The purpose of this presentation is to discuss: patient safety, nursing shortage, internal evidence of nursing shortage, organizational priority for intervention, quality improvement project, and outcomes expected after dealing with nursing shortage.
What we mean by “patient safety” is ensuring that every effort has been made to prevent avoidable medical mistakes (Perkins, 2021). Objectives include decreasing the likelihood of medical mistakes and protecting patients from unnecessary suffering. It has been estimated that the yearly cost of medication errors worldwide is US$ 42 billion (Perkins, 2021). Seven out of every one hundred patients in high-income nations and ten out of every one hundred patients in low- and middle-income countries get health care-associated infections while hospitalized. Around 5% of individuals in outpatient care settings have a diagnostic mistake, with 50% of those having the potential to cause very serious injury (Perkins, 2021). Nursing shortage will be our focus in this presentation.
Better patient outcomes, shorter hospital stays, and lower death rates are all connected with higher staffing numbers. The scarcity of nurses is a potential health care system meltdown. The demand for medical care in the United States is rising at an unprecedented pace as the population ages. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, all 73 million members of the baby-boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964) will be 65 or older by the year 2030 (Perkins, 2021). Health care needs among the elderly population are increasing as individuals are living longer. There is a loss of quality professors due to competition from clinical and private sector employers, who may offer better compensation and working conditions. The already serious issue of COVID-19 has only become worse, with an estimated 47% of healthcare professionals having left or considering leaving the industry (Perkins, 2021).
According to research conducted here at our healthcare institution, the responses were uniform across all practice areas, ages, and levels of experience. Although just 1 in 10 polled nurses are content in their present roles, 36 percent say they’d prefer to remain in their jobs if certain improvements were implemented. Nurses have expressed a desire for better income, improved working conditions, and job security. Overall, nurses have more work to do with fewer tools at their disposal. The patient-to-nurse ratio in the pre-covid ICU was typically 1:1 or 2:1. Currently, intensive care unit nurses throughout the nation face a 3:1 or 4:1 patient-to-nurse ratio, which increases the risk of nurse fatigue and patient harm. Nurses are overburdened and overworked to the point that they can’t devote enough time to each patient.
There are now over 3.9 million RNs in the United States, and it is predicted that more than 500,000 RNs will retire by 2022 (Pal et al., 2022). In order to avert a shortage, 1.1 million additional RNs will be required, with most of that increase attributable to the requirement to replace retiring nurses. The proportion of registered nurses aged 55 to 64 who anticipate retiring or leaving the profession within the next two years more than quadrupled between 2018 and 2020, according to Pal et al. (2022). Also, nursing schools are experiencing faculty shortages, trouble arranging clinical experiences for students, and restrictive state rules, all of which have contributed to a decline in enrolment, making it more challenging to educate the next generation of nurses. Increased nurse staffing has been shown to reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes (Pal et al., 2022).
When there aren’t enough nurses to go around, the remaining staff still has to do all that needs doing. However, the quality of treatment might suffer when nurses work longer hours because they are more likely to make mistakes. Missed nurse treatment is directly linked to negative hospital care views because of staffing shortages (Jarosinski et al., 2021). Understaffed hospitals have a higher in-hospital mortality rate, infection rates, post-operative problems, and patient falls. The capacity of overworked nurses to make quick and accurate medical evaluations might be compromised by exhaustion or burnout. Having fewer nurses available to care for patients and manage administrative duties forces emergency patients to wait. Overworked nurses may make fatal mistakes in dosing patients with medicines because they have so much on their plates (Jarosinski et al., 2021). A balanced nurse-to-patient ratio in hospitals would prevent this from happening.
It is predicted that the nurse shortage will worsen by the year 2030 (Jarosinski et al., 2021). Reduced nursing shortages could start with attentive listening to nurses’ concerns. In the healthcare industry, staff members have been underappreciated for far too long. When morale is low, this may lead to a toxic workplace culture. Nurses need to know that their efforts are valued and appreciated. Nurse executives should prioritize retention above everything else. Nurse retention may be improved by reducing shift duration and overtime. Jarosinski et al. (2021) reports that more nurse educators are needed to help deal with the current nursing shortage. We should reach out to RNs who are nearing retirement age to fill the demand for additional nurse educators. Technology can help with healthcare’s urgent need for an overhaul.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) has updated its “Principles for Nurse Staffing,” a document intended to serve as a guide for nurses and other healthcare professionals as they craft nurse staffing policies (Credland, 2021). Good staffing standards that account for the unique needs of nurses are essential in every context. When there are enough nurses on staff, patients don’t have to worry about experiencing the kinds of complications that might extend their hospital stay. Increased nurse-to-patient ratios improve treatment for all patients. Credland (2021) maintains that as a result, effectiveness in care coordination and cooperation may improve.
Credland, N. (2021). ICU nursing shortage can no longer be ignored. Emergency Nurse, 29(1), 14-14.
Jarosinski, J. M., Seldomridge, L., Reid, T. P., & Willey, J. (2021). Nurse faculty shortage. Nurse Educator, 47(3), 151-155.
Pal, A. D., Bowler, F., Flynn Makic, M. B., & Estes, K. R. (2022). Virtual simulation for advanced practice registered nurse students: Adapting to shortage of clinicals. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 18(5), 563-568.
Perkins, A. (2021). Nursing shortage. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, 19(5), 49-54.