The Week 6 Staffing Issues Interactive Case Study exemplifies the practical significance of overstaffing as one of the most important factors influencing negative outcomes for both nurses and patients. In the case study under consideration, several nurses discuss their increased workload and issues related to it. It is possible to mention that one of the factors that have the most impact on adverse outcomes of overstaffed clinical environments is the nursing fatigue. It is a highly recognized condition, which is characterized by the nurse’s decreased ability to provide high-quality care for patients. In high census seasons, as it is presented in the case, nurses often have to work extra shifts due to increased patient inflow. The lead nurses place mandatory overtime shifts, and thus nurses are obliged to work more than it is required by the standards for providing high-quality care.
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As it was already mentioned, the case study under discussion exemplifies a considerably widespread practice problem in hospital settings. Therefore, it would be appropriate to discuss the example from my working experience to reinforce the importance of the subject matter. I worked in several clinical settings as a registered nurse, and it is possible to state that I have run into the problem of mandatory overstaffing in each of the clinical settings at least to some extent. According to my experience, the most overstaffed facilities are intensive care units since the inflow of patients who need instant and intensive high-quality care could not always adequately match the number of nurses on shifts. Since the patient-nurse ratio increased immensely on some shifts, I had to work with the extra number of patients, which is very difficult in such situations. I experienced the nursing fatigue often due to extra work, and I can admit that in some cases it led to the decreased quality of provided care.
My experience, as well as the assumptions provided in the Week 6 case study, are supported by the insights from the academic literature on the topic. The article by Glette, Aase, and Wiig (2017) exemplifies the connection between increased workload of nurses and poor patient outcomes, primarily regarding patient safety. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that mandatory overstaffing has a large negative impact on the provision of high-quality care. It is also important to mention that the nursing fatigue, which is experienced by numerous nurses due to their extra shifts, leads to nursing burnout and mistakes in the workplace that could have an adverse impact on patients’ health.
In the Week 6 interactive case study, the primary focus is on staffing issues. In particular, the case represent the situation, which is well-recognized in the majority of hospital settings: in the introduction to the case, the narrator observes that it is a high census season in the hospital, and thus nurses have to work mandatory extra shifts. The case exemplifies several perspectives on the situation: one of the nurses, Grace, is considerably worried that her fatigue, induced by working extra shifts, could have a negative impact on patient outcomes. Grace thinks that she might make a nursing mistake and blame herself for it. The other nurse, Nancy, is upset with the fact that she would miss out on important events in her personal life due to the fact that she has to work three Saturdays in a row.
However, Susie, Grace and Nancy’s colleague, have a different perspective as she does not consider working extra shifts as something negative. Susie tries to make savings for a car, and thus she thinks that overstaffing and mandatory shifts are suitable for her. Nevertheless, three colleagues gather to discuss the situation, and through the process of discussion, each of them acquires a more profound understanding of how mandatory extra shifts can adversely influence both patient and nurse outcomes. For example, Nancy points out that she read one article, in which it was stated that in understaffed clinical settings, in which nurses have to work more than they are supposed to, nursing fatigue is increased. Thus, these two factors – understaffing and nursing fatigue – appear to be the most important aspects that adversely influence patient outcomes.
This point of view could be easily reinforced by referencing scholarly literature on the topic. For example, the study by Hensel, Van Den Bruck, Klare, Heldmann, Ghebremedhin, and Jenke (2017) explores the topic, which is considerably close to the situation described in the case study. The authors focus on the investigation of the management of neonatal intensive care units, and how nurse staffing affects the outcomes of newborns and their mothers (Hensel et al., 2017). The research is based on a vast practical basis, and it is concluded by the authors that understaffing and nursing fatigue have a considerably adverse impact on the provision of care in NICUs. It is also appropriate to mention that the case under consideration largely matches with my working experience. I often had to work extra shifts, which lead to the decreased job satisfaction, burnout, and fatigue. Numerous times I had to miss important events in my life due to mandatory extra shifts.
Glette, M. K., Aase, K., & Wiig, S. (2017). The relationship between understaffing of nurses and patient safety in hospitals—A literature review with thematic analysis. Open Journal of Nursing, 7(12), 1387-1429.
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Hensel, K. O., Van Den Bruck, R., Klare, I., Heldmann, M., Ghebremedhin, B., & Jenke, A. C. (2017). Nursing staff fluctuation and pathogenic burden in the NICU-effective outbreak management and the underestimated relevance of non-resistant strains. Scientific reports, 7, 45014.