As stated by the dictionary, short staffing is the outnumbering of consumers against the number of people that can provide the service. While short staffing is a problem for all kinds of fields of work, its harms are particularly concerning in healthcare. The fewer healthcare providers in a unit, the more likely instances of deaths and medical errors are.
As of yet, there is a significant shortage of nurse practitioners in the bodies of healthcare. The occurrence of which proves to be a challenge in providing top-quality care. The purpose of this article is to explain the reasons for nurse shortages and the ramifications for patients’ general well-being, and the quality of care given.
The Main Reason For Staffing Shortages And How To Solve It
Before discussing the reasons for the decrease in the number of nurses in a facility, it is vital to examine the factors contributing. There are several reasons hospitals lack registered nurses, but the most prominent factor seems to be burnout. Burnout causes a shortage in nursing staff because it causes nurses to feel overwhelmed, leading to a decreased sense of job satisfaction. Ultimately, this reduces a nurse’s motivation levels and causes them to apply for resignation.
According to studies, the prevalence of burnout seems to be 17.5 percent nowadays. It might increase in the next few years. Therefore as difficult as it may seem, administrators must combat this issue so that healthcare is not compromised. An excellent method to combat this is by encouraging nurses to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. One can now look up masters in nursing online and graduate without the hassles of visiting campus. This degree is more practice-oriented; hence it can help increase the decision-making skills of a nurse. Ultimately this skill will allow nurses to become more qualified to contribute to medical decisions. Since work can become faster with the help of nurses, it can decrease the likelihood of burnout.
Other Reasons For Short-Staffing
A startling percentage of nurses also said they didn’t like their jobs since they didn’t feel like performing what they got recruited to do. Often, hospitals enforce nurses to take up non-value-added tasks such as organizing medical equipment or managing unnecessary paperwork. While this is mainly done to reduce the hospital’s expenses, it causes nurses to devote less time to patient care, decreasing motivation, causing them to resign.
Another concern that got reported was the harassment and disrespect in the field. A survey conducted by the RN network states that nearly 50% of nurses consider leaving their job because they don’t feel respected by the administration. There are many reasons for disputes among professionals, but the main issue arises due to the power dynamic. Since physicians spend more time in medical school than nurses, they often believe that they know more. They may consider a nurse’s opinion as less critical. It makes nurses feel ineffective, as if their education is of inferior quality, leading to a loss of self-confidence. And, once again, an increase in the number of resignations.
The Dangers Of Short Staffing
With a lack of nurse personnel, the overall outcome leads to patient satisfaction. Since there are fewer nurses in a healthcare unit, patients that require constant care are easily neglected. It can lead to high mortality rates and increased incidences of patients suffering. Moreover, there could also be a high chance of medical errors. Since the facility is already understaffed, the nurses on the ward are dealing with the increased workload. They may hastily do their jobs and hence miss critical points about a patient’s health status to combat this. It can cause them to give the wrong dosage of drugs or incorrect prescriptions that can easily lead to a decreased quality of care in patients.
Other than the impact on the patient’s short-staffing significantly impacts the nurses present on duty. Since there is a high level of workload, nurses get burned much more quickly. The physical exhaustion combined with a lack of time management can lead to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and mental breakdowns- which further causes nurses to become disengaged with their patients and eventually compromising their work performance. Not only that, but this issue also burdens the hospital as well since replacing a large number of nurses requires big money and time.
The role of a nurse is exceptionally vital to the progress of a healthcare facility. Many difficulties would arise if we had a limited nursing staff, including higher mortality, lower patient satisfaction, and a general decline in healthcare quality. Therefore, hospital administrators and employers must develop innovative measures to increase motivation levels in a nurse. There should also be a public representation of nurses’ importance in the media to maintain mutual levels of respect.
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