Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue: Nursing Staffing Shortage

Develop a 3-page paper, written to your organization’s leadership team, addressing nursing staffing shortages and how it is impacting your intensive care unit in your hospital. Identify and review two scholarly resources that focus on change strategies implemented by healthcare organizations to address the nursing staffing shortage. Write a white paper to your organization’s leadership that addresses nursing staffing shortages. Describe the nursing staffing shortage and its impact on your hospital’s critical care unit. Use organizational data to quantify the impact (if necessary, seek assistance from leadership or appropriate stakeholders in your organization). Provide a brief summary of the two articles you reviewed from scholarly resources on nursing staffing shortages. Explain how the nursing staffing shortage is being addressed in other organizations. Summarize the strategies used to address the organizational impact of the nursing staffing shortage presented in the scholarly resources you selected. Explain how they may impact your hospital and critical care unit both positively and negatively. Be specific and provide examples.

Use only references from the year 2016 to 2021, and include both these references in your paper:

1. Broome, M., & Marshall, E. S. (2021). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.
Chapter 2, “Transformational Leadership: Complexity, Change, and Strategic Planning” (pp. 34–62)
Chapter 3, “Current Challenges in Complex Health Care Organizations and the Quadruple Aim” (pp. 66–97)

2. Jacobs, Barbara, MSN, NEA-BC, RN-BC, CCRN-K, McGovern, Julie, MA, SPHR, Heinmiller, Jamie, et al. (2018). Engaging Employees in Well-Being: Moving From the Triple Aim to the Quadruple Aim. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 42, 231-245. https://doi.org/10.1097/NAQ.0000000000000303

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Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue: Nursing Staffing Shortage

Nurse staffing shortage is a significant problem facing the healthcare sector in the United States. According to Haddad et al. (2020), registered nurses constitute the country’s largest group of medical professionals. However, the U.S. continues to register an increase in the vacancy gap for registered nurses. Approximately 7.2% more registered nurses are currently provided to provide patent care in various healthcare settings across the country (Haddad et al., 2020). Nursing staffing shortage is associated with multiple factors, including high turnover, lack of potential educators, aging population, aging workforce, and inequitable distribution of workforce in the healthcare sector. Hence, nurse staffing shortage is likely to worsen due to the anticipated increase in the aging population in the United States in the future. Therefore, state and federal governments should strive to address nurse staffing shortages to prevent this clinical issue’s adverse outcomes. This paper presents nursing staffing shortage and its effect on the hospital’s critical care unit, a summary of articles on nursing staffing shortages, strategies for addressing nursing staffing shortage in other organizations, strategies for addressing the effects of nursing staffing shortage on the organization, and positive and negative impacts of the selected strategy on the healthcare organization and critical care unit.

Nursing Staffing Shortage and its Effect on the Hospital’s Critical Care Unit

Nurse staffing shortage is a major clinical issue facing our hospital, especially the critical care unit. Nurses form the largest group of medical professionals involved in providing direct care to critically-ill patients in the critical care unit in the hospitals. The quality and safety of patient care in the ICU depends on nursing staff performance. Thus, nursing shortage in the urgent care unit leads to adverse outcomes, particularly a high rate of patient falls. The critical care unit records approximately 4.00 falls/1000 patient days. This rate is three times higher than the national benchmark for patient falls in the Intensive Care Unit, 1.30 falls/1,000 patient days (Venema et al., 2019). The high rate of patient fall is associated with inadequate nurse practitioners to provide bedside care to critically-ill patients. According to LeLaurin & Shorr (2019), bedside care is a quality improvement project strategy for preventing patient fall in the critical care unit.

A Brief Summary of Articles on Nursing Staffing Shortages

            The first article, which was authored by Marć et al. (2019), focuses on the impact of local and global policies on the nursing shortage. The authors portray the nursing shortage as multifaceted that can only be addressed through global and local measures. The study findings recommend a nursing policy that supports incorporating national social security agendas into nursing practices. This program would improve nurses’ employment and working conditions, regulate nurses’ salaries, and facilitate lifelong learning for nurse practitioners. These measures would lead to nurses’ job satisfaction and a high retention rate, thus resolving the nursing shortage in healthcare organizations.

