Overview of the Issue
One of the major challenges affecting the global healthcare industry is “the issue of nursing shortage” (May, Bazzoli and Gerald 317). This problem affects different healthcare functions and processes. The shortage also affects the quality of patient support and care. The most outstanding fact is that nurse understaffing cannot be separated from the financial aspects of a healthcare organization. According to Keenan and Kennedy, over 50 percent of every hospital’s wage bill is used to pay healthcare workers (5). This situation explains why healthcare facilities are usually understaffed (Buerhaus et al. 859). The purpose of this interview was to examine how financial experts viewed and treated the issue of nurse understaffing.
The interview targeted four workers in our organization. These four interviewees were financial accountants at the institution. These workers had a clear understanding of the financial challenges associated with nurse staffing. The respondents indicated that the organization had tried to deal with the problem for the last four years. Some of the measures undertaken by the facility included hiring new nurses and attracting nurse aids. The organization also borrowed funds from different stakeholders to pay the newly-recruited nurses. The important objective was to ensure the institution provided quality services to its patients (Hines and Yu 8). However, the institution had failed to record tangible results within those four years.
The organization has been training more nurse aids to deal with the problem. The move has reduced the institution’s expenses while at the same availing adequate care to more patients (Keenan and Kennedy 6). The interviewees indicated that the organization lacked enough financial resources to hire more nurse practitioners (NPs). The organization was also formulating new strategies in an attempt to have a sustainable workforce.
The targeted interviewees outlined several stumbling blocks that might affect the organization’s strategy. To begin with, the institution was getting more and more patients (Unruh 64). The majority of the patients were not receiving quality medical care. It was, therefore, necessary for the organization to employ more caregivers. The organization was also expected to purchase medical supplies, outsource different health services, and pay other members of staff. Such requirements and expenses have always strained the hospital’s budget.
My perception of this problem is similar to those of the interviewees. We all believe that the organization’s financial position cannot support the needs of its nurses. Every employee in our organization knows that the nursing shortage is a major problem that should be addressed immediately (Everhart et al. 148). The views presented by these workers encouraged me to focus on different approaches that can be presented to the institution. Positive measures can address the problem of nurse shortage.
The interviewees made it easier for me to understand the relationship between finance and nursing shortage. Many institutions and medical facilities face similar challenges. Many facilities are forced to overwork their nurses in an attempt to deliver quality care to their patients (Unruh 65). The unavailability of finances explains why new policy ideas and initiatives are needed. Such policies will be helpful towards addressing the needs of more patients. Local and state governments should use appropriate policies to support the financial needs of different hospitals. New measures can also be undertaken in order to increase the number of nurses without compromising the financial integrity of healthcare facilities.
Buerhaus, Peter, Karen Donelan, Beth Ulrich, Linda Norman, Catherine DesRoches and Robert Dittus. “Impact of The Nurse Shortage On Hospital Patient Care: Comparative Perspectives.” Health Affairs 26.3 (2007): 853-862. Print.
Everhart, Damian, Donna Neff, Mona Al-Amin, June Nogle and Robert Weech-Maldonado. “The Effects of Nurse Staffing on Hospital Financial Performance: Competitive Versus Less Competitive Markets.” Health Care Management Review 38.2 (2013): 146-155. Print.
Hines, Patricia and Kevin Yu. “The Changing Reimbursement Landscape: Nurses’ Role in Quality and Operational Excellence.” Nursing Economics 27.1 (2009): 7-13. Print.
Keenan, Patricia and John Kennedy. “The Nursing Workforce Shortage: Causes, Consequences, Proposed Solutions.” The Commonwealth Fund 1.1 (2003): 1-8. Print.
May, Jessica, Gloria Bazzoli and Anneliese Gerald. “Hospitals’ Responses to Nurse Staffing Shortages.” Health Affairs 25.4 (2006): 316-323. Print.
Unruh, Lynn. “Nurse Staffing and Patient, Nurse, and Financial Outcomes.” American Journal of Nursing 108.1 (2008): 62-72. Print.