Short-Staffed nursing by definition is when the number of admitted patients surpasses the maximum capacity per nurse set by safety and health standards. This has always been a problem for hospitals, even before the pandemic, and as one could predict short-staffing has only gotten worse due to the pandemic.
It may not seem like a big issue, however short-staffed hospitals could lead to certain patients not receiving the care that they need, leading to “falls” which is when a patient suffers an injury after leaving their hospital bed. Since a nurse’s workload is centered around the care that their patients need, giving more patients to individual nurses causes the nurses to overwork. Another big problem are the chances of medical errors, as nurses become more rushed due to their greater workload, they could miss major aspects on their patients’ healths. There is no more fail safes, the nurse is the one and only person in charge of taking care of their patient causing problems. Again, the pandemic has only increased the chances for these risks and dangers from occurring.
Some of the efforts to resolve this short-staffing problem has been unsuccessful so far. According to the Washington Post, there is an increasing demand of travel-nurses, who accept jobs outside of their towns on short-term contracts for about 13 weeks. Since these hospitals during the pandemic are so short-staffed, they have resolved to requesting help from the outside to help with the workload of the nurses. Then again, these nurses are under contract for only a short period of time so the problem is still generally unsolved.
Theres is hope however, as hospitals have found new methods to attempt and keep nurses and health care workers safe and with an appropriate amount of workload. According to nationalacademies.org, hospitals have discussed adjusting staff responsibilities and pausing non-essential surgeries to tend to the more attention needy patients first. Some hospitals have even provided employees with more benefits such as paid leave for those who test positive, and temporary shelter in close proximity to the hospitals. This allows a morale boost to the health care workers who have been working hard and long during this crazy pandemic, giving them a more hope and incentive to work as hard as they have been. Morale is important no matter where you go, and it is especially important during times like these where nothing seems predictable.
All in all, nurses and other health care workers have been doing all for the people of their communities, and have been plagued by both the pandemic and short-staffing which is a lot to handle. It will be very interesting to see how these problems are solved in the long run, but the leaving the problem of short-staffing alone is a terrible idea. Hospitals will need to find solutions to keep citizens happy and morale high within their employees, or else this pandemic will only become more unbearable.