Within the healthcare field we as nurses and future practitioners are faced daily with changes in our field. Whether it be current trends in healthcare, changes within our organizations or laws we embrace the changes to aid in the improvement of quality of care for the patients. Along with changes we are also faced with the many stressors that occur within our practice of work. Many stressors can occur such as issues with nurse patient ratios, healthcare breaches, and most importantly nursing shortages. The main stressor here I would like to focus on is nursing shortages with increased workloads. Retention is a key topic when addressing nursing shortage. According to Laureate Education, issues within healthcare will become more and more of a challenge for healthcare workers, therefore it is imperative to be able to adapt to the stressors (Laureate Education, 2015).
My organization is a non-profit healthcare facility. Located in Norfolk, VA we are a Level one trauma center as well as Magnet recognized organization. Working in such a facility in the heart of our community, we are faced with many challenging work shifts, difficulty workloads and most importantly a nursing shortage. I have seen in my organization units working understaffed, nursing managers and other members of leadership forced into staffing to take on patient assignments to not place the entire burden on bedside nurses. The assignments are heavier at times, the patients are a lot sicker and we seem to feel that we don’t have enough help in certain areas to properly treat our high acuity workloads. These types of issues place major stresses on staff members. Everyone becomes overwhelmed, displayed angers amongst staff, longer working hours, while feeling unappreciated at times. Over the years the nursing shortage has been a huge issue with some of the factors being lack of properly trained educators, an abundance of turnover rates as well as challenging workloads (Haddad & Tony-Butler, 2019).
Addressing Issues within Organizations
For such current issues within my organization, being in a leadership role I have seen the forefront of all that is being done to address our nursing shortage. For instance, we hold daily meetings that incorporate our staffing support services. This allows all members in our organization at the leadership level the insight on what extra staff help we have for the next few shifts. This allows everyone to critical think and plan ahead about areas where shortages may be occurring to plan for coverage of the gaps. Another area of tackling staffing issues within my organization has been incentive pay. Staffs are offered “call pay” which is extra pay for working extra shifts. Staff will be paid double pay for providing their time with covering staff shortages on certain units. This has allowed nurses to pick up extra hours to cover shortages decrease intense workloads, as well as offering a pay incentive. My organization has also extended contracts to travel nurses to work different assignments ranging 10-13 weeks. Having these nurses come in also works because those units critically short are offered help from a nurse assigned to them and only them for this period of time. Now although this is a temporary fix, we have had some of these nurses become our own staff nurses which increases our staffing. With nursing shortages in our organization, it has been more common for staff to adjust and work with what they have. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made various ways to implement measures within healthcare to support the many struggles faced in this field, therefore allowing organizations to change delivery systems for improvement of patient care (Pittman & Scully-Russ, 2016). Although we still may seem to not see much change happening, many organizations such as my own are working hard to support their team members.
Haddad LM, Toney-Butler TJ. Nursing Shortage. [Updated 2019 Jan 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493175/
Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Leading in Healthcare Organizations of the Future [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Pittman, P., & Scully-Russ, E. (2016). Workforce planning and development in times of delivery system transformation. Human Resources for Health, 14, 1–15. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1186/s12960-016-0154-3