Nursing Shortage and Burnout
Students will identify a specific evidence-based topic for the capstone project change proposal. Students should consider the clinical environment in which they are currently employed or have recently worked. The capstone project topic can be a clinical practice problem, an organizational issue, a leadership or quality improvement initiative, or an unmet educational need specific to a patient population or community. The student may also choose to work with an interprofessional collaborative team.
Students should select a topic that aligns to their area of interest as well as the clinical practice setting in which practice hours are completed.
Write a 500-750 word description of your proposed capstone project topic. Include the following:
The problem or issue, intervention, quality initiative, educational need, or collaborative interprofessional team project that will be the focus of the change proposal.
The setting or context in which the problem or issue, intervention, quality initiative, educational need, or collaborative interprofessional team project can be observed.
A description (providing a high level of detail) regarding the problem or issue, intervention, quality initiative, educational need, or collaborative interprofessional team project.
Effect of the problem or issue, intervention, quality initiative, educational need, or collaborative interprofessional team project.
Significance of the topic and its implications for nursing practice.
A proposed solution to the identified project topic with an explanation of how it will affect nursing practice.
You are required to cite to a minimum of eight peer-reviewed sources to complete this assignment. Sources must be published within the last 5 years, appropriate for the assignment criteria, and relevant to nursing practice. Plan your time accordingly to complete this assignment.
This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
Nurse Shortage and Burnout
The healthcare system is a very delicate sector that deals with the general population’s health, including the healthcare practitioners, and thus high levels of professionalism and resources should be accorded to the system. The system relies on healthcare providers such as physicians, clinicians, nurses, and assistant physicians, among other professionals, and thus, any lack of professionalism or shortage may disrupt the general operations of the healthcare system. Nurses play a central role in the system, offering primary and secondary disease prevention services. According to AACN (2021), the nursing profession is the largest within the healthcare sector, with more than 3.8 million nurses working in the United States, 84.5% of the RNs working as nurses, and the rest working in different roles within the healthcare system. The demand for nurses is predicted to increase over the next years, with more than 200,000 RNs being required every year (AACN, 2021). This indicates that there is a risk of an increased shortage of nurses in the future. This is a change proposal paper focusing on the issue of nurse shortage in the hospitals that form the most basic set of nursing practice.
The nursing shortage issue can be effectively observed in the hospitals where there are regular patient visits with various levels of chronicity requiring nurses’ attention. Nurses are majorly tasked with clinical roles in the hospitals, especially in intensive care units, maternity wards, and general care units. This shows that it is in the hospitals where there can be closer monitoring of the issue and identify its impact and interventions on service delivery. The hospitals carry the largest population of nurses and the patient care centers in need of care and thus should be highly focused. According to ECPI University (2020), 61% of the nurses in the United States work in the hospital setting and in clinical roles, an indication that is the most loaded healthcare effective for evaluation. Community nursing is essential for consideration, but the hospitals are the best in acquiring consistent population and nurse-patient ratios and events.
Nurse shortage can be defined as an inadequacy in the number of nurses per workload, which is interpreted as the nurse-patient ratio. According to Sharma and Rani (2020), the nurse-to-patient ratio should be smaller for the effective performance of the nurses, and the standard ratio is 1:3, indicating that one nurse should have a maximum of 3 patients at a time. The issue of nurse shortage leads to numerous challenges, including nurse burnout, poor quality of service delivery, and increased risks in the delivery of healthcare services (Garcia et al., 2019; Haddad et al., 2020). When nurses are few in a hospital, they are forced to work for extra hours and intensively contribute to nursing burnout closely associated with safety issues in the delivery of care. A study by Pérez-Francisco et al. (2020) on the impact of nurse burnout on the safety of patients, high levels of nurse burnout lead to confusion and low concentration in delivery of care, thus increasing the safety risks in delivering patient care. According to the study, most of the nurses in primary care nursing suffer health issues due to burnout syndrome, a situation that contributes to impaired quality of care and general patient safety.
