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Analysis of a National Healthcare Issue
As was mentioned in the discussion assignment review, there is a wide variety of subject matter from which to select and an extensive array of problems within the healthcare realm. Each clinician within their profession has their viewpoint regarding which of these stressors immediately need changing. From my standpoint, there is a significant challenge with the nursing shortage, which is deteriorating by reducing the number of nursing faculty members and the number of available spaces in nursing programs (Perkins, 2021). That is one of the problems, but several other factors add to the issue. The nursing shortage is one of the substantial stressors that affect my job and the overall morale of the nursing staff within the organization. This staffing issue has been an issue for a considerable amount of time, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after the COVID outbreak, the staffing problem escalated from bad to worse. Many professionals, including myself, are now dealing with the nursing shortage, and this discussion will examine its implications.
Predictions assume that the nursing profession will maintain its position as one of the top professions in terms of overall employment growth within the next ten years (Perkins, 2021). The number of registered nurses working in the United States will predictably grow by 7 percent between 2019 and 2029, resulting in an additional 221,900 nurses working in the field (Perkins, 2021). There has been an annual departure from the nursing labor market of around 60,000 registered nurses during the last nine years (Perkins, 2021). Over one million registered nurses will be eligible for retirement in the United States during the next ten to fifteen years (Perkins, 2021). Nurses are in low supply for a variety of reasons. Poor working conditions, a rise in patients, increased rates of violence within the healthcare system, nurses retiring, difficulty retaining newly graduated nurses, a lack of seats in nursing programs, and a shortage of nursing instructors are sources (Perkins, 2021).
The COVID-19 epidemic has had a devastating effect on patients, families, healthcare professionals, and healthcare organizations (Buerhaus, 2021). As the highly infectious Delta strain spread and the number of patients admitted to hospitals rose, more and more emphasis was placed on the nursing shortage (Buerhaus, 2021). Despite the decline in the number of nurses available for work, the ratio of nurses to patients has increased since the epidemic’s beginning (Perkins, 2021). In addition, as a result of the nursing crisis, demand for and use of travel nurses increased. The current workplace stress makes nurses more likely to be unhappy with the current work conditions, quit, and leave the nursing profession altogether (Perkins, 2021). So, the predictions posted earlier about nursing maintaining growth, will this still be accurate in months, years from now?
Nursing Shortage Issue Impact on Work Setting
Currently, I work in a correctional facility. Before the pandemic, the organization was experiencing a scarcity of nurses; working in a correctional facility is not typically something most nurses desire. Following the outbreak, the situation rapidly deteriorated. Due to the tight quarters of the convicts and the inability to adequately isolate and control the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the disease spreads quickly inside the prison system. When nurses were absent due to COVID, the organization and employees were overwhelmed with the amount of work and not enough staff. The management grew anxious and resentful, and they took their frustrations out on the existing workers. Almost immediately soon after, employees proceeded to resign; one by one, each week, they began to hand in their notices and leave the organization. Until we had reached a point below the minimum nurses required per shift. A few nurses have stayed and continued to work through the issues.
The first modification implemented by corporate was terminating the existing management and bringing in corporate managers to attempt to rebuild and reorganize the organization. They then hired many travel/agency nurses to fill the void while trying to hire staff that they could retain. In addition, they provided a one-time incentive in the form of a bonus for those who worked additional shifts. However, once they had sufficient travel nurses to cover shifts, they discontinued providing remuneration to the staff members who were already employed by the institution. Unfortunately, the travel nurses’ contracts will expire, and most of them will not extend their contracts to remain in their current positions. In the end, they brought in new management and gave them the necessary training to fill the position.
There is a significant amount of complexity around the nurse shortage. Altering the workplace culture and showing nurses who remain loyal to their employers more respect would be a good starting point. In addition, the problem of burnout among nurses further complicates a situation that is already problematic. Considering burnout is often the consequence of insufficient staffing levels and excessive job stress, which lead nurses to quit the profession, the pattern will continue until the scarcity of nurses and the necessity of having them are determined. My most significant concern is for leadership to step up and commit to working and respectfully collaborating with staff, which results in an effective nursing team based on trust and reverence. According to Boller (2017), “Power with relies on relationships of respect, stakeholder engagement, and multisector approaches, resulting in co-created power”.
Boller, J. (2017). Nurse educators: Leading health care to the quadruple aim sweet spot. Journal
of Nursing Education, 56(12), 707-708. https://doi.org/10.3928/01484834-20171120-01
Buerhaus, P. I. (2021). Current Nursing Shortages Could Have Long-Lasting Consequences:
Time to Change Our Present Course. Nursing Economic$, 39(5), 247–250.
Perkins, A. (2021). The nursing shortage: Consequences and solutions. Nursing Made Incredibly
Easy!, 19(5), 49–54. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NME.0000767268.61806.d9