As a nurse working in healthcare, it is vital to provide safe, quality care to my patients despite the limitations of resources. To provide this care, policy is developed to regulate care and protect nurses. Such policies may include controlling patient to nurse ratios and policies to protect patients’ confidential information. Policy, however; is influenced by completing resources.
Many competing needs affect the nurse shortage. The primary goal of a healthcare worker is to provide safe quality care to patients. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations also must work to operate at a sustainable cost. The balance of profitability and quality of care can be hard to maintain. Moreover, the healthcare company must balance the quality of the employee’s life (Akinleye et al., 2019).
Due to nurse shortages, healthcare workers must continue to work in high stress environments. These high stress environments are aggravated by high patient loads, complex patients, and high acuity of patients. This is combined with less time to manage tasks and a lack of resources to accomplish day-to-day tasks. The nursing shortage contributes to a healthcare organization having to allocate this high number of critically acute patients to a single nurse in efforts to increase profit. For this reason, policies are needed to ensure safe, quality care while saving money (Akinleye et al., 2019).
Nurse burnout can also contribute to nurse shortages. At my facility, many nurses left bedside after the strenuous COVID-19 season. Studies have shown that workers during the pandemic worked longer hours with more acutely sick patients (Lopez et al., 2021). For this reason, I would conclude that the pandemic was a competing factor in nurse shortages. My healthcare organization tried to develop policies to help nurses achieve adequate work-life balance. For example, the hospital established a policy that provided an opportunity for nurses to get discounted prices at the wellness center.
A factor that may also contribute to the stressor of the nurse shortage is the need for a facility to adopt technology. A healthcare facility might need nurses, however; leadership might choose to direct their financial resources toward maintaining health information technology versus recruitment or hiring needs (Kelly & Porr, 2018).
Several things can be done to address these completing needs. First, policy can be made to enhance educational resources for nurses. For example, if a nurse that typically works on a medical surgical floor is required to work in a critical care unit due to shortage of available critical care workers, this nurse needs to be educated throughout. If these nurses are provided better education safe quality care can be achieved. Moreover, as I mentioned before, the pandemic added another level to patient care. Education of the virus and its effects on the body system would be beneficial. According to a study, nurses do not always feel adequately trained to care for these individuals (Sperling, 2021).
Akinleye, D. D., McNutt, L. A., Lazariu, V., & McLaughlin, C. C. (2019). Correlation between hospital finances and quality and safety of patient care. PLOS ONE, 14(8), e0219124. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219124
Kelly, P., & Porr, C. (2018). Ethical Nursing Care Versus Cost Containment: Considerations to Enhance RN Practice. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.3912/ojin.vol23no01man06
Lopez, V., Anderson, J., West, S., & Cleary, M. (2021). Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Further Impact Nursing Shortages? Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 43(3), 293–295. https://doi.org/10.1080/01612840.2021.1977875
Roth, I., Thompson-Lastad, A., & Thomas, A. U. (2020). The Quadruple Aim as a Framework for Integrative Group Medical Visits. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 26(4), 261–264. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2019.0425
Sperling, D. (2021). Nurses’ challenges, concerns and unfair requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak. Nursing Ethics, 28(7–8), 1096–1110. https://doi.org/10.1177/09697330211005175