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A problem I see in nursing, especially within the hospital I work at, are staffing shortages. A nurse on my unit typically receives 5 patients but the acuity level can cause the number of patients to decrease if the acuity level is high enough. Any time a nurse calls off, the charge nurse will call around to find another nurse who is willing to work on their day off. At times, the charge nurse is unable to find someone to cover for the nurse who called off so they will assign an extra patient to each nurse and increases their patient to nurse ratio from 1nurse:5 patients to 1nurse:6 patients. Most of the time, 5 patients will keep nurses on our unit very busy and to add an extra patient would make the job a lot more challenging.
Although the issue of inappropriate staffing has been a topic of discussion for many facilities that employ nurses, it continues to be an issue that creates a negative impact on patient care and predisposes the nurse to making medical errors. Another problem nurse encounter with overworked, understaffed nurses due to feeling rushed are back injuries from not using appropriate body mechanics and ergonomics, needle pokes, and getting sick (ANA, 2016). Urinary Tract Infections have occurred from nurses holding in their urine for long periods of time. Nurses are drawn away from bedside nursing due to the stress of being understaffed. Due to this continued problem, this issue, although studied many times already, should continue to be evaluated and studied.