Quality care of patients in hospitals and the current nursing shortages

Topics: Nursing, Hospital, Patient Pages: 4 (1203 words) Published: November 13, 2003
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According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the growing shortage of nurses in America's hospitals is putting patient lives in danger and requires immediate attention. "The current nursing shortage threatens to heavily impact our citizens' health and our nations' security preparedness". (Person, 2003) The nursing shortage that is sweeping across the United States has been upgraded from a health crisis to a national security concern. A recent study in Pennsylvania found that surgical patients in hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios experience higher rates of mortality and deaths following complications. Nurses working in these establishments tend to experience greater burnouts, job dissatisfaction, which in turn leads to poor patient care. "A recent national survey found that an astounding 75 percent of RNs feel that the quality of nursing care at their facility has declined during the past two years, with 68 percent of RNs citing staffing levels as a major contributing factor to this problem." (AFSCME, 2003)

Nurses are often pressured into taking short cuts to save hospitals money. Most of the time, this results in inadequate care provided to patients. Hospitals have found that with lower nurse to patient ratios will enhance the ability to recruit new nurses at lower costs. "Research shows there are concrete costs of inadequate RN staffing. Nurses report that they are assigned too many patients to be able to deliver optimal nursing care and adequately supervise support staff. With too many patients to care for, a hospital RN might not have time to clean a urinary catheter frequently enough to prevent a urinary tract infection. The nurse may not have enough time to ensure that a bedridden patient is turned, allowing secretions to build up in the patient's lungs resulting in pneumonia. These are among the hospital incurred infections that are preventable with appropriate...

Cited: American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). (2003) Is There Really a Nursing Shortage? The Critical Need to Bring Nurses Back to the Hospital Industry Retrieved: November 11, 2003 From: http://www.afscme.org/una/sns02.htm
ASCP Board of Directors (1996, March) ASCP Principles for Achieving Quality Care in Nursing Facilities. ASCP Online. Retrieved November 5,2003 from: http://www.ascp.com/public/pr/other/principles.shtml
Brent, Nancy. (1997). Nurses and The Law, A Guide to Principles and Applications. W.B.Saunders Company.Lamone, P. & Burke, K. (2000) 2nd ed. Clinical Handbook for Medical Surgical Nursing. Upper Saddle, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Medi-Smart. (2003) Nurse Practice Acts Retrieved November 8, 2003 from: http://www.state.de.us/research/profreg/Frame.htm
Meehan, T. (2003, October) Careful nursing: a contemporary nursing practice. Journal of Advance Nursing. Vol. 44 Issue 1, pp. 99-108.
Myers, G. (2003, February) Executive Budget Relating to Health Issues. Retrieved: November 9, 2003 from: http://www.nysna.org/programs/NPS/testimonies/budgetII.htm
Needleman, J. (2002, May). Nurse-Staffing Levels and the Quality of Care in Hospitals. The New England Journal of Medicine Online. Retrieved November 3, 2003. from: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/346/22/1715
Person, M. (2003) Retrieved November 6,2003 from: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Media/shortageresource.htm
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