes on the role of sourcing out top-quality nursing staff and provides them to healthcare facilities across Southern, Ontario and travel nurses within Canada. With an energetic talent acquisition team with more than ten years of experience in healthcare, we handle recruitment and find nursing staff suitable to each facility. As a healthcare staffing agency, HealthOPM aims to solve the recruitment and shortage of nursing staff issues, by providing quick deployment of quality nurses, both temp and permanent staff at every point of need. Need staff immediately? Contact a healthcare staffing agency that is dedicated and responsive. Call HealthOPM today.


  1. Haddad LM, Annamaraju P, Toney-Butler TJ. Nursing Shortage. [Updated 2020 Dec 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:
  2. Nantsupawat A, Kunaviktikul W, Nantsupawat R, Wichaikhum OA, Thienthong H, Poghosyan L. Effects of nurse work environment on job dissatisfaction, burnout, intention to leave. Int Nurs Rev. 2017 Mar;64(1):91-98. doi: 10.1111/inr.12342. Epub 2016 Nov 24. PMID: 27882573.

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