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Low Nurse Staffing in Hospital Settings


The problem of low staffing levels in the nursing setting has existed for many years (McHugh & Ma, 2014). Causing a significant drop in the quality of provided services, the issue has led to a steep rise in the number of medical errors, negative patient outcomes (e.g., instances of recidivism, mortality rates, etc.) (Twigg et al., 2016). Therefore, tools increasing the staffing of nurses in the hospital setting must be viewed as a crucial task. A change in the workplace environment that will imply a closer focus on the needs of nurses, including the necessity to develop new skills, acquire new knowledge, and build trust-based, cooperation-based relationships with colleagues, is likely to cause a positive change.

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Evidence-Based Solution

At present, the problem of low nurse staffing levels in the hospital setting can be explained mostly by the lack of a positive environment in which nurses can evolve and feel comfortable, as well as high standards, which most applicants fail to meet (Kim & Mehrotra, 2015). By shifting workplace values toward meeting the needs of all stakeholders, including not only patients but also nurses, one will be able to create a setting where nurses will feel comfortable, as well as receive a powerful impetus for learning new information. As a result, loyalty levels will grow along with the level of professionalism among the target population (Twigg et al., 2016).

Nursing Intervention

Apart from creating a very uncomfortable environment in which nurses are forced to work nowadays, the current approach to managing staffing levels implies putting the target demographic under a considerable strain. The pressure of numerous tasks which are assigned to nurses due to their low staffing level often leads to the development of mental health issues, from minor concerns such as anxiety to more troubling tendencies such as depression (Kim & Mehrotra, 2015).

Reconsidering the existing set of values and the corporate philosophy that guides decision-making processes in the hospital setting will allow to identify nurses’ needs and, thus, to alter the current approach toward assigning roles and responsibilities to them. Incentives must be used to encourage a positive attitude. In addition, a more flexible schedule must be regarded as a necessity. As a result, nurses will be partially relieved of the pressure until the staffing levels increase.

Patient Care

It should be borne in mind, however, that the needs of patients will also have to be met. For this reason, the use of innovative technologies that contribute to the development of a closer bond between nurses and patients should be deemed as a possibility. As a result, nurses will be informed about the challenges that patients within a particular hospital deal with. The use of social networks as the means of maintaining communication between nurses and a target community should be regarded as especially important (Twigg et al., 2016).

Health Care Agency

The proposed solution is going to have a positive effect on healthcare agencies. Due to a shift in the corporate philosophy, hospitals will be able to invest in the professional development of their staff. Consequently, employees will acquire new competencies and will even be able to develop talents in the specified setting. Furthermore, their loyalty toward their organization will grow consistently.

Nursing Practice

The quality of nursing services is also going to increase with the adoption of the proposed solution. With the focus on the professional growth of nurses, innovative solutions to health issues will be created. In addition, nurses will be able to establish a stronger connection with patients (McHugh & Ma, 2014). Thus, the number of positive patient outcomes will grow gradually.

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For nurses working in the hospital setting, will the adoption of an intervention based on the reconsideration of the hospital’s philosophy and values by introducing incentives, opportunities for professional growth, interdisciplinary communication, etc., contribute to a rise in staffing levels and a drop in the number of workplace burnouts as opposed to the current increase in the number of nurses’ roles and responsibilities, within two months?


Kim, K., & Mehrotra, S. (2015). A two-stage stochastic integer programming approach to integrated staffing and scheduling with application to nurse management. Operations Research, 63(6), 1431-1451. Web.

McHugh, M. D., & Ma, C. (2014). Wage, work environment, and staffing: Effects on nurse outcomes. Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, 15(3-4), 72-80. Web.

Twigg, D. E., Myers, H., Duffield, C., Pugh, J. D., Gelder, L., & Roche, M. (2016). The impact of adding assistants in nursing to acute care hospital ward nurse staffing on adverse patient outcomes: An analysis of administrative health data. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 63(1), 189-200. Web.

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