Essay On Understaffing In Nursing

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Understaffing in hospitals is a major problem that has been affecting healthcare workers and patients for many years. I have chosen to highlight understaffing as a patient safety issue because of the consequences that can arise from it. Shortages in staffing can result in an increase of infection rates (Stone et al., 2007) leading to complications and poorer patient outcomes (Needleman et al. 2002). This particular issue is of interest to me because I have experienced and witnessed it myself. As a midwifery student in a busy maternity hospital, I can appreciate the hard work and dedication each midwife gives to their patients. This becomes difficult to manage when the midwife has several women and babies to care for, as well as having time to mentor students such as myself. Nurses and midwives take pride in their caring and compassionate traits. However, staffing levels may influence these important attributes. Each individual nurse is different and provides the best level of care possible, yet it is found that some nurses …show more content…

According to the Royal College of Nurses (2010), there are variations of staff planning tools used in the UK to target the challenges of understaffing. In the Paediatric wards, the PANDA method discriminates between children needing normal dependency, high dependency or intensive care. It calculates nursing staff requirements based on the dependency of the children. There are few disadvantages found with the PANDA planning tool as it enables staff restructuring in response to immediate needs. In a general setting, the Nursing Workforce Planning Tool (Hurst) can be used. It allows triangulation and ‘what if’ scenarios to be undertaken. It has specific excel worksheets already set up for use and has no documented disadvantages. (RCN, 2010) These tools could possibly be beneficial in relieving the stress of understaffing and furthermore improve patient

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