Nursing practice is associated with diverse challenges associated with demographic and economic aspects. The COVID-19 pandemic made these problems in the U.S. healthcare system more pronounced. Some of the most burning issues American nurses have to face are nurse understaffing and workplace safety which are considerable obstacles to the provision of high-quality care (Lee Walton & Rogers, 2017). Policymakers, researchers, and practitioners try to develop effective strategies to address these challenges, but these efforts are yet to meet the needs of nursing professionals.
Understaffing is one of the major issues American health care is experiencing. Population aging is one of the contributing factors, but institutional and organizational challenges are regarded as equally influential (Metcalf et al., 2018). Low wages, long working hours, shiftwork, low prestige of the profession, demanding working conditions, and high patient expectations are some of the causes of the problem. Nurse shortage leads to lower quality of provided healthcare services, higher turnover of the medical staff, and negative patient outcomes. In order to address the issue, policymakers and healthcare administrators try to employ technological advances with a focus on information systems aimed at improving the decision-making process. Mathematical modeling is one of the strategies utilized by administrators to try to ensure proper staffing (Svirsko et al., 2019). Flexible shifts and breaks are also seen as beneficial options that can reduce the problem of understaffing. Teamwork and training are other solutions that reduce nurse turnover, which has a positive effect on staffing. Clearly, such institutional changes as increased funding are also necessary to improve the situation.
The other challenge to be discussed in this post is workplace safety which is related to the one mentioned above. The shortage of nursing professionals leads to excessive workload, which, in its turn, results in medical errors, lower alertness, higher rates of injuries and infections, as well as mental health problems (Lee Walton & Rogers, 2017). One the example of injuries is a higher risk of the development of musculoskeletal disorders among nurses who have to help patients with limited mobility (Soylar & Ozer, 2018). In order to address such challenges, healthcare administrators try to ensure the availability of the necessary equipment. When it comes to biological and chemical hazards, training is seen as the most effective strategy to address the issue (Barrientos-Trigo et al., 2018). Posters, leaflets, reminders, and reporting are instrumental in reducing the rate of infected or injured nurses. The provision of appropriate uniforms and footwear also leads to decreased injuries and a lower incidence of fatigue. Mentorship and teamwork are methods aimed at addressing mental health issues nurses tend to develop.
To sum up, it is possible to note that understaffing and workplace safety are some of the most burning issues policymakers, administrators, researchers, and practitioners are yet to address. The solutions currently utilized to solve these challenges are mainly associated with organizational measures. Healthcare administrators try to meet nurses’ needs by utilizing effective information systems, appropriate equipment, as well as staff training and development programs. One of the basic problems contributing to the prevalence of the challenges mentioned above is insufficient, or rather inefficient, funding of the overall healthcare system. It is also important to implement further research on the matter to identify the causes and effects of the issues. The evaluation of the effectiveness of the undertaken measures is another area that requires comprehensive inquiry.
Barrientos-Trigo, S., Vega-Vázquez, L., De Diego-Cordero, R., Badanta-Romero, B., & Porcel-Gálvez, A. M. (2018). Interventions to improve working conditions of nursing staff in acute care hospitals: Scoping review. Journal of Nursing Management, 26(2), 94-107. Web.
Lee Walton, A. M., & Rogers, B. (2017). Workplace hazards faced by nursing assistants in the United States: A focused literature review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(5), 544-569. Web.
Metcalf, A. Y., Wang, Y., & Habermann, M. (2018). Hospital unit understaffing and missed treatments: Primary evidence. Management Decision, 56(10), 2273-2286. Web.
Soylar, P., & Ozer, A. (2018). Evaluation of the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in nurses: A systematic review. Medicine Science | International Medical Journal, 7(3), 479-485. Web.
Svirsko, A. C., Norman, B. A., Rausch, D., & Woodring, J. (2019). Using mathematical modeling to improve the emergency department nurse-scheduling process. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 45(4), 425-432. Web.