The literature supports that high nursing workload adversely affects the quality of patient care, nurses’ satisfaction with job, and the healthcare institutions’ attempt to provide cost effective nursing care.
Implication for patients.
Several consequences of high nursing workload have been proven to hinder the quality of patient care. Carayon and Gurses’s research (2008) indicates that heavy workload can contribute to errors, shortcuts, guideline violations, and poor communication with physicians and other providers, thus compromising the quality and safety of patient care. In addition, the research not only implies that patients may not receive proper care, but also they can experience less satisfaction with care.
Insufficient time to perform tasks due to heavy workload can also lead to falls, pressure ulcers, and other poor patient outcomes. For instance, Cimiotti, Aiken, Sloane, and Wu (2012) found that understaffing increases the incidences of nanny infectious diseases. His study revealed growth in both urinary and surgical site infections, just by increasing a nurse’s workload by one patient. Even more, consistent with Giakoumidakis, Baltopoulos, and Brokalaki-Pananoudaki’s research (2010), high individual patient care demands in intensive care units (ICU) was found to be positively associated with a higher patient mortality rate. In fact “every one additional patient added to a hospital staff nurse’s workload is associated with a seven percent increase in hospital mortality” (as cited in the Department for Professional Employees [DPE], 2014, para. 5).
Implication for nurses.
A high workload has negative implications for nurses as well. Consequences of heavy workload include stress, burn...
... middle of paper ...
...turnover and better retention of nurses with experience.
• There would be fewer patient readmissions because nurses would have more time to prepare patients for discharge.
The end result of these benefits would be better patient outcomes, which, in turn, save hospitals a significant amount of money. In fact, DPE (2014) announces that adding 133,000 nurses to the U.S. hospital workforce would generate about $6.1 billion medical savings in reduced patient care costs.
I think that both nurses and their employers need to come together and demonstrate their commitment to patient safety and quality despite potential increases in employers’ costs. Patients have a right to be cared for appropriately in safe environments. Reducing patient-nurse ratio improves nurses’ workload and the overall health of our patients, as such, results in a healthier and happier nursing staff.
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