Nursing

Web site spotlight: Poll finds nurses believe staff shortages are affecting patient care

Nurse Leader Insider, July 20, 2009

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Nearly three-quarters of nurses who participated in an American Nurses Association (ANA) online poll that drew almost 15,000 responses reported insufficient staffing at their workplace. Forty-two percent of respondents also cited inadequate staffing as the reason they were considering leaving their position—suggesting nurse shortages will worsen.

The results of the anonymous poll that's been live on the Safe Staffing Saves Lives Campaign Web site since March 2008 were released last week, illustrating the need for sufficient nurse staffing and nurses' views on its significance to the delivery of quality patient care.

The majority (84%) of respondents indicated they were employed at hospitals and most (76%) worked full-time. Nearly 75% were staff nurses. Furthermore, nurse experience levels varied, with 55% reporting less than 15 years experience and 45% more than 15 years.

While the number of respondents who reported staff shortages is high, it isn't necessarily alarming, but concerning that it still is an issue.

"Staffing has been an ongoing issue for decades," says Isis Montalvo, MS, MBA, RN, director of the ANA's National Center for Nursing Quality. She adds that the ANA recognized concerns related to sufficient staffing in the early 1990s. "During that time, a lot of hospitals were reengineering and cutting back positions, and nurses knew that cutting back positions would affect patient outcomes. The ANA [has since] funded quite a bit of research and multiple studies to identify the linkages between staffing and patient outcomes."

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, "Poll finds nurses believe staff shortages are affecting patient care" featured in The Reading Room on HCPro's online resource center, www.StrategiesforNurseManagers.com.

Do you need continuing education (CE) credits? Check out this month's CE article to learn about effective checklists used in various hospital settings or visit our archives and view a compilation of CE articles (marked with an asterisk).



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