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Health, Medicine, Nursing
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Nursing Shortages' Effect on Patient Care (Research Paper Sample)


It was a research paper for customer on the topic Nursing Shortages\' Effect on Patient Care.


Nursing Shortages' Effect on Patient Care
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Nursing Shortages' Effect on Patient Care
Nurse shortage is defined in relation to existing levels of demands that are not met either in the present or in the past and also in the comparison of existing nurses and those still in the institutions of learning. This deficit of nurse services has been observed among many healthcare facilities in the United States where there are instances of ageing nurse who do not get replaced being replaced. Notably, most retirements of the aged nurses are not being replaced by an equivalent number of new nurses. Buchan and Aiken (2008) lament that the shortage is not quantifiable, but it is much characterized by few nurses who are to fill up an enormous gap of vacant position in the healthcare center. Major consideration of this shortage is not in the terms of the unemployed nurses working in private clinic center but majorly on the Registered Nurses (RNs) who are less in number in government healthcare facilities (Bureau of Health Professions, 2004).
There is no positive benefit of nurse shortage to any country or the medical field worldwide. Shortages of nurses adversely affect the patients’ health where they lack adequate care for quick recovery. On the financial outlook this shortage affects the hospital by the high mortality rate translated by loss of the funds invested to the sick person in the hope of recovery. Death is also loss to the country labor and skill resources. Death is a loss by itself where with adequate staff; a hospital could be able to give quality and timely healthcare to each patient.
In a study by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Aiken observes the high mortality rates that can result from the inadequacy of nurse services within the hospital operation. There is the idea that if the nurses in a healthcare facility are few, then the present ones are overworked. The effect is spread to other staff like the physicians where for example when in an operation with few nurses they may have a lot to do which can result to errors. The American Medical Association (2002) notes the resultant effect of shortage observing that few nurses in a big healthcare facility are overworked which results to burning out or losing their morale in carrying out their duties of care. High levels of this overworking result into frustration making many of the nurses quit working. This makes the situation more pathetic: a hopeless situation where the facility needs nurses but the available ones are quitting. From these facts it is clear that a hospital needs adequate nurses to have them for long and be able to give quality care has not been achieved satisfactorily yet.
Recent projections have shown that the shortage is on an upward trend. Nurses being given out to the market from the schools of nursing are not adequate to feed the market demands. The same has been observed on the enrollment trends. There are people willing to be nurses but the schools are few or have few positions judged by the size of the institutions. As said earlier, hospitals are affected by the retirements that are not being replaced by an equivalent number from the market. The new jobs created out of the retirement and from those who quit the service have not been replaced.
Quality of care is majorly affected by this shortage. Patent health is affected negatively by poor health care which is possible due to lack of nurses or in the situation of an overworked nurse. A tired person can never be efficient in giving care. Hospitals as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (2011) report should work as a team. Nursing will be effective when done within a tem. Where the team is lacking some members as in this shortage, it may not function effectively. Hospital managements have grown used to the shortage. A number of them do not associate patient safety with conditions surrounding their staff especially the nurses. They seem to have given up from the high turnovers they have not been able to control.
The Journal of Medical Association relates the shortage in a ratio to the mortality rates. The number of nurses is directly proportional to the patient deaths. With high number of nurses there is complete or good monitoring of patient progress and vice versa to few numbers. When there is a close watch the patient health’s is monitored having immediate actions taken in case of adverse changes which cannot be possible with few nurses. In addition, nurses who have worked adequate hours without being overworked have been observed to be hospitable to patients giving them quality care.
Delays in giving care are common in this situation. With the shortage, sick persons are not admitted into the hospital as quick as the urgency demands. There is much queuing and waiting for many patients before they are received and taken care of. It is a sad thing when a patient dies within the hospital environs where just a single injection could have saved their life. An example can be that of Asthmatic patients or pneumonia that needs quick care in case has a blockage of bronchioles. With enough nurses such patients can be rec...
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