Did you know that there is 126, 000 nursing positions unfilled in hospitals across the country ( Jackson, 2006) and the average nurse is 46 years of age? ( Alexandra, 2006). The public needs to see that the shortage of nurses is a major issue that is only going to get worse if something is not done about it. It has been shown that since the beginning of the shortage there has been an increase in mortality rates due to a increase of poor patient care. If this nursing shortage continues it will only decrease the quality of care the public receives, increase costs, make hospital stays longer, and health care less effective and efficient. Teamwork, good communication, critical thinking, and problem solving are all things that are needed in the healthcare system but are minimized due to the nursing shortage ( Buerhaus, Donelan, Ulrich, & Norman, 2007). In this professional paper many issues will be discussed such as patient care, nursing issues, communication and teamwork, research, and effects of the shortage on nursing and on society. Patient Care
When patients come into the hospital they are well aware of the kind of care that is provided for them and how they are the main focus. They are provided with the best possible care that can be provided from all health care workers. The patients don’t know what really goes on be hide the walls of their room and what the nurse really all does, not only for the them, but everyone else. Nurses assess changes in their health and if a change is needed they make it and accommodate, catch medical errors that could safe the patient’s life, use teamwork with the healthcare team to ensure care is efficient, advocate for patients who cant speak for them selves or the doctors don’t agree with what is being Shortage 3
said, administer many medications all at one time for many different patients and ordered by different physicians and could be incompatible with one another. Not only do nurses do this they also answer the call bells that never stop ringing, health teach patients, listen carefully, keep all their assigned patient’s pain under control, keep the area quite and have all this done for 8-12 patients depending on the area or hospital ( Murphy, 2007). The nursing shortage cases a lot of problems with the nursing care to the patients. This is because the shortage causes the nurses who are still in the nursing field to work harder to make up for the nurses needed. This causes burn out and stress levels to rise. The nurses get tired and this doesn’t allow them to complete the work the best they can. This then involves patient safety. Nurses cant work with the efficiently and most effectively if they are stressed out and tired. ( Buerhaus, Donelan, Ulrich, & Norman, 2007). Since patient care isn’t as good as it should be patients are having to stay longer in the hospitals due to complications. This takes up beds for longer periods of times and being there is already a bed shortage it only makes it worse. Patients who are ill come into the emergency and are admitted but have no bed to go to, so they must be kept in the emerge until one opens. This then takes up beds and rooms in the emerge causing a longer wait in the out patient part of the emergency department ( Kaestner, 2005). Just a few interesting facts to think about: Ninety percent of long term care facilities are lacking nurses so much that they cant even provide their residents with the most basic cares, Home healthcare organizations are being forced to not accept new admissions needing them, and 81% of the public is aware of the shortage, 65% thinks it’s a huge issue and 93% think it effects the care they receive ( Jackson, 2006). Shortage 4
The average age of the nurses of today is about 45 and by 2010 it will be up to 50. This is because of all the baby boomers and shortage starting in the late 1990’s ( Jackson, 2006). The shortage of nurses has put a strain on...