With a rising nurse shortage and increased demand for healthcare, many healthcare professionals are watching the idea of safe nurse staffing slip even farther off into the fantasy realm.
Sure, safe nurse staffing is not an issue in every unit at every hospital, but it is a remarkable problem at far too many. Even worse, many nurses feel intimidated into keeping quiet about the issue — while also (along with their patients) bearing the brunt of the problems it causes when it comes to patient care — all for fear of losing their jobs.
In response to Alexandra Robbins’ related recent op-ed in the New York Times, titled “We Need More Nurses,” Scrubs Magazine took to their Facebook page to gather opinions about how feedback on hospital staffing conditions. Like I said above, there is definitely a taboo around discussing the problem of understaffing — and it’s even reflected in the title of Scrubs’ article sharing Facebook comments on the issue: “Let’s talk about understaffing … just don’t say ‘understaffing.’”
While taking a Travel Nursing job can certainly help address the issue of safe nurse staffing by filling a position in need, much more action and legislation is needed to solve the issues caused when nurses are stretched too thin on the job.
Who better to explain the issue and help address the problem than nurses themselves, who are in the trenches and understand the needs of their patient population better than anyone!
Scrubs’ Facebook feedback revealed that nurses were way understaffed — one even saying she had “27 [patients] at any given time.” The general sentiment was that the issue stems from upper management attempting to constantly cut costs. Ironically, some nurses touched on how the poor working conditions lead to high turnover — which, in the end, costs hospitals more money.
And sadly, we’ve all heard these kinds of stories, one nurse even said she was forced out of her job because she stood up for safe patient ratios.
Have facilities you’ve worked in maintained safe nurse staffing levels? What are some of the consequences that you and/or your patients have faced as a result of unsafe patient ratios? Please share your experiences and opinions in the comments!