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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Nursing Staffing Shortages and Their Impact on Healthcare

Nursing staffing shortages are among the most significant national stressors within the United States healthcare system. Specifically, the nursing shortage has increased dramatically following the COVID-19 outbreak due to a rise in demand for healthcare services. Nurses enhance patient care quality, safety, efficiency, and timeliness to achieve desired health outcomes (Bakhamis et al., 2019). Additionally, nurses transform healthcare organizations through leadership roles (Broome & Marshall, 2021). Therefore, the nursing shortage affects the US healthcare system adversely.

The shortage of nurses has impacted our healthcare organization negatively. Nurses’ workload has increased substantially in the healthcare organization to meet the high demand for healthcare services. Studies show that healthcare outcomes in medical facilities significantly depend on nurses’ workload (Norful et al., 2018). Therefore, nurses’ job performance, productivity, and ability to provide high-quality and safe patient care have been compromised, resulting in adverse health outcomes. The social determinant with the most significant effect on the nursing shortage is the decrease in nursing graduates in the United States. A lower number of nurse graduates is a significant challenge facing the United States healthcare system (Chan et al., 2021). As a result, it is challenging to meet the high demand for nurses nationwide.

The management has introduced various measures to address the nursing shortage in the healthcare organization. First, the organization hires contract nurses to meet the high nurse demand. Additionally, nurses are hired depending on the demand for healthcare services. For instance, more critical care nurses are hired to meet the increased demand for healthcare services in the emergency department during the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures resolve nursing in the healthcare organization, improving the quality and safety of patient care.

References

Bakhamis, L., Paul, D.P., Smith, H., & Coustasse, A. (2019). Still an Epidemic: The Burnout Syndrome in Hospital Registered Nurses. Healthcare Management; 38(1):3-10

Broome, M., & Marshall, E. S. (2021). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Chan, G. K., Bitton, J. R., Allgeyer, R. L., Elliott, D., Hudson, L. R., & Burwell, P. M. (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on the nursing workforce: a national overview. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 26(2), 1–17.

Norful, A. A., de Jacq, K., Carlino, R., & Poghosyan, L. (2018). Nurse practitioner–physician comanagement: A theoretical model to alleviate primary care strain. Annals of Family Medicine, 16(3), 250–256.

Nursing Staffing Shortages and Their Impact on Healthcare

The United States healthcare system faces a daunting challenge in the form of nursing staffing shortages. The scarcity of nursing professionals, a concern that has been accentuated by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, has cast a shadow on the efficiency and quality of patient care across healthcare facilities. Nurses, being integral to the smooth functioning of healthcare organizations, play multifaceted roles that range from ensuring patient safety and care quality to assuming leadership positions that drive organizational transformation. Therefore, the far-reaching implications of the nursing shortage reverberate throughout the US healthcare landscape.

The Unfavorable Ramifications on Healthcare Organizations

Within healthcare organizations, the ramifications of nursing shortages are evident and concerning. The workload shouldered by nurses has surged to meet the heightened demand for healthcare services. Numerous studies underscore the pivotal role nurses’ workload plays in determining healthcare outcomes within medical facilities (Norful et al., 2018). Consequently, the surge in workload has adversely affected nurses’ job performance, productivity, and their ability to deliver safe and high-quality patient care. This, in turn, has led to compromised health outcomes, rendering the magnitude of the nursing shortage palpable in the realm of patient care.

The linchpin that drives the nursing shortage crisis is the dwindling number of nursing graduates within the United States. This glaring social determinant has emerged as a significant hurdle for the nation’s healthcare system. The scarcity of nursing graduates poses a formidable challenge, making it exceedingly difficult to meet the surging demand for nursing professionals across the nation (Chan et al., 2021). This paucity in new entrants to the field only serves to exacerbate the already challenging situation, leaving healthcare facilities grappling with staffing gaps that compromise patient care.

Mitigating the Crisis: Strategies and Solutions

In response to the dire nursing shortage scenario, healthcare organizations have resorted to several strategies aimed at alleviating the crisis. One such approach involves the hiring of contract nurses to bolster the nursing workforce, thereby bridging the gap between supply and demand. Moreover, healthcare facilities have adopted a dynamic approach to nurse recruitment, tailoring their hiring efforts to match the specific demands of healthcare services. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for critical care nurses skyrocketed in tandem with the surge in emergency department visits. As a result, healthcare organizations swiftly adjusted their recruitment strategies to bring in more critical care nurses, effectively addressing the pandemic-induced surge in demand.

These strategic measures aimed at addressing the nursing shortage have yielded positive outcomes. By augmenting the nursing workforce through contract nurses and strategic hiring, healthcare organizations have managed to tackle staffing shortfalls head-on. This, in turn, has improved the overall quality and safety of patient care, as the influx of nursing professionals bolsters the capacity to provide timely and effective healthcare services.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the nursing shortage crisis presents a formidable challenge that resonates deeply within the United States healthcare system. The pivotal role that nurses play in ensuring patient safety, care quality, and organizational transformation cannot be understated. However, the scarcity of nursing professionals, further exacerbated by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, has exposed vulnerabilities in the healthcare system’s ability to meet the growing demand for healthcare services. Through strategic initiatives such as the recruitment of contract nurses and dynamic hiring practices, healthcare organizations have taken steps to mitigate the adverse effects of the nursing shortage. By addressing staffing shortfalls, these measures have led to notable improvements in patient care quality and safety within healthcare facilities.

References

Bakhamis, L., Paul, D.P., Smith, H., & Coustasse, A. (2019). Still an Epidemic: The Burnout Syndrome in Hospital Registered Nurses. Healthcare Management; 38(1):3-10.

Broome, M., & Marshall, E. S. (2021). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Chan, G. K., Bitton, J. R., Allgeyer, R. L., Elliott, D., Hudson, L. R., & Burwell, P. M. (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on the nursing workforce: a national overview. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 26(2), 1–17.

Norful, A. A., de Jacq, K., Carlino, R., & Poghosyan, L. (2018). Nurse practitioner–physician comanagement: A theoretical model to alleviate primary care strain. Annals of Family Medicine, 16(3), 250–256.

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