Free Essay Example on Addressing Nursing Shortage: Educational Background, Expertise

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  990 Words
Date:  2023-10-15


Addressing the problem of nursing shortage in the country’s health care sector does not only focus on the overall number of the nurses but also other factors such as the educational background of the nurse, dictated by complex rapidly developing patient care delivery, expanding the scope of expertise and knowledge, and technology (McHugh, 2010). Numerous studies have linked adequate staffing of nurses in a healthcare facility to a positive influence on the patients' outcome. As such, staffing is a key factor in determining the success of a healthcare unit since it affects every stakeholder in the nursing facility. In most cases, staffing challenges hinder professional nurses' ability to deliver quality care to patients and their families. By championing safe staffing policies and practices in various healthcare sectors, nurses can deliver quality care to any patient (McHugh, 2010).

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In the “Staffing issues interactive cases study, " the NICU nurses are dramatically worried about their patients' safety since they are getting overworked. As depicted by the working schedule, some nurses in the healthcare facility work up to 9 days without a break. Some have been forced to work for months in extra mandatory shifts, leading to the nurses being highly fatigued and less motivated. The nurses are desperate to be relived from their duties by new nurses so that they can create time and spend a significant fraction of their free time with their families like other people. Apart from being fatigued and tired, the nurses are concerned about making medical errors or delivering low-quality care to the patient, which may negatively impact the patients’ safety.

Personal Experience

I have worked as a student nurse for about one year, and in almost all the healthcare facilities, I have experienced staffing issues. I am currently working at a healthcare facility where somedays I act as the admission nurse. As a result of inadequate staffing, I am often forced to attend to numerous duties simultaneously. As such, I feel the degree of frustration that the nurses I work with go through. Moreover, I can effectively relate my experiences to the nurses in the “Staffing issues interactive cases study” because the current ration of nurses to patients in the health care facility is 10patients to 1 nurse, which translates to a heavy workload for the nurses. When the turn over of patients is high, we only have our meals after completion of the shifts since the number of nurses is fixed with no potential free nurses to relive us from our duties. Adequate staffing of nurses is necessary to ensure that nurses uphold the nursing values. Moreover, our shifts are scheduled to last for 12 hours, but we are obliged to work for 14 hours leading to fatigue and exhaustion.

Ensuring a balance inpatient to nurse ration has several positive benefits to both the nurses and the patients. Optimum staffing of nurses makes it possible for a healthcare facility to track and measure its success. Currently, fourteen states in the United States of America have set laws to address nursing staffing issues. However, 13 of those states have laws that generally give an outline of the patient to nurse ratio but doe not regulate the ration to a restricted number (Rogowski et al., 2013). California is the only state in America where its laws dictate a required minimum for the nurse to patient ratio in all healthcare facilities. Moreover, its laws dictate that every nurse should be given mandatory breaks, vacation days, and days off. Also, in Massachusetts, the legislators enacted a law that directs all the intensive units care to maintain a staffing ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 as dictated by stability of the patient (Rogowski et al., 2013). The laws act as game-changers to the nurses as they can maintain their focus and consistently deliver quality care to the patients.

Understaffing Challenges

There are several reasons for the existence of nurses understaffing challenges in the country's health care sector. For instance, most healthcare facilities are operating under a relatively low budget, and in some healthcare settings, profit-making is the driving force of operation. Consequently, the healthcare workers' budget is drastically cut, leading to a shortage of staff and an unpleasant work environment for a few available nurses (Rogowski et al., 2013). Nurses can effectively address these challenges through advocacy; this can be done through a joint effort with the various existing professional organizations and the legislators to ensure that the health of the patient is given the necessary priority and that the well being of the nurses is comprehensively considered through addressing the staffing issues and the unaccommodating work environment.

Furthermore, ensuring flexibility in the nurse staffing allows for accommodation of the necessary changes designed to ensure the provision of quality care to the patients. Such changes include attending to patients with the necessary intensity, regulating the numbers of admissions, transfers, and discharges, effectively controlling the shifts of the nurses and how they attend to the patients, and optimum use of the available resources to deliver quality care (McHugh, 2010). Numerous achievements can be realized, and the benefits can be associated with the nature of the staffing model in use. Considering the nature of the patient-to-nurse ratio makes it simple for a healthcare facility to effectively adjust the shifts and working hours of the nurses without necessarily overworking them.


Adequate nurse staffing has various benefits to the patients, nurses, and the entire facility. Proper staffing reduces the instances of nurses making medical and medication errors, which may harm the patient. The patient is also relieved from unnecessary expenses, such as those that might be incurred due to unplanned readmissions (McHugh, 2010).


McHugh, M. D. (2010). Special features: Health Policy: Hospital nurse staffing and public health emergency preparedness: Policy implications. Public Health Nursing, 27(5), 442-449.

Rogowski, J. A., Staiger, D., Patrick, T., Horbar, J., Kenny, M., & Lake, E. T. (2013). Nurse staffing and NICU infection rates. JAMA pediatrics, 167(5), 444-450. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.18

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