High Nursing Workload Essay

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Effects of High Nursing Workload
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
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A high workload has negative implications for nurses as well. Consequences of heavy workload include stress, burnout, and dissatisfaction, thus affecting motivation for quality patient care. Furthermore, nursing overload was also associated with increased absenteeism (as cited in Fasoli & Haddock, 2010, p. 2).
Poghosyan, Clarke, Finlayson, and Aiken (2010) in a cross-national comparative research explored the relationship between nurses’ burnout and the quality of care in 53,846 nurses from six countries. Their researched confirmed that nurses around the world experience burnout due to increase workload. Burnout was manifested as fatigue, irritability, insomnia, headaches, back pain, weight gain, high blood pressure, and depression. Burnout influenced nurses’ job performance, lowered patient satisfaction, and it was significantly associated with poor quality of care. Patient safety decreased as nurses’ job demands
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Bedside nurses want to change staffing levels to assure that they have enough time to both keep up with the constantly evolving health care and to provide safe patient care. Yet, healthcare employers consider that reducing nurse patient ratio is an unnecessary expense that has not been proven to improve quality of patient care (Unruh, 2008). Employers emphasize that raising nursing staffing level is not cost-effective. In fact, in accordance with ANA’s report (2013), a study, in the Journal of Health Care Finance, confirmed that reducing patient-nurse ratios increased hospital costs, but did not lower their profitability. Higher hospital costs were attributed to wages and benefits allocated to newly hired nurses. Yet, according to Cimiotti (20112), it is more costly for hospitals to not invest money on nursing.
As reported by Bowron (2010), hospitals will benefit from reducing patient-nurse ratio by saving money. Bowron point out that an adequate staffing ratio could lower hospitals’ costs significantly in the following ways:
• Changes in patients’ status would be detected and treated in a timely manner.
• Patients would recover more rapidly, therefore decreasing the length of hospital stays.
• There would be less medication errors and less complication.
• There would be less overtime costs.
• Reducing nurses’ workloads would lead to less nursing
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