Nurse shortage limits the timeliness of accessing quality healthcare among patients since nurses can only serve one patient at a time, and thus, many patients face delayed care which is a risk for chronicity and death. Through a study, Griffiths et al. (2019) established that nurse understaffing in hospitals has been associated with increased mortality rates due to safety issues and delayed care, with the study recording a 4.1% increase in the mortality rate. This shows that nurse shortage and burnout are very delicate issues in the healthcare system that requires close attention to decrease the nurse-patient ratio. The effect of the nurse shortage and burnout issue in the healthcare system extends beyond the safety and quality of care problems. Nurse shortage and burnout increase the nurses’ intention to leave workplaces or the nursing career. Increased workload and burnout make the nurses weary and tired and thus push them to seek less-pressurizing jobs and workplaces, making the quality of healthcare delivery depreciative.
Various interventions can be used to counter the problem of nurse shortage and burnout. The main cause of burnout is nurse shortage, and thus the key thing to control is the shortage. The key short-term intervention to control the problem is using the floating technique. The technique is short-term because it focuses on creating a balance within the hospital in relieving the understaffed units. Floating in nursing is a technique of reassigning the nurses from their regular areas of assignment to the understaffed units within the healthcare system (Muabbar & Alsharqi, 2021). The nurses shift from their units to serve in the understaffed areas and thus relieve the understaffed units from burnout and delays in care. Walden et al. (2020) established that the floating nurses reduced the time required for care and the general burden for the nurses. Despite this technique successfully reducing nurse burnout in some units, more young people should be encouraged to study nursing by incentivizing the profession and supporting them financially through national budgets for their nursing education. Reduced nurse shortage and burnout would encourage nurse retention, work civility, and improve the general quality of healthcare services.
AACN. (2021). AACN Fact Sheet – Nursing. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. https://www.aacnnursing.org/news-Information/fact-sheets/nursing-fact-sheet
ECPI University. (2020, November 10). What Percentage of Nurses Work in Hospitals: Where Else Could I Work as a Nurse? https://www.ecpi.edu/blog/what-percentage-of-nurses-work-in-hospitals-where-else-could-i-work-as-a-nurse
Garcia, C. D. L., Abreu, L. C. D., Ramos, J. L. S., Castro, C. F. D. D., Smiderle, F. R. N., Santos, J. A. D., & Bezerra, I. M. P. (2019). Influence of burnout on patient safety: systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 55(9), 553.
Griffiths, P., Mariotti, A., Saucedo, A. R., Redfern, O. C., Ball, J. E., Briggs, J., … & Smith, G. B. (2019). Nurse staffing, nursing assistants and hospital mortality: retrospective longitudinal cohort study. BMJ quality & safety, 28(8), 609-617.
Haddad, L. M., Annamaraju, P., & Toney-Butler, T. J. (2020). Nursing shortage. StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493175/
Muabbar, H., & Alsharqi, O. (2021). The impact of short-term solutions of nursing shortage on the nursing outcome, nurse perceived quality of care, and patient safety. American Journal of Nursing Research, 9(2), 35-44. DOI:10.12691/ajnr-9-2-1
Pérez-Francisco, D. H., Duarte-Clíments, G., del Rosario-Melián, J. M., Gómez-Salgado, J., Romero-Martín, M., & Sánchez-Gómez, M. B. (2020, March). Influence of workload on primary care nurses’ health and burnout, patients’ safety, and quality of care: Integrative review. In Healthcare (Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 12). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8010012
Salvador, R. O., Gnanlet, A., & McDermott, C. (2020). The impact of the use of employee functional flexibility on patient safety. Personnel Review.
Sharma, S. K., & Rani, R. (2020). Nurse-to-patient ratio and nurse staffing norms for hospitals in India: A critical analysis of national benchmarks. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 9(6), 2631–2637. https://doi.org/10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_248_20
Walden, A. M., Moyse, T., Meyer, J. R., Whitaker, B., Briskin, I., & Albert, N. M. (2020). Enhancing the caregiver float experience. Nursing Management, 51(7), 14-20. doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000669108.28985.67