2020 ). nursing leaders could conclude W r i t i n g
I need a response to the post below: Short staffing is not a new concern for the nursing profession, however during the past two years with the stresses of COVID, the relief packages and stimulus checks, finding a job may not have been a top concern of many. Currently in the operating room department of the facility I work in, between employees quitting because of higher expectations for lower wages and burnout, and employees retiring we are currently running the entire operating room with six employees. This includes nurses, surgical techs, and central sterile processing technicians. We currently do not have a manager or a director for our unit.
With the current staffing shortage, the six employees we do have working the department are having to pick up many extra roles that they are not being compensated for. We are working 15+ extra hours a week and having to sign up for an excess amount of night on call sometimes as many as 20 nights a month.
With less staff doing more work, working longer hours, and taking this much call, there will be mistakes made and patient outcomes will suffer. Some impacts a patient may experience include lapses of continuity in treatment, risk of medication errors, greater risk of medical errors, and risk of infections (The 2021 American nursing shortage: A data study 2021).
Specific data that could be used to track the number of errors in care related to staffing issues include, how many staff members where on the unit each day, how many surgical cases were completed each day, how many hours each team member has worked currently, and how many hours of call each team member is assigned each week. This information could easily be tracked using the time clock system, regular shift schedule and call schedule. Other data that would be important includes what type of error occurred such as medication error, wrong site surgery or surgical site infection. With this collection of data, we could gather how short staffed the unit was, how many hours the nurse had been working, if they were on call the night before, how rushed they had been based on the days case load and how all of the theses factors may have contributed to the error. Nursing shortages lead to errors, higher morbidity, and mortality rates. In hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios, nurses experience burnout, dissatisfaction, and the patients experienced higher mortality and failure-to-rescue rates than facilities with lower patient-to-nurse ratios (Haddad, 2020).
Nursing leaders could conclude from this data, that more errors occurred when nurses where short staffed, over worked and burnt out. Errors of any kind are a financial burden to the healthcare system. The cost of adequately staffing a unit should not take precedence over patient safety and nurse satisfaction. It seems the growing pains of the healthcare industry will continue to be felt as our nation tries to find solutions for many of the issues we face. Many organizations have made significant progress in helping to address the nursing shortage by offering incentives and better opportunities; however, the gap remains (Hastings, 2021).
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