The second study was conducted by Tamata et al. (2021) to evaluate the perception of registered nurses perception of the factors contributing to the nursing shortage in public hospitals. The study findings indicate that nurse shortage is associated with high work overload and long working hours, resulting in work-related stress and burnout, making nurses quit their jobs.

Strategies for Addressing Nursing Staffing Shortage in other Organizations

Other healthcare organizations are also facing nurse staffing shortages. These organizations are using different strategies to address this clinical issue to improve the quality and safety of patient care to achieve positive health outcomes. The first strategy involves giving higher wages to registered nurses (RNs). RNs are motivated to continue working in healthcare organizations with higher pay than other industry players. Another strategy adopted by other organizations includes hiring foreign nurse practitioners to provide patient care in various departments depending on their specialization.

Strategies for Addressing Nursing Staffing Shortage Effects in the Organization

Strategies for addressing nurses in the selected articles can be used to resolve the effects of the nurse staffing shortage in the organization. The organization’s nurse staffing shortage has resulted in high morbidity, and mortality rates and increased inpatient falls in the critical care unit. These adverse health outcomes can be resolved by improving nurses’ employment and working conditions, increasing nurses’ salaries, supporting lifelong learning for nurse practitioners. The management should also provide nurses with the essential support to enable them to cope with work-related stress, which is the primary cause of the high rate of nurse turnover leading to nurse shortages (Broome & Marshall, 2021). Additionally, leaders should engage nurses in making significant decisions, especially those affecting them, to motivate them to continue working in the organization (Jacob et al., 2018).

Positive and Negative impacts of the Selected Strategies on the Healthcare Organization and Critical Care Unit

The proposed strategies will impact the healthcare organization and critical care unit positively. Appropriate nurse staffing will enable nurses to provide quality and safe patient care, including bedside care, thus reducing the high rate of patient falls reported in the critical care unit. On the other hand, the proposed measures, such as improving nurses’ employment and working conditions, increasing nurses’ salaries, and supporting lifelong learning for nurse practitioners, will significantly increase the overall operational cost.

Overall, nurse staffing shortage is a significant issue facing healthcare organizations, particularly the critical care unit. Many patients falls are reported in this department due to the lack of adequate registered nurses to provide bedside care to the patients. Hence, the organization should adopt various evidence-based measures, such as improving nurses’ employment and working conditions, increasing nurses’ salaries, supporting lifelong learning for nurse practitioners to resolve nurse shortage, thus improving the quality and safety of patient care in critical care unit.

References

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

Haddad, L, M, Annamaraju, P, Toney-Butler, T, J. (2020). Nursing Shortage. [Updated 2020 Dec 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493175/

Jacobs, Barbara, MSN, NEA-BC, RN-BC, CCRN-K, McGovern, Julie, MA, SPHR, Heinmiller, Jamie, et al. (2018). Engaging Employees in Well-Being: Moving From the Triple Aim to the Quadruple Aim. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 42, 231-245. https://doi.org/10.1097/NAQ.000000000000030

LeLaurin, J. H., & Shorr, R. I. (2019). Preventing falls in hospitalized patients: state of the science. Clinics in geriatric medicine35(2), 273-283.

Marć, M., Bartosiewicz, A., Burzyńska, J., Chmiel, Z., & Januszewicz, P. (2019). A nursing shortage–a prospect of global and local policies. International nursing review66(1), 9-16.

Tamata, A. T., Mohammadnezhad, M., & Tamani, L. (2021). Registered nurses’ perceptions on the factors affecting nursing shortage in the Republic of Vanuatu Hospitals: A qualitative study. Plos one16(5), e0251890.

Venema, D. M., Skinner, A. M., Nailon, R., Conley, D., High, R., & Jones, K. J. (2019). Patient and system factors associated with unassisted and injurious falls in hospitals: an observational study. BMC geriatrics19(1), 1-10.

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