Problems Associated With A Nationwide Shortage Of Nurses

1366 Words6 Pages
With a nationwide shortage of nurses, nursing care is becoming a limited health resource. Short staffing is a critical concern because many studies link staffing levels to safe client care. Unfortunately, some facilities continue to staff nursing units with fewer registered nurses and more unlicensed caregivers. When this occurs, nurses become concerned that staffing in their institutions is not adequate to ensure client safety, much less to allow them to provide the level of care that they value. California is the only state that has enacted legislation mandating specific nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals and other healthcare settings (Alexander, 2015). This is not the simple solution that it seems. Some organizations are forced to…show more content…
The proportion of nurses to non-nurses working in locations that provide direct nursing care has decreased in recent years. Some of these reductions are due to hospitals cutting nursing staff and replacing them with unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP’s) as a measure to contain costs. Another factor is the increasing demand for nurses to work in new roles, such as leaving bedside nursing for case management roles as another way to contain costs. As a result in these reductions, some nurses feel that they can no longer provide quality health care, experience disillusionment, and end up leaving the profession. Many newly qualified nurses begin their careers with strong ideals and standards but after just two years of working, many became discouraged and disillusioned (Patterson, 2011). Better staffing levels could alleviate stress and allow nurses to practice with the standard of care they should, preventing burnout and job dissatisfaction. With a growing body of evidence to support the idea that low staffing levels increase patient mortality and adverse events, it is important to look at what ideal staffing is. The Victoria levels are used in the state of California and in Victoria, Australia to set standard ratios of nurse to patients. In California, the ratio has been set at 1:5 for medical and surgical wards, with an eventual aim of 1:4 for both public and private hospitals (Patterson, 2011). In Victoria, the ratio is the same, but only for public
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