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Nurse Understaffing and Change Proposal

Nursing Theory Utilized

In order to address the problem of nursing staff shortage, one will need to consider the use of the transitions theory (TT) since it allows embracing change in the selected setting and encourage its active promotion for the sake of patients’ well-being. Designed by Meleis, the specified framework allows approaching the process of managing change in the nursing environment from an array of viewpoints, including patient-oriented, technological, and administrative ones (Townsend-Gervis, Cornell, & Vardaman, 2014).

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Therefore, for the purposes of this paper, the TT framework will have to be included as the platform for exploring the issue of nursing understaffing. Thus, a profound understanding of why understaffing occurs and how it can be influenced will be developed. The TT posits that the process of transitioning to a new framework for managing nursing issues should include an analysis of the nature of change, the conditions under which they take place, typical response patterns, and the tenets of nursing therapeutics (Townsend-Gervis et al., 2014). Applying the theory to the case of nurse understaffing, one will have to study the factors contributing to the nursing shortage, the environment in which nurses work, the measures currently used for managing the issue, and the tools for addressing the concern.

Proposed Implementation Plan with Outcome Measures

At present, it is strongly recommended to improve the quality of nurse education in order to address the issue of nurse understaffing. Nurses will have to be provided with an opportunity to learn new abilities that will enable them to manage the current workflow effectively. In addition, a more balanced approach toward managing the organization of nurses’ work should be seen as a crucial step toward improvement. The specified change within the current nursing setting is bound to affect the quality of care since nurses will have the opportunity to utilize an improved time management framework.

Furthermore, the selected tools will allow handling the issue of workplace burnouts, which has become increasingly common in the specified environment (Wendsche, Hacker, & Wegge, 2017). Because of workplace burnouts, nurses fail to not only complete the set tasks but also deliver the results of the expected quality. The reorganization of their work will lead to a rapid drop in the number of medical errors and misunderstandings during information management, causing a rise in better patient outcomes and recovery rates (Ulrich & Kear, 2018). Consequently, an increase in the instances of managing to understaff successfully will be observed.

Potential Barriers and Their Management

It would be wrong to expect the proposed solutions to lead to immediate positive changes. Quite the contrary, it will take time for nurses to adjust to a new approach toward handling their responsibilities. Moreover, resistance toward learning new strategies may emerge among nurses due to the fear of failure (Jones & Van de Ven, 2016). With the current high levels of pressure under which they are put, nurses may be reluctant to face new changes, no matter how positive they are promised to be.

However, nurse education and consultations will allow resolving the issue. Thus, the problem of nurse understaffing and the issues that it causes, including low quality of services, medical errors, and workplace burnouts among staff members, will be managed respectively. Moreover, opportunities for nurses to acquire new skills and develop a better understanding of patients’ needs will emerge. Finally, the proposed tool may create the premises for interdisciplinary collaboration among nurses through the careful management of their schedules.


Jones, S. L., & Van de Ven, A. H. (2016). The changing nature of change resistance: An examination of the moderating impact of time. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 52(4), 482-506.

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Townsend-Gervis, M., Cornell, P., & Vardaman, J. M. (2014). Interdisciplinary rounds and structured communication reduce re-admissions and improve some patient outcomes. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 36(7), 917-928. Web.

Ulrich, B. T., & Kear, T. M. (2018). The health and safety of nephrology nurses and the environments in which they work: Important for nurses, patients, and organizations. Nephrology Nursing Journal, 45(2), 117-142.

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), 238-259. Web.

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