Retention of qualified nurses has become a vital issue in modern healthcare as more than one in five young professionals leave the profession. The turnover rate is having an impactful effect on the state of healthcare systems and quality of care for patients as it is both costly and stretches the existing workforce. A number of various factors contribute to the high nursing turnover rate, including stressful work environments and demands of the jobs. The primary purpose of this report is to investigate from various perspectives the issue of nurse turnover and its impact on patients.
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The nursing profession includes intellectual and emotional concentration. The increasing demands from the profession lead to stress which can cause depression, burnout, and poor emotional stability. This inherently leads to declining motivation and participation from nurses. Research by Nantsupawat et al. (2014) states that the work environment continuously influences the stress and satisfaction levels of a nurse. If the well-being is disrupted, a nurse is most likely to leave the job as it becomes unbearable for any reason. Consequently, turnover rates increase, particularly in young medical professionals who are unable to deal with the challenges of the profession.
In order to provide adequate levels of patient care, there should be an appropriate number of nurses on the shift. According to Martsolf et al. (2016), understaffing is correlated with poor responsiveness to patient needs as well as overall declining indicators of quality of care such as communication with patients and pain management. Since nursing is a job that requires emotional attachment and intellectual labor, it is vital to ensure nurses are more available to patients without increasing pressure on them. To achieve this, hospitals can adjust schedules, rotations, benefits, and hiring practices to achieve general improvement in the number of nurses per patient in the facility. In turn, it would decrease the turnover rates significantly if nurses felt some pressure relieved off them during stressful shifts.
Nursing professional satisfaction is considered a leading variable affecting turnover rates. Satisfaction can be based on various factors including developed resilience, managing stress levels, and support available in their personal and professional environments. Resilience allows nurses to have a greater capacity for functioning in high-stress environments and usually leads to longer professional careers. As noted by Cho et al. (2015), a lack of support resources and leadership can negatively impact satisfaction and increase turnover rates. This suggests that the influencing factors of personal well-being, workplace environmental stress, and benefits of support resources are intertwining influences in affecting professional satisfaction and retention of nurses.
High satisfaction levels amongst nurses can be achieved through practical and professional methods. Professional satisfaction inherently stems from awards, as a nurse actively and responsibly performing duties without receiving adequate compensation or support, will be dissatisfied. According to Halter et al. (2017), job satisfaction can depend on a wide variety of factors, the primary of which are rewards and promotional opportunities, workload and interest in the job, as well as interpersonal factors in terms of employee relationships and leadership. Hospitals can address this by modifying their employment practices and benefits, offering higher compensation, and ensuring high levels of satisfaction are maintained to increase performance and decrease turnover.
Turnover rates have been linked to impacting the quality of healthcare delivery which may reflect on patient well-being. This may range from a lack of patient interaction and engagement to medical errors made due to fatigue or negligence of burned-out nurses. Investigating dissatisfaction levels, Cho et al. (2015) discovered that resulting turnovers are directly correlated with rising mortality levels amongst patients. A hospital simply lacks human capital to cover all the patients which leads to suboptimal outcomes. The needs of the patients and their concerns are not being addressed if the staff is experiencing turnover and understaffing.
In order to limit the negative impact of the nurse turnover on patient outcomes, there should be an increased effort to develop commitment from nurses to the medical organization which may decrease turnover. Research by Halter et al. (2017) demonstrates that commitment becomes a positive psychological experience that leads to fruitful relationships and professional satisfaction. The workplace culture thrives as the whole staff is committed to their duty. Integration of patient-centered care, safety, and high-quality care into the training and commitment by the staff may lead to behavior change and therefore, the risk of adverse outcomes caused by nursing turnover.
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It is evident that nursing turnover is a prevalent issue in modern healthcare. It is causing expenses, poor quality of patient care, and overall disorganization of the medical organizations. Nursing turnover can be caused by high-stress environments and pressure of the job, increasing dissatisfaction and lack of a support system and leads to growth adverse patient outcomes. However, these issues can be inherently addressed at the systemic level by changing shift schedules, placing adequate support systems and offering fair compensation, and focusing on improving commitment with positive values from staff. Through competent approaches to the topic, the problem can be gradually resolved and attract more professionals to the medical field.
Cho, E., Sloane, D., Kim, E., Kim, S., Choi, M., Yoo, I…. Aiken, L. (2015). Effects of nurse staffing, work environments, and education on patient mortality: An observational study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(2), 535-542. Web.
Halter, M., Boiko, O., Pelone, F., Beighton, C., Harris, R., Gale, J., Gourlay, S., … Drennan, V. (2017). The determinants and consequences of adult nursing staff turnover: a systematic review of systematic reviews. BMC health services research, 17(1), 824.
Martsolf, G. R., Gibson, T. B., Benevent, R., Jiang, H. J., Stocks, C., Ehrlich, E. D., Kandrack, R., … Auerbach, D. I. (2016). An examination of hospital nurse staffing and patient experience with care: Differences between cross-sectional and longitudinal estimates. Health Services Research, 51(6), 2221-2241.
Nantsupawat, A., Kunaviktikul, W., Nantsupawat, R., Wichaikhum, O., Thienthong, H., & Poghosyan, L. (2016). Effects of nurse work environment on job dissatisfaction, burnout, intention to leave. International Nursing Review, 64, 91–98. Web.