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Low Staffing of Nurses in Hospital Settings

Background Information

The Healthcare industry is characterized by some of the highest turnover rates in the public sector. On average, turnover rates in US hospitals vary between 10% and 25% (Henry, 2014). This creates an issue of understaffing, especially in long-term care and frontline nursing positions. As a result, the patient-nurse ratio increases, which is associated with higher workloads, increased burnout, and reduced quality of care. Falk and Wallin (2016) state that the optimal patient-nurse rate ranges from 1:1 to 2:1, based on the results of their study. Past that number, the increase in patient-nurse rate is associated with higher chances of exacerbations, nursing mistakes, and patient mortality, especially in the intensive care unit (ICU). Therefore, developing a nurse retention program is vital to maintaining high standards of healthcare expected from medical institutions.

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PICOT Question

In ICU and long-term care nurses (P), how do on-site employee assistance programs (meditation, writing workshop, relaxing massages), in comparison to standard burnout management techniques available (C), affect retention and turnover rates (O) within 12 months (T)?

Nursing Intervention

Sometimes even nurses find themselves in need of a healthcare worker’s intervention. The majority of nurses report burnout caused by overworking to be one of the primary factors to force them out of the profession (Khamisa, Peltzer, & Oldenburg, 2013). Burnout is a psychological condition that may lead to the development of various disorders, such as depression, sleep disorders, loss of appetite, and others. While recruitment rates and improvements to working conditions offer solid long-term solutions, the industry needs new standards of managing burnout on-site, to help nurses cope with the existing conditions, while change is made. The inclusion of professional therapists to treat burnout among nurses is necessary to improve retention rates.

Patient Care

Nurse burnout negatively affects patient care in two ways. A nurse suffering from burnout is more likely to ignore the patient’s needs and requests or make a mistake, which would result in healthcare complications or even death (Khamisa et al. 2013). By affecting retention rates, burnout contributes to the situation where nurses are overworked, which also increases the chances of making nursing errors. It becomes a cycle, where one factor motivates the other, and vice-versa. As a result, patient care suffers from burnout, nurses being overworked, and poor retention rates. Thus, the intervention proposed, if successful, would be able to improve patient care.

Healthcare Agency

The project will involve hospitals and primary healthcare facilities found in the local communities. Participation will be strictly voluntary and will involve nurses working in ICU and long-term care, which is considered to be the most labor-intensive and emotionally exhausting position (Henry, 2014). The intervention will include therapists providing burnout relief in designated offices located within chosen hospitals. These facilities need to be located near the nurses using them, to increase the effectiveness of the intervention.

Nursing Practice

The proposed intervention is likely to have a positive influence on the reduction of burnout rates and retention improvement. If nurses are capable of coping with and managing stress, they become less likely to drop out of the profession. Also, nurse effectiveness will increase, resulting in fewer mistakes being made. Patient care is expected to improve, meaning fewer costs associated with the treatment of hospital-acquired traumas and infection. If adopted on a grander scale, the proposed intervention might have a positive influence on the scope of nursing practice.


Falk, A. C., & Wallin, E. M. (2016). Quality of patient care in the critical care unit in relation to nurse patient ratio: A descriptive study. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 35, 74-79.

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Henry, B. J. (2014). Nursing burnout interventions: what is being done? Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 18(2), 211-214.

Khamisa, N., Peltzer, K., & Oldenburg, B. (2013). Burnout in relation to specific contributing factors and health outcomes among nurses: A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10(6), 2214-2240.

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"Low Staffing of Nurses in Hospital Settings." StudyCorgi, 19 Dec. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Low Staffing of Nurses in Hospital Settings." December 19, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Low Staffing of Nurses in Hospital Settings." December 19, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Low Staffing of Nurses in Hospital Settings." December 19, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Low Staffing of Nurses in Hospital Settings'. 19 December.

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