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Popular But Futile or Ineffective Practices

The discussion thus far has focused on best practices. It is important, however, to identify those practices that are popularly supported but whose impact is insignificant or even negative. In recent years, the nursing shortage has attracted national attention and generated scores of studies. Unfortunately, many of these studies focus on solutions that, while popular, have no real hope of solving the problem at hand. In many cases, management-sponsored studies seem geared at identifying solutions that promise to improve recruitment and retention without requiring a significant expenditure of resources or a significant sharing of decision-making authority. These proposals represent dead ends that cannot make a significant impact on the nursing shortage. Among the most commonly voiced proposals are those that focus on expanding the pipeline of students in nursing schools, improving the public image of nursing, and instituting superficial workplace reforms aimed at generating team spirit without changing the underlying reality of stress in the workplace.