Nurse Staffing Policy Change and Related Challenges

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Implementing a sustainable staffing management system focused on ensuring professionalism and better teamwork is a demanding but necessary task. However, some issues may undermine the process of its execution that may arise six months to a year after the start. To secure the policy’s stable performance over a prolonged period, problems like burnout and negative professional image need to be addressed.

The Burnout Challenge

The depletion of mental and physical health reserves is a hindrance that may affect young and experienced nurses alike often becoming a reason for them to search for a new line of employment, thus diminishing the capabilities of a particular nursing team. According to Wang, Liu, and Wang (2015), burnout usually has three primary sources: psychic exhaustion, depersonalization, and a decrease in sensing personal achievement. When their levels rise significantly, the person may feel detached from his or her working obligations undermining the efficiency of the team and developing thoughts of seeking other job opportunities.

Negative Professional Image

Another factor that can lead to decreasing the policy’s efficiency is the low stance of the nurse profession in the medical hierarchy. Many talented interns start their careers as nurses acquiring practical knowledge and honing their skills to apply for a higher position, which, in part, explains the high turnout in nursing. Moreover, the status of a low-level or subordinate trade together with low visibility in public influences the self-esteem of the professionals that are currently occupied in the sphere causing them to underestimate the value of their role in saving lives (Hoeve, Jansen, & Roodbol, 2014).

Strategies for Overcoming the Burnout Challenge

Tackling the issue of burnout may substantially contribute to the sustainability of the proposed staffing policy. One of the possible solutions to the problem may be employing a psychologist for nurses. The specialist who takes care of their inner fears, anxieties, and doubts may help decrease the rates of burnouts among caregivers, especially in intensive care units. Additionally, hospitals may consider reducing shift duration for nurses, as, according to Wang et al. (2015), there is also a connection between burnouts and duration of exposure to stress during working hours. Ensuring the mental and physical stability of the staff may help increase their productivity, and thus satisfaction from the job, preventing voluntary redundancy.

Strategies for Overcoming the Negative Professional Image

Ensuring nursing staff’s positive image of their profession may also increase their commitment to it minimizing possible costs arising from the turnover. One possible way to improve the nurses’ self-concept is to establish periodical team buildings aimed at professional motivation with recalling the cases of lives saved by the nursing staff, inspiring speeches of the experienced colleagues, etc. Furthermore, wards and halls of hospitals may contain posters illustrating the significance of caregivers creating a positive working environment, which, as Hoeve et al. (2014) suggest, is an integral part of professional image formation. That could also promote a positive perception of the profession among the general population.


Sustaining a policy may be no less important than implementing it, as the initiative buried under the weight of its operational problems, cannot gain enough momentum to start yielding profit. Like any other innovation, the proposed staff management policy has to overcome a vast amount of struggles. Resolving two of the most pressing matters like burnout and negative professional image by monitoring the team’s mental and physical condition together with their professional self-confidence could help ensure that the proposed staffing policy endures daily challenges and achieves its ultimate goal-saving maximum patients’ lives.


Hoeve, Y. T., Jansen, G., & Roodbol, P. (2014). The nursing profession: Public image, self‐concept and professional identity. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(2), 295-309.

Wang, S., Liu, Y., & Wang, L. (2015). Nurse burnout: Personal and environmental factors as predictors. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(1), 78-86.

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