For many years, the nursing shortage has been a relevant topic in today’s society. The nursing shortage is defined as a lack of trained nurses to provide care for ill individuals. Nursing schools inability to grow programs quickly enough to meet demands (Nursing Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2014). The shortage is not only an issue in the United States but all over the world. This problem affects a wide range of people from current registered nurses, patients, and other members of the healthcare team. According to the Nursing Association of Colleges of Nursing (Rosseter, 2014), the nursing shortage is due to the expansion of healthcare and nurses who are baby boomers beginning to retire. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment reports,
Gordon, S., Buchanan, J., & Bretherton, T. (2008). Safety in Numbers: Nurse-to-Patient Ratios and the Future of Health Care (pp. 1-2). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Patient’s safety will be compromised because increase of patient to nurse ratio will lead to mistakes in delivering quality care. In 2007, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) conducted a metanalysis and found that “shortage of registered nurses, in combination with increased workload, poses a potential threat to the quality of care… increases in registered nurse staffing was associated with a reduction in hospital-related mortality and failure to rescue as well as reduced length of stay.” Intense workload, stress, and dissatisfaction in one’s profession can lead to health problems. Researchers found that maintaining and improving a healthy work environment will facilitate safety, quality healthcare and promote a desirable professional avenue.
Adequate hospital staffing is vital in order for patients to receive high quality care (Cho et al., 2009). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS, 2004), studies indicate a clear connection between lower levels of nurse staffing and higher rates of adverse events, nurse burnout, and job dissatisfaction. Although there are numerous types of units in hospitals, intensive care units (ICUs) require higher levels of nurse staffing to deliver safe and quality care to critically ill patients (Cho et al., 2009). In the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at DCH Regional Hospital, a nurse-to-patient ratio of 1:2 has been the norm for many years. Recently, staffing inadequacies have contributed to nurses being assigned to care for up to three critically ill patients at one time. As a result, the MICU has lost approximately one-fourth of its nursing staff either to a different unit within the hospital or to an entirely new hospital. The purpose of this paper is to describe the MICU and the manager’s role, discuss the implementation of a plan to reverse the ill effects of inadequate staffing, and evaluate the results of the plan.
The nursing workforce is particularly challenged when it comes to retaining high quality nurses in the profession. This issue is relevant to new and seasoned nurses alike. There are senior nurses experiencing burnout intending to leave the workforce before retirement age and new nurses leaving the profession prematurely, creating too much nurse turnover. When turnover takes place unexpectedly and prior to retirement, the collective effect is financially and socially detrimental to the nursing profession and healthcare institutions. High nurse turnover can influence a healthcare organization’s ability to provide quality patient care and accomplish the best possible patient outcomes (Hayes et al., 2006). Investigating the sources of high nurse turnover rates and the negative impact on healthcare will bring greater understanding to this nursing workforce issue.
The nursing shortage most likely does not mean a great deal to people until they are in the care of a nurse. The United States is in a severe nursing shortage with no relief in sight due to many factors compounding the problem and resulting in compromised patient care and nurse burnout. Nursing shortages have been experienced in the past by the United States and have been overcome with team effort. However, the current shortage is proving to be the most complex and great strides are being made to defeat the crisis before it becomes too difficult to change. Researchers anticipate that by 2010, the United States will need almost one million more registered nurses than will be available (Cherry & Jacob, 2005, p. 30).
Many nurses face the issue of understaffing and having too much of a workload during one shift. When a unit is understaffed not only do the nurses get burnt out, but the patients also don’t receive the care they deserve. The nurse-patient ratio is an aspect that gets overlooked in many facilities that could lead to possible devastating errors. Nurse- patient ratio issues have been a widely studied topic and recently new changes have been made to improve the problem.
The study by Needleman et al.  used administrative data from 799 US hospitals in 11 states to investigate the association between several patient outcomes and nurse staffing. Outcomes sensitive to nurse staffing among medical patients were urinary tract infection, pneumonia, length of hospital stay and upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The authors built several models with various assumptions to estimate the impact of modification in nurse staffing on the rate of specific patient outcomes. Urinary-tract infection was estimated to be reduced by 9% when the nurse staffing was shifted towards higher numbers of registered nurses. Similarly, a higher number of registered nurses was expected to reduce the rate of pneumonia by 6%. These findings
Many studies demonstrate that decreased nursing staff results in reduced patient outcomes. For example, one study from two random national surveys of registered nurses (RNs) and chief nursing officers (CNOs) found that the majority of RNs and CNOs observed the nursing shortage in hospitals and believed it to be a key issue for the overall safety and quality of patient care (Buerhaus et al., 2005). This study determined that the nursing shortage caused significant problems in four major areas of nursing practice, which include collaboration with teams, early detection of patient complications, ability to maintain patient safety, and time spent with patients. First, short staffing negatively affects staff communication, collaboration, and
The Effect of Nurse Staffing on Hospital Readmission: A Literature Review Nurse staffing is perceived as a major issue due to its effect on the safety and quality of patient care (Hinno, Partanen and Vehvilainen-Julkunen, 2011). Inadequate patient care could result in readmission. Readmission and emergency department visits by patients within 30 days of their discharge exhibits avoidable and costly outcomes (Weiss, Yakusheva and Bobay, 2011). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has developed a financial penalty refusing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services for hospital reimbursement due to readmission (Berenson, Paulus and Kalman, 2012). Hospitals are now seeking to reduce patient readmission.