Developing Organizational Policies and Practices
1. Identify and review two evidence-based scholarly resources that focus on proposed policies/practices to apply to nursing staffing shortages.
2. Identify and describe at least two competing needs impacting nursing staffing shortages.
3. Describe a relevant policy or practice in your intensive care unit that may influence nursing staffing shortages.
4. Critique the policy for ethical considerations, and explain the policy’s strengths and challenges in promoting ethics.
5. Recommend one or more policy or practice changes designed to balance the competing needs of resources, workers, and patients, while addressing any ethical shortcomings of the existing policies. Be specific and provide examples.
6. Cite evidence that informs the nursing staffing shortages and/or the policies, and provide two scholarly resources in support of your policy or practice recommendations.
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Developing Organizational Policies and Practices
The nursing shortage has remained a major issue in the healthcare industry as leaders and organizational managers focus on recruiting and retaining the few nurses available. Equally, diverse strategies or practices have been applied to address the nursing staffing shortages. On the other hand, ethical values play an integral role in nurses’ daily work as they focus on doing good, refrain from maltreating patients, and minimize harm (Swanberg et al., 2016). Nurses understanding and being ethically aware empowers them to act morally in providing safe and ethical care. Coupled by diverse factors, nurse shortage has become a barrier to effective and quality care delivery. Increased population healthcare demands, aging population, burnout, and financial stress are some of the factors behind nurse shortage. Different organizations and leaders have resulted in diverse ways to promote nurses’ welfare to address the shortage.
Addressing nurses’ personal and professional needs as well as investing in long-term career development, training, and professional development help in addressing the nurse shortage issue in the healthcare industry. According to Milliken (2018), ethical awareness among nurses helps them to effectively meet their goals which comprise of protecting, promoting, and health restoration in line with patient wishes. Understanding ethical aspects will help nurses address their personal and professional needs while supporting patient goals and preferences. Meeting nurses’ needs helps in reducing burnout and stress, as the workforce is motivated to care delivery. On the other, addressing nurse professionals’ education, training, and professional development encourages lifelong learning equipping them with new skills and knowledge hence equipping them with effective training to effectively deliver in their different roles as nurses (Swanberg et al., 2016).
Two competing needs impacting nursing staffing shortages comprise the need for cost containment due to competition and limited resources versus rising demands for an aging population. While there has been increasing demand to contain costs in the healthcare industry, the increasing demand for nurses’ expertise among the aging population is compounding the nurse shortage issue. According to Kelly & Porr (2018), cost containment measures impact the ability of the nurses to function autonomously concerning their knowledge, skills, and scope of practice. Addressing nurses’ needs both personal and professional helps nurses to have a work-life balance giving nurses the freedom to choose their best time. Flexibility in shift lengths and start times ensures the workforce is happy, satisfied, and motivated to deliver their best. Without a perfect work-life balance, nurses are susceptible to burnout, exhaustion, and illnesses, hence being distracted and can make medical mistakes threatening patients’ life (Swanberg et al., 2016). Poor work balance has been linked with high turnover among nurses.
Developing a perfect work-life balance increases nurses’ awareness of what is happening with the healthcare industry and their organizations. Raising ethical awareness enables nurses to understand their contribution in care delivery instead of feeling powerless in their role as primary caregivers. Work-life balance coupled with ethical awareness transforms nurses from disembodied and docile workers to active ones in devising ways that influence quality care delivery, patient wellbeing, and overall healthcare industry improvement. Addressing the diverse competing needs in the healthcare industry helps in establishing a positive working environment accommodating workers’ patient organizational needs. Another practice to foster a balance between the competing needs is the cultivation of effective and respectful communication. This helps to support a collaborative culture, striking a balance between patient, nurses, and organizational needs.
In conclusion, the nursing shortage is a single threat to effective care delivery, while diverse approaches can be utilized to address the issue, ethical awareness among nurses coupled with addressing their personal and professionals’ needs to strike a positive work-life balance. Addressing nurses’ needs while cost-containing helps motivate the professional’s wellbeing and subsequent motivation to perform effectively in their work. Nurses should hence participate in policy development which would facilitate the needed change in the health industry
Kelly, P., & Porr, C. (2018). Ethical nursing care versus cost containment: Considerations to enhance RN practice. OJIN: Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(1), Manuscript 6. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol23No01Man06. Retrieved from http://ojin.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-23-2018/No1-Jan-2018/Ethical-Nursing-Cost-Containment.html
Milliken, A. (2018). Ethical awareness: What it is and why it matters. OJIN: Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(1), Manuscript 1. doi:10.3912/OJIN/Vol23No01Man01. Retrieved from http://ojin.nursingworld.orf/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-23-2018/No1-Jan-2018/Ethical-Awareness.html
Swanberg, J. E., Nichols, H. M., & Perry-Jenkins, M. (2016). Working on the frontlines in US hospitals: Scheduling challenges and turnover intent among housekeepers and dietary service workers. Journal of Hospital Administration, 5(4), 76-86. http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/jha.v5n4p76