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Nursing Understaffing and Evidence-Based Solution

The overall quality of healthcare in the United States continues to deteriorate over time due to the significant shortage of nurses. According to Glette, Aase, and Wiig (2017), with the lower than average patient-practitioner ratio, healthcare professionals are forced to have increased workloads, experiencing chronic fatigue, sleep deprivation, and anxiety. Such work patterns frequently result in the nursing failure to provide adequate level of support to the hospitalized individuals. Unsatisfied with their working conditions and payment compensations, highly skilled professionals tend to change their careers, leaving the entire medical segments unattended. In particular, an acute need for trained nurse practitioners (NPs) in oncology, diabetes, and hypertension calls for an urgent implementation of novel evidence-based solutions (Kiekkas et al., 2019). In nursing practitioners (P), encouraging retirees to continue their services (I), compared to traditional turnover rates (C), will provide additional nurse aids to minimize the current nursing shortage (O), over a one-year period (T).

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Bringing the retired nursing practitioners to workforce, as an evidence-based solution, may provide new roles for the older healthcare professionals. Given an opportunity to work flexible hours, well-educated and highly skilled nurses may use their clinical expertise not only to attend patients but also to mentor new staff (Glette et al., 2017). The issue of understaffing will be minimized through the relocation of practitioners to the emergency departments that require higher than average nursing intervention. In this situation, higher practitioner-patient ratio will allow nurses for a thorough monitoring of the hospitalized individuals’ condition through a more frequent attendance. Consequently, more frequent nursing interventions in the form of regular check-ups, treatment procedures, recording and analysis of symptoms will lead to an improved patient care. Both higher level of attention and shorter working schedules will eliminate the common complaint among patients regarding the inappropriate or untimely assistance (Hooper, 2016). Consequently, the minimization of medical errors will lead to better health outcomes, improving the overall perception of patient-centered care.

Implications of this solution are specifically prominent for the nursing practice. Poor remunerations, inequitable distribution of labor, and increased turnover rates had a negative impact on the nursing general attitude to work (Glette et al., 2017). Frequently depressed and underappreciated, nursing practitioners are criticized for delivering mediocre quality of care to a multitude of patients simultaneously. Lacking motivation and encouragement from the healthcare managers, nurses do not pay adequate attention to their duties, failing to provide sustainable services (Hooper, 2016). By encouraging the retired staff to return to the industry, it is possible to increase the level of motivation among the personnel, demonstrating high appreciation for the position.

Ultimately, the healthcare quality in patient-centered approach may be improved when the issue of nursing understaffing is promptly addressed. By hiring the retired nursing practitioners, it is possible to eliminate the shortage of well-trained personnel, providing education, mentorship, and support to new healthcare professionals. Though this evidence-based solution is not innovative, the effectiveness of the technique should be posed under scrutiny in the healthcare agency, responsible for the human resources management in the hospital. In other words, to achieve the best results, only highly motivated staff with exemplary work ethics should be hired. Such nursing intervention is likely to result in the higher quality patient care and more effective nursing practice. By working flexible hours and devoting more time to each patient, nurses will experience less stress and fatigue.


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, 1387-1429. Web.

Hooper, V. D. (2016). The Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing: Where are we 5 years later? Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 31(5), 367-369. Web.

Kiekkas, P., Tsekoura, V., Aretha, D., Samios, A., Konstantinou, E., Igoumenidis, M., … Fligou, F. (2019). Nurse understaffing is associated with adverse events in postanaesthesia care unit patients. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(11-12), 2245-2252. Web.

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