Some of the key impacts of the nursing the shortage:
- Nurses confront life-altering decisions on a constant basis. Pandemic or not, having fewer nurses available to spread the workload adds levels of stress and limits the time available for patient care. Among the implications:
- opportunities to bypass safety protocols and lapses in treatments
- less attention to details increases risk of medical errors
- risk of infections
- compromised data security
- Emergency departments busting with patients that cannot be admitted due to the lack of staff on the units; a few forced to go on bypass
- Health organizations desperate for staff to cover shifts, offering large bonuses and expecting staff to constantly work overtime
- Staffing agencies offering contracts at levels that eclipse physician salaries
- A new cadre of nurses used to compensation levels that will be impossible to sustain on an industry that serves everyone and currently employs nearly 3M of them – and will need another million in the decade to come.
Add to this that many of the healthcare institutions compound the problem with their inadequate workforce plans (schedules, head counts multipliers, activity levels, etc.) and inconsistent recruitment and retention policies, driven by financial decisions made with little understanding of the clinical operations and based on old methodologies that time and attendance IT vendors have neatly packaged their wares that pretend to provide metrics of staff needs but do nothing and only compound the problem.