The contemporary health care setting I will discuss in this paper is Empathy Care Home Health. This organization is aimed at providing high-quality care for its patients using the limited resources available for this purpose. The proposed project will focus on the lack of personnel, which is one of the most critical issues familiar to the whole sphere of healthcare (Wendsche, Hacker, & Wegge, 2017). The current paper describes the problem, the setting to which it pertains, its significance and impact, and the potential solutions.
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Nurse understaffing is a crucial problem that exists in the healthcare setting where I work. Both healthcare professionals who work at Empathy Care Home Health and their clients notice that the nurse-patient ratio per unit is not high enough to meet the needs of both parties. My colleagues and I have to work under constant pressure, which is noticed by our patients who often say that we look tired or forget about some of their requests. In cannot be denied that this problem has adverse influences on both nurses and their patients that is why it should be investigated in detail.
The problem of understaffing in nursing plays an important role in a variety of healthcare settings. Any hospitals in which there is a severe lack of nursing personnel is usually at a serious disadvantage, and Empathy Care Home Health is not an exception (Cimiotti, Barton, Gorman, Sloane, & Aiken, 2014; Martin, 2015). Even though intensive care units face some of the most adverse consequences when there is a dearth of nurses, the effects made in my workplace are also worth considering (Beltempo, Blais, Lacroix, Cabot, & Piedboeuf, 2017; Gagliardi et al., 2016; Kiekkas, 2013; Rochefort, Rathwell, & Clarke, 2016; Rogowski et al., 2015; Shang, Stone, & Larson, 2015). Empathy Care Home Health works with a diverse population of patients, which means that its personnel should be diverse as well. However, current employees are not representative of their clients. Moreover, the number of nurses is not enough to serve all clients, paying enough attention to each of them. As patients are often older people or disabled individuals, their well-being suffers.
Description of the Problem
The crux of the problem is the lack of the nursing personnel in the healthcare setting, i.e., the situation in which the number of nurses working in a facility is smaller than the optimal number of nurses needed there (Kiekkas, 2013; Shang et al., 2015). In this situation, the nurses who are currently present in a facility have to do additional work, which causes their workload to exceed the optimal level and prevents them from providing adequate care for patients (Wendsche et al., 2017). This problem exists in Empathy Care Home Health because the management tends to hire those professionals who already have experience in the sphere and do not require additional education or training. In this way, the organization is trying to minimalize expenses and ensure high-quality care. However, at the same time, it fails to hire more nurses, believing that the candidates are not yet good enough. As a result, nurses have to overwork to provide services to all patients. They do not have an opportunity to have enough rest and need to work with more clients than they actually can. As the time spent with each patient decreases, the opportunity to satisfy them also reduces.
The Impact of the Problem
The problem in question has a considerable adverse impact on the quality of healthcare. Scientists reveal that nurse understaffing has been found to be associated with a high incidence of healthcare-associated infections and the decreased overall quality of care (Beltempo et al., 2017; Gagliardi et al., 2016; Kiekkas, 2013; Shang et al., 2015). The same effects are observed in Empathy Care Home Health. Being tired and having not enough time to work with each patient, nurses tend to overlook significant signs of diseases, which affects people’s health outcomes. Moreover, they can fail to manage required services (such as changing a catheter) in time, which leads to infections. Because of understaffing, nurses’ workload increases, which makes them less attentive and polite. As a result, patients are often dissatisfied with the received services. In addition, nurse understaffing is associated with increased nurse burnout and turnover rates (Wendsche et al., 2017). While Empathy Care Home Health does not hire enough personnel, nurses suffer from exhaustion, which makes them unable to perform their duties and motivates them to look for another job.
Significance of the Problem and its Implications
The problem of nurse understaffing is highly significant due to its considerable adverse impacts on the quality of care (Cimiotti et al., 2014; Rochefort et al., 2016). The implications of this problem are that the lack of nursing staff causes burnout and turnover of the currently present nurses, so the problem exacerbates itself even further, which means that it needs addressing as soon as possible (Wendsche et al., 2017).
Scientists state that nurse understaffing can be overcome if more professionals are encouraged to occupy nursing positions (Kiekkas, 2013; Martin, 2015). Moreover, Wendsche et al. (2017) add that regular rest breaks may permit improving the retention rates of nurses. These approaches seem to be advantageous for healthcare facilities, but Empathy Care Home Health should start with another change. First of all, my organization should reconsider its demands for novice employees. The management should realize that hiring professionals who do not have years of experience is not a poor solution. There are enough nurses who can work as supervises. It will be easier for them to assist newcomers than to do everything themselves. Moreover, young professionals can bring innovative ideas to the workplace, which is likely to benefit the whole organization. Personally, I do not have enough power to implement changes associated with understaffing. Nevertheless, I ask my colleagues and clients to provide their feedback regarding services and their satisfaction. Then, I contact the management, attracting their attention to the existing issue and use this information to support my point of view.
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On the whole, the problem of nurse understaffing plays an essential role in Empathy Care Home Health, significantly lowering the quality of care provided for patients, and causing an increased workload, burnout, and turnover of nurses. It is paramount that this problem is addressed as soon as possible. Nurses, including me, should gather and prepare a report that includes the description of the problem and the proposed solutions for the management to realize that it is to be addressed as soon as possible. Gathering customers’ feedback will also be advantageous in this perspective.
Beltempo, M., Blais, R., Lacroix, G., Cabot, M., & Piedboeuf, B. (2017). Association of nursing overtime, nurse staffing, and unit occupancy with health care-associated infections in the NICU. American Journal of Perinatology, 34(10), 996-1002. Web.
Cimiotti, J. P., Barton, S. J., Gorman, K. E. C., Sloane, D. M., & Aiken, L. H. (2014). Nurse reports on resource adequacy in hospitals that care for acutely ill children. Journal for Healthcare Quality, 36(2), 25-32.
Gagliardi, L., Corchia, C., Bellù, R., Coscia, A., Zangrandi, A., & Zanini, R. (2016). What we talk about when we talk about NICUs: Infants’ acuity and nurse staffing. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 29(18), 2934-2939.
Kiekkas, P. (2013). Nurse understaffing and infection risk: Current evidence, future research and health policy. Nursing in Critical Care, 18(2), 61-62.
Martin, C. J. (2015). The effects of nurse staffing on quality of care. MEDSURG Nursing, 24(2), S4-S6.
Rochefort, C. M., Rathwell, B. A., & Clarke, S. P. (2016). Rationing of nursing care interventions and its association with nurse-reported outcomes in the neonatal intensive care unit: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Nursing, 15(1), 46-53. Web.
Rogowski, J. A., Staiger, D. O., Patrick, T. E., Horbar, J. D., Kenny, M. J., & Lake, E. T. (2015). Nurse staffing in neonatal intensive care units in the United States. Research in Nursing & Health, 38(5), 333-341.
Shang, J., Stone, P., & Larson, E. (2015). Studies on nurse staffing and health care-associated infection: Methodologic challenges and potential solutions. American Journal of Infection Control, 43(6), 581-588.
Wendsche, J., Hacker, W., & Wegge, J. (2017). Understaffing and registered nurses’ turnover: The moderating role of regular rest breaks. German Journal of Human Resource Management, 31(3), 1-22. Web.