An issue/stressor that has impacted the healthcare field is the nursing shortage. The nursing shortage has been at an all time high this year. “Currently, the national average for turnover rates is 8.8% to 37.0%” (Haddad, et.al, 2022) in 2022 of nurses leaving the nursing field. The COVID pandemic has had a great effect on increasing the turnover rates, because it has caused nurses to burnout. “ Nurses are considering leaving the profession in large numbers after bearing too much of the burden of the country’s response to the pandemic” (Zhavoronkova, et.al 2022). During the COVID pandemic nurses not only had to work in unsafe working conditions, but they had more patients than ever before.
I work on a medical-surgical/telemetry unit where our patient ratio is 1:5. We are only allowed to have 3 telemetry patients at one time as well. During the COVID pandemic we had up to 7 patients with 5-6 telemetry patients which is very unsafe. They also extended our floor giving us 10 extra beds, which meant that less nurses were taking on more patients. Before the pandemic we had a total of 6 nurses, but after just a few short months 4 of these nurses had quit, leaving just myself and another nurse making things very hard. There were days that whole floors had to be shut down and people had to be transferred to different floors, because there was no staff to take care of the patients. Many nurses left due to these unsafe conditions “A study of 422,730 surgical patients in 9 European countries showed that patients were more likely to die 30 days after admission when the nurses workload was increased by 1 patient” (Bourgault, n.d). It’s hard to take care of patients with such a big workload.
To deal with this issue the manager attempted to hire more staff, but people would come in for a few days and would quit, because of the intense workload. The manager had to then hire travel nurses to help us take care of the patients, but the travel nurses would also only be there for a limited amount of weeks, which would make us short again. The nursing shortage is still occurring on our floor with staff getting hired and quitting at the same time. If the workload wasn’t so heavy, maybe more nurses would be willing to stay, but even now the patient ratio hasn’t returned to normal yet it’s still 1:6.
Bourgault, A. (n.d.). The Nursing Shortage and Work Expectations Are in Critical Condition: Is Anyone Listening? AACNjournals.org. https://aacnjournals.org/ccnonline/article/42/2/8/31717/The-Nursing-Shortage-and-Work-Expectations-Are-in
Haddad, L., Annamaraju, P., & Butler, T. (2022, February 22). Nursing Shortage. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493175/Links to an external site.
Zhavoronkova, M., Custer, B., & Neal, A. (2022, June 7). How to ease the nursing shortage in America. Center for American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/article/how-to-ease-the-nursing-shortage-in-america/