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Impact of Inadequate Nurse Staffing on Patients’ Health Risks: Proposal

Subject: Inadequate nursing staffing
Research Question: Does low staffing in the nursing setting affect patient outcomes negatively?
Claim: Low levels of nursing staffing have little to do with the actual quality of care since the latter depends on nurses’ competence, nurse-patient communication, and the available resources to a much greater degree.
Research Proposal: The issue of low staffing levels in the nursing setting has been brought up multiple times, yet the problem of a low nurse-to-patient ratio (NPR) could benefit from considering an alternative viewpoint. While a drop in the number of nurses is likely to cause a disruption in providing healthcare services, one can adjust to these changes by realigning nursing priorities and redesigning the approach toward managing patients’ needs.

With the emphasis on nurse-patient communication as the basis for maintaining the service quality consistent, one will be able to address the current problem of inadequate nursing staffing. However, it is expected that the proposed solution will be difficult to implement due to the existing preconceptions about the importance of the NPR. These obstacles can be confronted by changing people’s perceptions of how nursing services should be delivered to achieve positive patient outcomes.

The existing evidence points to the fact that low NPR does not necessarily have an immediate negative impact on patients’ well-being and opportunity for recovery (Stalpers, de Brouwer, Kaljouw, & Schuurmans, 2015). Therefore, efforts should be taken to realign the priorities of nurses in the modern healthcare setting and enhance their communication with patients. Similarly, the promotion of patient autonomy and education should be encouraged actively to reduce the pressure under which nurses currently work in the healthcare setting.

3 Source Collection via a Synthesis Matrix

Source: Use an APA in-text citation 1stCon-Point:
It is not the nurse shortage but a drop in communication that affects the quality of care
It is the unavailability of resources and not a low NPR that causes a drop in service quality
Nurse-patient communication is not defined by MPR and, thus, does not drop once the NPR is lowered.
Portoghese, Galletta, Battistelli, and Leiter (2015) Portoghese, Galletta, Battistelli, and Leiter (2015) assert that low staffing levels in nursing are not the prime reason for the quality of nursing services to drop. According to the authors, it is the inability of a nursing facility to restructure the workload and key processes that make the delivery of crucial services less effective.
Moreover, the significance of nurse education as the factor that defines the quality of nursing to a much greater extent than staffing levels needs to be mentioned. Portoghese et al. (2015) posit that, with the nurse education process designed properly and the guidelines for meeting diverse patients’ needs established, nurses would be able to meet the set requirements even in the environment where the NPR is comparatively low.
Stalpers, de Brouwer, Kaljouw, and Schuurmans (2015) Nurse-patient communication is another critical factor that defines the outcomes of the actions taken by a nurse. Staffing rates, in turn, do not define the quality of nurse-patient communication entirely. While an extraordinarily low NPR will doubtlessly have a side effect on the communication efficacy, less significant disruptions such as the current drop in staffing levels are not linked to the drop in service quality since there are opportunities for maintaining the dialogue consistently. Speciifcally, Stalpers et al. (2015) explain that digital tools can be used to encourage more productive management of patients’ needs. In fact, the authors point to the fact that cultural constraints such as language barriers and similar issues have a much more negative effect on the quality of services than the levels of staffing.
Kahouei, Farrokhi, Abadi, and Karimi (2016) One should also keep in mind that the availability of information for patient education and resources for delivering the required services to vulnerable groups is a much more important concern than the NPR. With the necessary resources available, even a low NPR will not become an obstacle to providing the necessary services as long as the infrastructure is arranged properly and the communication between a nurse and a patient remains consistent. Therefore, the existing data points to the lack of connection between the quality of services provided to patients and the declining NPR (Kahouei, Farrokhi, Abadi, & Karimi, 2016). While a drastic drop in the number of nurses employed in a particular setting will admittedly have an effect on the provision of nursing services, it is the arrangement of roles and responsibilities among them that defines the outcomes among patients. Thus, once proper communication tools are introduced, low NPR rates will not hinder the provision of quality services.


Kahouei, M., Farrokhi, M., Abadi, Z. N., & Karimi, A. (2016). Concerns and hopes about outsourcing decisions regarding health information management services at two teaching hospitals in Semnan, Iran. Health Information Management Journal, 45(1), 36-44. Web.

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Portoghese, I., Galletta, M., Battistelli, A., & Leiter, M. P. (2015). A multilevel investigation on nursing turnover intention: The cross‐level role of leader–member exchange. Journal of Nursing Management, 23(6), 754-764. Web.

Stalpers, D., de Brouwer, B. J., Kaljouw, M. J., & Schuurmans, M. J. (2015). Associations between characteristics of the nurse work environment and five nurse-sensitive patient outcomes in hospitals: A systematic review of literature. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(4), 817-835. Web.

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