Why are so many nurses stressed out or have burnout, there are so many reasons but one big reason is staffing shortage. Nurse staffing has some ethical and legal issues that does cause a nurse to be stressed or have burnout. As a nurse if you have a heavy assignment due to not enough staff working, and you are extremely busy, so that you may not be able to provide adequate care to all the patients in your assignment. The nurse may be able to administer all the patient’s medications and other medical interventions but they may not be able to provide the psychosocial support that they may need, since their patient assignment is heavy. There could be other things that may be missed or forego and it can put the patient at risk for a poor outcome. This affects the nurse in an ethical and moral way by being placed in the position to decide on doing just the basics for all their patient’s because they are short staffed and do not have time to do all of what the nurse should do (Lowrie, n.d.). A nurse choosing what they should do or not do for a patient adds a lot of stress on them, for being in an already stressful job this can cause burnout. I find when I have heavy assignment due to being short staff that something has to give, most of the time it is the documentation. I find myself staying late to complete my documentation, but that is not a good practice since I may not always remember everything I needed to document. Accurate documentation is very important for nurses to complete, the old saying is – if it is not written down it was not done. If a nurse needs to go to court for lawsuit by a patient and the documentation is not accurate enough or very little documented, the nurse may be liable for neglect or harm which may cost the nurse their license or worse. This is just one legal issue that can be associated with short staffing, the hospital management is aware of the short staffing problem which all healthcare facilities are facing and they are trying to find a solution for this problem. Short staffing will continue until there is a solution, some nurses may not be able to wait for the solution, the stress may be too much so they may choose to leave the nursing profession all together, causing more short staffing. The public may be aware that short staffing is a major issue and that failure of nursing care can result in grounds for criminal and civil prosecution according to the Federal Civil False Claims Act (Lowrie, n.d.). Nurses experience job dissatisfaction with continuous staffing shortage, leads to increase stress and burnout for all nurses which can cause the nurse physical distress/illness. Nurses need to make sure they take care of themselves and encourage self-care to our fellow co-workers; this can be hard for the nurse to do since they are the caregivers.
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Lowrie, L. (n.d.). Ethics & Legal Issues in Nurse Staffing. Retrieved June 2, 2021, from smallbusiness.chron.com
Discussion post 2 200 words: Nursing shortage and burnout are scary words that we are facing even now in the company where I work. Many think of hospital settings and nursing homes where this usually occurs, but this is happening across the profession of nursing.
Corona Virus has done a number on reducing our nursing workforce across the world. Not only have many nurses died from the virus, but many have left their jobs with a genuine fear that they could be next. Many have quit from being stressed about not having adequate protection, but those that have stayed have gotten burned out from inadequate staffing on covid units. Emotional strain from not taking care of their own health and having to stay home to care for their own children are some other reasons there are shortages currently.
Nursing schools have lower enrollment, and these same schools have had a hard time getting hospitals and other health care facilities to agree to train students as they see them as a liability. These facilities should be using these schools not only to train the students but also to help relieve the strain on nursing staff across the board. To avoid a nursing shortage, we should be looking at our student nurse shortage and focusing our efforts and creativity there.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has developed a fact sheet to portray what is going on in the next eight years with the shortage. They expect the problem will only get worse as baby boomers age and as more nurses retire. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we will have about 3.3 million nurses by 2029 but will need 4.5 million to face this issue (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, n.d.).
Some things that might help to reduce the shortage would be to reduce the workload for nurses, increasing job satisfaction, and possibly retaining them longer. This could be done with nursing students—better support for older nurses, especially seeing them as a value to train the younger ones. Increased recruitment for nursing schools, not only for more students but for more nurse educators to continue to train them—many state-wide initiatives are getting money to start programs to increase enrollment of students and train educators who will then stay in the state for a period of time. This is not an easy problem to fix but one that I think we can make great strides toward.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (n.d.). Aacn fact sheet – nursing shortage. https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Nursing-Shortage
Bowden, V. R. (2021). Predictable Consequences — How Do We Avert a Pediatric Nurse
Shortage? Pediatric Nursing, 47(1), 5–10.