How does the nursing shortage affect patient outcome and safety?

Over the recent years there is an increase in senior nurses retiring. This has caused a nursing shortage in the workforce and has increased the workload and burnout on nurses. The question chosen is a topic of interest as there is concern for patient safety in the future. When researching this topic the following three studies were found which provide evidence that patient safety is in fact at risk. The search strategy used was keywords such as “nursing shortage”, “nursing workload”, “patient safety” and “patient outcomes” in the database Science Direct.

These keywords rendered a broad range of articles. The search was limited to full text articles to limit results. The three research articles which were chosen all were relevant to the researchable question in which was made. The articles are all current and were not found in databases such as Proquest Central and Medline due to the articles found were not as current as the articles found in Science Direct. Science direct also gave a more extensive variety of research articles.

Article 1 – Duffield, C, Diers, D, O’Brien-Pallas, L, Aisbett, C, Roche, M, King, M & Aisbett, K 2010, Nursing staffing, nursing workload, the work environment, and patient outcomes, Applied Nursing Research, February, online Science Direct (In press corrected proof) This research article aims at investigating the relationship between nurse staffing and workload in the context of patient outcomes and the work environment. It aims at recognising negative patient outcomes such as falls, errors in medication giving and errors in medical / surgical units.

There has been longer stays in hospitals with the shortage of nurses and that basic nursing interventions were left undone this has lead us to question the quality of care our patients are receiving. The method the study used was collecting data from the 17 area health services public hospitals combining longitudinal retrospective and concurrent cross sectional methods. The results found that the nursing supply and demand factor was found to be exceeding demands. Time based medication errors were not reported when the staffs was efficiently accounted for but reported when staff was low.

In conclusion to this, the research states that to improve these measures of quality work provision the environment needs to be managed in terms of workload to provide safety for patients (Duffield et al 2010). Limitations of this article to begin with include not appropriately stating a clear description of the study. The description states that it was conducting a study into improving strategies for effective and efficient nurse staffing in hospitals. The description failed to mention that the study was conducted to identify patient safety and outcomes. The title of the article contraindicates what in fact the description of the study was.

As well as this the author has failed to provide and explain keywords (Beck 2009). This study was successful in investigating and presenting evidence of previous literature and studies of the problem area. It was complete with providing references and a critical review of previous major findings. The researcher mentioned areas which were not mentioned in previous studies. This lets the reader know these areas will be added to the current study. This is seen as a strength as the researcher is filling in the gaps of what has previously not been researched (Beck 2009).

The researcher has avoided rigour in the method used in collecting data. The researcher has made sure the collection of data was amongst a fair and consistent range. The data collected was from hospitals within the same budget range across a five year span. It was clearly mentioned how the data was collected and this gains reliability as it is portrayed so other researchers can exactly replicate this study (Crookes & Davies 2004). The study mentioned through the cross sectional survey that was used the exact number of nurses and patient records which participated in the study.

It mentioned the response rate of nurses as well as the number of wards and hospitals. The study failed to mention who chose the patient files and how they were chosen, what types of patients were chosen and why they were chosen. There was also a longitudinal study and it mentioned the exact rates of response and the number of participants and hospitals as well as wards. Yet again it failed to mention why and how the patients were chosen for this part of the study. Not giving information on this can lead to issues of bias (Crookes & Davies 2004).

Limitations of the study include that of in the discussion the author has mentioned briefly how nurse burnout has been researched by other studies and that this current study does echo other study and mentions that there has been a …

The results tables included in the results include limitations, this being that they are not clear and easy to understand, this can confuse the reader and misconstrue true findings. The results appear consistent with previous findings and this is mentioned …

The discussion does mention the limitations of the study and they were discussed with minimal distortion or bias. The researcher did compare the current study to previous studies which did show how effective and reliable this study was in finding …

Foundation of healthcare organizations such as Avatar International, The Myers Group, The National Research Corporation and Press Ganey are examples of how the healthcare division has become a rapidly acknowledged aspect of society. These organizations work with the patient, the …

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